The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) defines diversity as “the different characteristics and attributes of individuals” and diversity management as “the plans made and programs undertaken to identify in the aggregate the diversity within the Department of Defense to enhance DOD capabilities and achieve mission readiness.” This entry discusses the types of diversity—nationality/ethnic group, racial, religious, gender, and sexual orientation—among U.S. troops from the American Revolution to the present and looks at the continuing commitment of the U.S. military to embrace diversity.

Diversity and the Early 19th-Century Army

Diversity is now viewed by military and civilian officials as essential to maximizing the effectiveness of today’s all-volunteer armed forces, but diversity has not always been viewed as a positive attribute. For much of American history, military officials strived ...

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