Air Force and Space Force cadets

Study Claims Air Force Rules ‘Hinder Diversity’

A recent study of Air Force eligibility requirements claims its high standards are a hinderance to diversity, but there’s more to the story.

The study was issued in late August by the Rand Corp. think tank, a research organization that describes itself as a “nonpartisan organization” that “develops solutions to public policy challenges”.

Researchers note the “Department of the Air Force (DAF) has prioritized growing and maintaining a diverse workforce across all pay grades” but its notoriously rigorous standards exclude much of the population.

“A large segment of the U.S. population is not eligible to enlist as an airman or be commissioned as an officer, and the impact of eligibility criteria is not uniform across gender and race and ethnicity,” the report states.

“Because most military personnel begin their careers at the entry-level pay grade and positions are filled by promoting from within, achieving diversity at the point of accession is critical to growing and maintaining a diverse workforce across all pay grades.”

The Air Force maintains high standards for body mass index, height, education level, and aptitude requirements for its higher ranking officers, as well as screening for health, citizenship, criminal records, and visible tattoos.

Even enlistees are subject to scrutiny. The Air Force requires enlistees to have at least a high school diploma or GED, have no more than two dependents and not be a single parent, and have no felony convictions.

Percentages Tell a Consistent Tale

The researchers compared the population of 17-39 year olds in the United States to the percentage that are eligible to join the Air Force.

They found that while black males make up 7% of that population, 3.6% are eligible to join.

The roughly 50% eligibility rate holds true for most demographics. For example, Hispanic males make up 12% of the age range, with 7% meeting the standards.

Women do slightly better, with black women making up 7% of the age range and 5% eligible; Hispanic women account for about 10% of the group with 8% eligible.

For an organization with such high standards, the eligibility across demographics is impressive.

Still, the Air Force has slightly lowered some enlistment standards, including allowing airmen with higher body fat percentages and those with visible tattoos.


  1. It is great to see high standards being kept at least somewhere in our country! We need to have higher standards in all fields not lower everything. Good for the Air Force since 1948!!

  2. Diversity? In our Military??
    Don’t you see? The ENEMY (now within) is
    crippling our fighting forces intentionally
    with this BS!
    Stop thinking these are YOUR LEADERS!
    They do not have your interests at heart!
    Please WAKE UP NOW! Otherwise, we’ll
    wake up one day to find AMERICA and her
    unique freedoms GONE!
    Think Putin in the White House. Or Xi!
    Imagine foreign uniforms in your streets!
    Democrats are completely infiltrated, and
    this Cabal has worked tirelessly for 3 years
    to increase our vulnerability.
    See the Light! Please? Quickly.
    There’s no time to waste.

  3. The Air Force must maintain higher standards due to the mission and the complexity of the equipment which they must operate and maintain. I know this first hand as a graduate of the Air Force Academy.

  4. The issue seems to be that someone thinks not enough black males are eligible since 50% don’t meet the standards. However, race doesn’t matter – fitness and ability do. If 50% of blacks didn’t qualify because they are black, that would be wrong. But if someone doesn’t qualify for being an obese felon who dropped out of school , that’s the right decision, no matter what race they may be .

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