More Asian-Pacific Americans Serve in DoD
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 10, 2006 While the Defense Department doesn't have as many Asian-Pacific Americans in some grades of its civilian work force as it would like, their numbers in military service are strong, a top defense operations research analyst said here May 8.
Robin H. Woo, a defense operations research analyst with the Defense Manpower Data Center, provided a statistical snapshot May 8 to the audience at the Defense Department''s Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month observance in Honolulu. Photo by Rudi Williams
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Robin H. Woo, of the Defense Manpower Data Center, presented a 10-year overview of DoD's Asian-Pacific American demographic profiles during the department's Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month observance.
Woo said U.S. Census Bureau statistics provide the baseline DoD uses to determine whether Asian-Pacific Americans are fairly represented in the department's military and civilian work force. Over the last 10 years, he said, the number of Asian-Pacific Americans in the nation has grown from 6.7 million to 9.5 million.
In December 2005, Asian-Pacific Americans represented 4.4 percent of the U.S. population over age 18. In DoD, 4.7 percent of the active duty force and 5.9 percent of the department's civilian work force was Asian-Pacific American.
And while 35 percent of Asian-Pacific Americans on active duty was of Filipino descent in the December 2005 snapshot, Filipino-Americans made up only 18 percent of Asian-Pacific Americans in the United States.
Pacific Islanders -- Polynesians, Micronesians, Guamanians, Melanesians and others -- have strong representation in the military. They make up 6.7 percent of Asian-Pacific Americans in the United States and 11.8 percent of Asian-Pacific Americans on active duty.
East Asians - Chinese, Japanese and Korean - make up 40.1 percent of Asian-Pacific Americans in the U.S. population, and 25.5 percent of Asian-Pacific Americans active duty officers and 12.1 percent of personnel the enlisted side.
The number of Asian-Pacific American women on active duty has doubled from 5,200 in 1995 to more than 10,500, Woo said, and the male Asian-Pacific American component of the active duty force saw a 40-percent increase in the same period. Overall, he added, the number of Asian-Pacific Americans on active duty grew by 47.5 percent over the last 10 years, with an 80-percent gain in the commissioned officer ranks.
"This is at the same time that the military overall has shrunk by 9.5 percent," Woo noted. Though DoD enlisted strength fell by 130,000 over that period, the enlisted ranks included 16,700 more Asian-Pacific Americans in 2005 than in 1995. While Asian-Pacific Americans represented 4.2 percent of military commissioned officers in December 2005, they made up 6.5 percent of health care officers but only 2.9 percent of tactical operations officers.
However, Woo pointed out, Asian-Pacific American representation in commissioned tactical operations positions rose from 1.6 percent to 2.9 percent over the last 10 years.
The enlisted ranks also showed greater-than-expected Asian-Pacific American representation in the health care occupations compared to combat arms. But those in enlisted tactical operations specialties rose from 2.1 percent to 3.6 percent between December 1995 and December 2005, Woo noted.
In December 2005, Asian-Pacific Americans were 5.9 percent of the DoD federal civilian work force across all pay scales -- 8.2 percent of the professional occupations, 8.2 percent of people in the clerical fields, and 6.4 percent of the department's blue-collar workers.
Woo said that while Asian-Pacific representation is high in the lower third of the General Schedule pay scale - 8.5 percent of DoD's GS-1 through GS-5 employees, Asian-Pacific Americans constitute only 2.9 percent of employees in the scale's highest grade, GS-15. The statistical expectation, he said, would be 5.6 percent. Twenty-two Asian-Pacific Americans serve in DoD's senior executive service.