Army For Us: A History And Analysis of Integration in United States Army

Date of Award


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First Advisor

Rebecca Overmyer-Velázquez


This is a review and analysis on the history, literature, and policies that have shaped an equal opportunity Army. This review will focus on three key areas of integration in the Army. The first key area is the integration of Black soldiers beginning during the Revolutionary War to some extent and throughout the proceeding wars when manpower was low and the situation was desperate. This struggle culminated in Executive Order 9981 signed by President Truman in 1948, ordering the end of segregation in the armed forces. The next key area is women’s integration in the Army, like Black soldiers women have served in many of America’s wars, although it was not until WWII that WACs was established to grant women the same status as their male counterparts. After the war women struggled to become fully incorporated into the Army and through legislation taken up by congressmen and women were integrated into the Army in 1978, but are still relegated to mainly service and support positions. Currently the military is re-evaluating their physical fitness exams in order to fully integrate women into combat positions by 2016. Key area three of the review is the integration of gay and lesbian soldiers into the military. Historically gays and

lesbians have been barred from military service, yet, they have continued to serve their country bravely throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. It was not until 2011 when DADT was repealed by the Obama administration that for the first time in 236 years gays serving in our armed forces could serve openly. While current literature on this topic focuses on the history and policies of how integration came to be, rather than why it is beneficial to the military I suggest considering three principles that champion for a diverse military, (1) the nation has diverse adversaries that span broad regions, cultures, and genders. (2) The Army is an emissary of the nation, and an agent of democracy abroad. (3) The Army is deeply connected to other political institutions, and private organizations. High ranking leaders in the Army have close relationships with politicians that help to shape U.S. foreign policy. In order that the Army remain a deterrent of aggression, as well as, an agent of democracy abroad, and represent the voice of minorities in shaping foreign policy it is necessary for the institution to be as diverse as the issues it deals with.


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