The Ministry of Defence has revealed that not a single individual in the military’s most senior three ranks identify as Black, Asian or Minority ethnicity.
In information exclusively obtained by the UK Defence Journal, the MoD stated:
“The highest NATO rank of a member of the UK Regular Armed Forces who declares a BAME ethnicity as at 1 October 2018 is OF-6”
Countries within NATO have a standardised system of ranks to ensure simplicity. In the United Kingdom ‘OF6’ (OF being an abbreviation of Officer) is equal to a Brigadier in the British Army, a Commodore in the Royal Navy, and an Air Commodore in the Royal Air Force.
In October 2018, the MoD released figures showing just 6.5% of the total intake into the Armed Forces for the previous 12 months were of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME). The Ministry of Defence’s target is for 10% of the yearly intake to be BAME by 2020.
In 2015, the then Defence Secretary Michael Fallon stated: “I want at least 10 per cent of our new recruits to come from a black, Asian and minority ethnic background. This isn’t about tokenism it is about attracting the brightest and best.”
“Although 12 per cent of Britain’s workforce are members of an ethnic minority they only make up 7 per cent of our armed forces. That’s not good enough”
Michael Fallon, Previous Defence Secretary, speaking in 2015
The Royal Air Force is the least diverse, with just 2.4% of their personnel identifying as BAME. By comparison, roughly 13% of the UK’s population is of BAME background.
Whilst diversity in the Armed Forces is improving, this is not reflected in the number of officers from ethnic minorities. In October 2018, 2.5% of officer were from ethnic minorities, a rise of just 0.1% since April 2012.
Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter has previously stated he wants the Armed Forces to have a “culture of inclusivity”.
Diversity is at the heart of the British Army. We welcome people from all backgrounds. Whatever your gender, race, ethnic origin or religious belief, there is a place for you in the Army. See what we stand for: https://t.co/2w1OHmWobi#ArmyJobs pic.twitter.com/SEk8v5TuiG
— Army Jobs (@armyjobs) March 20, 2019