Fort Huachuca is where the Army teaches soldiers and officers the specialized skills of military intelligence. It also cherishes its history with the Buffalo Soldiers, African American troops with an honored place in U.S. History. But African American officers are rare in Military Intelligence. So Fort Huachuca’s Commanding General is working to change that.
It’s rare for a Two Star General to travel across the country to speak to ROTC cadets, training to become Army officers. But Major General Anthony Hale is attacking what he sees as a serious need in his Army specialty.
“And a lot of people talk about it. I said I was gonna do something about it.”
The need he sees is more African Americans in military intelligence–The M-I Corps. General Hale says minorities in general make up only about 30 percent of Army Military intelligence.
“With regards to African Americans, we're below 9%.”
So General Hale has visited 14 HBCU’s—Historically Black Colleges and Universities, speaking to ROTC students training to be officers, suggesting that Intelligence work may be their best career path through the Army and beyond.
“What did those intelligence skills bring to you? Analytic skills, critical thinking skills, those skills that can easily translate into a profession outside of uniform when you decide to retire or when you decide to exit the military.”
The cadets tell General Hale they’d like to see more African American intelligence officers for guidance, inspiration and mentorship. For someone closer to the ROTC cadets age and background First Lieutenant John Jones has joined in the campus visits.
Lieutenant Jones says, “So on these HBCU visits, I actually gave up my number. So hopefully they reach back to me and tell me that they assessed (qualified) into the MI Corps, and they're reaching out for me to be one of their mentors.”
The effort is more than diversity for its own sake. It can help gather quality intelligence. These prospective officers could find themselves trying to persuade someone to willingly share critical information.
Lieutenant Colonel Dartanion Hayward commands Fort Huachuca’s 309th Military Intelligence Battalion. He says, “There may be a place in which we're located where people may be able to relate a little better to someone who looks like them as a source, or someone who has a cultural understanding, to be able to talk to people a certain way to be able to persuade them to give them information.”
Colonel Hayward says he says he was attracted to intelligence for its potential to help him work for the FBI or CIA and was impressed by how wide the world of intelligence work can be.
He’s been on the college visits too. Colonel Hayward says Black cadets want to see potential to reach the highest ranks but it’s been 25 years since an African American reached as high as two-star General in Army Intelligence. A lot of officers may leave the service before they’re in long enough to reach the top ranks.
“So if we don't put enough people in at the Lieutenant rank, you will never have another enough O-6 (Colonels) to make O-7 which is a General."
Major General Hale sees this effort as a matter of taking care of the people you serve with and they will take care of the mission.
“And as we look at diversity, equity and inclusion, getting after and doing something about the diversity within our M-I Corps just makes us better.”
Craig Smith is a reporter for KGUN 9. With more than 30 years of reporting in cities like Tampa, Houston and Austin, Craig has covered more than 40 Space Shuttle launches and covered historic hurricanes like Katrina, Ivan, Andrew and Hugo. Share your story ideas and important issues with Craig by emailing email@example.com or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.