The U.K.’s Royal Air Force (RAF) has been accused of effectively halting the recruitment of White males, and subsequently appearing willing to compromise U.K. security in order to meet diversity quotas, defense sources have told Sky News.
The force’s head of recruitment has reportedly recently resigned in protest at the “impossible” diversity targets expected to be met, amid concerns that a pause to recruitment could impact the force’s effectiveness. Current RAF policy insists that a number of women and people from ethnic minorities are offered employment.
While sources noted how General Sir Patrick Sanders, the head of the British army, recently regarded the global security challenges as being similar to those in the build-up to World War II, they accuse Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, the RAF boss, of placing diversity and inclusion ahead of U.K. security as the threat from Russia and China, in particular, grows.
“You look at the head of the RAF and he’s prepared to break the operational requirement of the air force just to meet diversity [targets],” the source told Sky News.
“I think he needs to be hauled up by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and told: This is the defense agenda, get on it,” they added.
Another source claimed there has been an “effective pause” on offering jobs to White male recruits.
The RAF rejected the accusations outright, insisting there has not been a pause in the force’s recruitment and there hasn’t been a policy change regarding the need to meet in-year recruitment requirements.
“Royal Air Force commanders will not shy away from the challenges we face building a service that attracts and recruits talent from every part of the U.K. workforce,” an RAF spokesperson said.
“As with the Royal Navy and British Army, we are doing everything we can to encourage recruiting from under-represented groups and ensure we have a diverse workforce.
“The Royal Air Force has a well-earned reputation for operational excellence that is founded on the quality of all our people. We will always seek to recruit the best talent available to us,” they added.
An MOD spokesperson, commenting on the accusations, said: “Operational effectiveness is of paramount importance and no one is lowering the standards to join the Royal Air Force.
“The RAF recruits for many professions and, like the rest of the armed forces, is determined to be a force that reflects the society it serves to protect.”