The military’s elite units are predominantly led by white officers, showing a lack of diversity within special operations units, reports USA Today. On the whole, the military has a more diverse force, with African Americans making up 17% of the 1.3 million service members in the armed forces as of 2013, compared to the demographics of its elite units.
Diversity among officers is significantly less, with black troops making of 18.5% of the military, but only 9.4% of its officer corps. This becomes more stark in units like the Navy SEALs, where only eight out of 753 officers are black, which is roughly 1%.
“We don’t know where we will find ourselves in the future,” said Army Col. Michael Copenhaver, a Pentagon expert on this matter. “One thing is for sure: We will find ourselves around the globe. And around the globe you have different cultural backgrounds everywhere. Having that kind of a diverse force can only increase your operational capability.”