A policy restricting the recruitment of white men in a bid to meet diversity goals will hurt fighting strength, she said
The head of recruitment and selection for the UK's Royal Air Force has resigned in protest over hiring restrictions on white males in a bid to meet "impossible" diversity goals, defense sources told Sky News on Tuesday.
The group captain reportedly expressed concern in her letter of resignation that placing limits on hiring could hurt the unit's fighting strength.
Her apparent departure followed claims by defense sources that the RAF had imposed an "effective pause" on hiring white males, while pushing to hire more women and ethnic minorities.
An RAF spokesperson has denied that any racial quotas have been imposed, stating "there is no pause in Royal Air Force recruitment and no new policy with regards to meeting in-year recruitment requirements."
However, the Ministry of Defense had previously announced that it wanted 30% of new recruits for the entire British military to be female by 2030. The RAF's goals are even more dramatic, as they would more than double the current percentage of women, with 40% female recruits by that time. The service also wants 20% of new hires to be ethnic minorities by the deadline.
Diversity-seeking recruiters have been stymied by reluctance among women and minorities to join certain areas of the service, however, and the RAF is required to hire sufficient personnel to meet "operational inflow requirements" - the bare minimum levels of staffing required for the service to operate.
The pressure to bring in minority hires is overwhelming, multiple sources told Sky News. "We are all really pro-diversity and we want to see better representation across the services but... levels of ambition for ethnic targets... are absolutely crazy," one said, noting there was no science to back up this ambition. The military division has also embraced the language of 'inclusivity', changing gender-specific terms - "airman" became "aviator" - and embracing pronouns in signatures.
Sky News defense sources have blamed Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston for prioritizing diversity at the expense of combat readiness, pointing to serious operational problems within the military division that remain even after Defense Secretary Ben Wallace assigned Wigston the task of fixing flight training as his "only priority" over two years ago.
Recently leaked documents revealed that a shortage of fully functional training aircraft and a dearth of flight instructors as qualified pilots quit to work in the private sector, severely crippling the training pipeline. It has left hundreds of RAF recruits grounded for years waiting to either begin their training or take the refresher courses required to keep them in the air.
Wigston has also encouraged autistic and other "neuro-diverse" people to consider a career with the RAF, acknowledging that if recruits can use a computer, they "probably" won't have to pass a physical fitness test.