Army Ditches Officer Promotion Photos Due to ‘Bias’ Concerns

The Army will no longer include official photos for officer selection boards, beginning in August, to help eliminate unconscious biases in the promotion process, the service secretary and chief of staff announced Thursday at the Pentagon.

Promotion board processes for warrant officers and noncommissioned officers are being reviewed as well, the Army’s senior enlisted soldier said.

Promotion packets will still include a checkbox that identifies race. However, that could eventually go away, “especially on the enlisted side,” added Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston.

“But the studies we were shown is it’s a visual, not as much a written, discriminator,” said Grinston. “The unconscious bias deals with the picture, not necessarily the words.” . . .

[According to a 2018 study] researchers found that when the Department of the Army photo was removed, there was less variance between voters’ scoring, meaning voters ranked candidates more similarly across the board. After removing the photo, voters also took less time to make decisions on each individual file, and the outcomes for minorities and women improved. (Read more from “Army Ditches Officer Promotion Photos Due to ‘Racial Bias’ Concerns” HERE)

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