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"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."

The Concept

Formal race relations training is conducted by the Continental Army Command in basic training and Service school establishments, and involves three levels.

  • 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 harmony.

  • 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.
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.

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' courses.

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:

  • DoD, Army and Unit RR/EO Policies

  • Personal Racism

  • Inter-racial Communication

  • Minorities in American Life

  • Institutional Racism

  • Racial Awareness
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.

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.

Source: "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.
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.

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