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Starting in August, photos will be eliminated from promotion and selection boards as the Army launches “Project Inclusion” to identify practices that inadvertently discriminate, senior leaders announced Thursday.
The project is a holistic effort to listen to Soldiers, civilians and family members and enact initiatives to promote diversity and equity, according to Secretary of the Army Ryan. D. McCarthy.
Before deciding to eliminate photos from officer, enlisted and warrant officer promotion boards, leaders looked at a 2017-2018 study that determined, regardless of race or gender, people looking at photos will have an unconscious bias toward individuals with similar characteristics, G-1 officials said. Further, they said Department of the Army photos provide minimal information compared to the rest of a promotion board file.
During an experiment in the study, researchers ran two identical promotion boards: one that included photos and one without. In the one that did not contain photos, researchers found that the outcomes for women and minorities improved. The results contributed to the decision to remove the photos.