“A plethora of studies have identified the problem, and we believe we can build on these to target meaningful solutions,” Hicks said in an op-ed written in The Hill Wednesday. “We have directed the rapid collection of the data required to conduct a root-cause analysis of racial disparities in military justice. Working closely with the secretaries of the Military Departments, we expect to have that data ready for analysis by the end of this month.”
Hicks highlighted a 2019 report from the Government Accountability Office, which found that service members of color are more often the subject of court-martial proceedings. Such studies have had similar findings for “decades,” Hicks argued.
“We also have heard from service members about painful experiences that are unacceptable in the military or any justice system.,” Hicks said.
“The men and women who risk their lives in defense of the United States deserve better, and we are committed to change,” she continued. “Leveraging evidence-based best practices, we will drive meaningful and lasting progress. And while driving change across one of the world’s largest enterprises is never easy, this challenge demands we do so quickly and methodically.”
Hicks said that the military could be conducting “a root-cause analysis of racial disparities” in the military justice system, vowing to take action on the findings of the analysis quickly as those causes become clear.
“The internal working group will provide actionable recommendations to the department’s senior-most leadership — both civilian and uniformed — ensuring the people most impacted have a voice in this initiative, not only now but in the future,” Hicks said.
In addition to the root-cause analysis, Hicks said that there would be an “independent assessment” of the problem, which will help the military make “sustained progress.”
“We are committed to identifying solutions fitted to this problem with detailed attention and careful implementation,” Hicks said. “Rapid action now will help us achieve sustained progress in the years to come. Our people deserve nothing less.”