Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




This thesis explores racial representation in the United States military throughout each rank level, within all active and reserve branches, to determine whether racial representation is related to rank. Using a census of the U.S. military from the Department of Defense, I establish a summary of what representation looks like overall, and more specifically, what it looks like within enlisted, warrant officer, and officer ranks. The citizen-soldier theory contends that failure on the part of the U.S. military to maintain representative forces threatens the legitimacy and credibility of democracy and could even become a threat to it (Armor and Gilroy, 2010:224). Much of the existing research on the military applauds its racially progressive policies and the (overall) proportionately representative forces it maintains. However, there is little scrutiny of what those forces actually look like, broken down by rank. If the military is to maintain a truly representative force of citizen-soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines, then it must be representative among all levels. This research explores what contemporary military representation actually looks like, specifically asking, who is really giving the orders--Whites, Asians, Blacks or Hispanics?

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.