"To Increase Units' Effectiveness: Race Relations Education in the U.S. Army."
Commander's Digest. Vol. 13, no. 4. Washington, D.C.: GPO, November 30, 1972. P. 15-16.
SuDoc No.: D2.15/2
Formal educational instruction, under the Army's Race Relations Education Program, is detailed.
Three different levels of education; at the basic training level, the non-commissioned officer
level, and the middle grade officers level, are needed says the author. The author estimated
that most men in the Army for three years would have received "as high as 64 hours"
of race relations training and education.
To Increase Units' Effectiveness: Race Relations Education in the U.S. Army.
The broad purpose of the Army's Race Relations Education Program is "to provide racial
harmony, thereby reducing racial tension and contributing directly to increased unit
effectiveness." The specific goal of the program is "to achieve sympathetic
understanding and treatment of each soldier by his commanders and his fellows."
The method used to accomplish this involves two separate elements: formal instruction in Army
schools, and a participatory exchange of ideas on the history, background, life styles and
contributions of ethnic and racial minorities in unit seminars.
One of the strengths of the Army's Race Relations Education Training Program, as the Army sees
it, is that the program is an integral part of the Army's overall Race Relations/Equal
Opportunity (RR/EO) effort. The program is designed to provide education for everyone
– minority members, majority members, and the leadership structure. The goal is to
provide an understanding of the racial problem, and then to find ways of solving the problem.
With its main objective combat readiness, the Army views this education program as a
"Commander's Program," designed to support him and his unit and therefore requiring
his personal attention and direction.
The Army's Race Relations Education Program was launched in the fall of 1970. Since its
inception in basic training and Service schools, race relations training has been given to
some 624,000 enlisted personnel including nearly 313,000 NCOs, and almost 118,500 officers
and warrant officers of the active Army. In addition, reservists on active duty for training
have also received race relations training.
An Expanded Program
Recently, in order to comply with the desires of the Secretary of Defense that equal
opportunity programs be institutionalized as a priority management function, the Army has made
a complete reassessment of its race relations education effort. As a result, it has developed
the concept of an expanded Army-wide Race Relations Education Program, with a view to insuring
a comprehensive treatment of the subject on a continuing basis at all levels.
The program integrates formal instruction in race relations given in the training establishment
with a comprehensive program to improve interracial communication – called the Racial
Awareness Program – in Army units. To insure that top managers and leaders are
sufficiently sensitive to the problem of racial tension and the methods of countering it,
they will be given "special training."
Formal race relations training is conducted by the Continental Army Command in basic training and
Service school establishments, and involves three levels.
The standard courses of instruction at each level are four hours in length, but many of the
23 schools in the system have expanded their courses to six hours. At Levels Two and Three,
outside study and problem-solving exercises give additional exposure. Race relations problems
are integrated into other subjects in all courses.
- Level One is the entry level, given all soldiers in the first four weeks of basic training.
It provides a uniform level of understanding of the Army's race relations and equal opportunity
programs and is the initial effort to counter the causes of racial tension through education.
It sets the scene for an individual's Army service in an atmosphere of teamwork and racial
- Level Two courses are for young officers and NCOs. These courses reinforce much of the
Level One training, but at a higher level, and provide the basis for junior leadership to deal
with race relations problems.
- Level Three provides advanced race relations training for middle grade officers and NCOs
and concentrates on leadership responsibilities and techniques in dealing with racial tension.
New Racial Awareness Program
The Racial Awareness Program is a new concept designed to insure effective race relations
efforts in units. It includes all unit activities directed toward improving interracial
communication. Like the Equal Opportunity Program, the Racial Awareness Program will be
governed by a separate Army Regulation.
Mandatory race relations seminars are the cornerstone of the program. Also included are
such military and civilian community activities as "Black History Week," the
observance of significant calendar events, and unit race relations conferences.
Special race relations training will be provided for top managers. The thrust of this
training will be toward the command and staff responsibilities for effective RR/EO programs.
Formal schooling includes courses at the Army War College, the Command an General Staff
College, the Sergeants Major Academy, and the Senior Commanders Orientation Course given
at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
The General Officer Orientation Program and special race relations orientations for the
Army's leadership are also included.
Prime Time RAP Seminars
The mandatory Racial Awareness Program (RAP) seminars will be conducted in every unit in the
Army on an annual basis.
The program includes discussions from platoon to battalion level following a prescribed
outline which totals approximately 18 hours. The seminars will be conducted to insure
participation of every unit member – which means scheduling sessions during
"prime training time." Seminar leaders will include the chain of command,
Defense Race Relations Institute graduates, and graduates of unit discussion leaders'
Maximum participation by every unit member will be stressed. The real strength of the
program, however, will lie in improved inter-racial communication on a unit-wide basis.
The Army's race relations education experts believe that if an individual misses a given
seminar he will still benefit through its effect on his unit – his squad or platoon
– as a whole.
The plan for the 18-hour seminars calls for six blocks of instruction on:
Individual seminar hours will be devoted to such subjects as prejudice, minority and majority
stereotypes, the feeling of minorities and those of majorities, the contributions of minorities
to American life, the life styles of both, eliminating institutional racism in the unit, racial
issues facing the Nation and the unit, and a final hour on combatting discrimination.
- DoD, Army and Unit RR/EO Policies
- Personal Racism
- Inter-racial Communication
- Minorities in American Life
- Institutional Racism
- Racial Awareness
Efforts will also be made to tie the racial perception inventory directly to the standard
seminar outline so that it can be used to measure effectiveness of the program.
Thrust Toward Teamwork
The training specialists who developed the Racial Awareness Program point out that its thrust
is toward teamwork in the unit. It addresses both minority and majority views with the aim
of molding all unit members together in a spirit of comradeship.
The capability of units to conduct RAP seminars will be largely dependent upon the supply of
instructors. More than 2,000 unit discussion leaders will be needed to supplement some 340
teams trained as the Defense Race Relations Institute. The Army's objective is to accomplish
this by January 1974. At that time over 1,400 of the Army's total of 100,000 officers will
be instructors in race relations – 400 full-time and 1,000 part-time.
Furthermore, under present plans, one percent of the Army's entire effort will be devoted
to increasing inter-racial communication and improving racial harmony. That adds up to a
total of 12.6 million man-hours per year focused on the Army's race relations.
In terms of the individual, this means that every soldier receives continuous exposure to
race relations training for his or her entire period of service. For example, a first-term
soldier has a potential for a total of 58 hours of race relations education in his first
three-year enlistment. If he decides to stay in, he will get additional training at Basic
Level Non-Commissioned Officer Education System (NCOES) or an NCO Academy and might total
as high as 64 hours in his first three years.
The Army believes that its new concept for race relations education is an achievable program
which follows its normal method of operations – that is, formal individual training in
Service schools combined with unit development – all aimed at producing effective units
operating in a spirit of teamwork and comradeship.