May 27, 2020

Senator Gillibrand, Congressman Brown Introduce Bicameral Legislation To Increase Diversity In Military Service Academy Nominations

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Congressman Anthony G. Brown (MD-04) introduced legislation to diversify military service academy nominations by mandating race, gender, ethnicity, and other demographic metrics be collected and published on an annual basis. The “Public Accountability on Nominations Offered that Result in Admissions to Military Academies” (PANORAMA) Act would provide key public data and additional transparency to improve diversity within military leadership. In the military, as in other industries, the best leaders reflect the diverse backgrounds and perspectives of those they represent.

“Our nation’s service academies cultivate exceptional officers, and we must ensure that not only are our nominees the best and the brightest, but that they reflect our country’s diversity,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I am proud to sponsor this legislation calling for a transparent and inclusive academy nominations process that will help ensure every student has an equal chance to serve, regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status. Our future military leaders should highlight a fundamental truth—our diversity is our strength.”

“My 30-years spent serving this country in uniform are among my proudest. Our military brings together brave men and women from across this nation to serve - those leading our service members should reflect the power of this diversity,”said Congressman Brown. “Increasing transparency in the academy nominations process will ensure qualified candidates do not go overlooked as we build the next generation of military leadership. A range of backgrounds and experiences in leadership brings out the best in our military, and ensures that everyone who wants to serve their country in uniform, can do so.”  

Reports show that military service academies are historically less diverse than the rest of the country. According to a study by Yale University, women have never exceeded 27 percent of nominations made by Congress. The PANORAMA Act would increase transparency in the process and strengthen the service academy’s commitment to diversity by:

  • Requiring the Department of Defense to standardize gender, race and ethnicity classifications and demographic categories across all service academies.
  • Establishing a uniform online portal for all military service academies
  • Collecting demographic information from congressional nominations, allowing members to review previous nomination records for their district
  • Requiring the Department of Defense to publish an annual report regarding the demographics of applicants and nominations made by each congressional district for the most recent application year

The PANORAMA Act has been cosponsored in the Senate by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR); and in the U.S. House by Reps. Don Bacon (NE-02), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), André Carson (IN-07), Gil Cisneros (CA-39), TJ Cox (CA-21), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Deb Haaland (NM-01), Denny Heck (WA-10), Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Michael San Nicolas (GU-AL), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Eric Swalwell (CA-15) and Filemon Vela (TX-34). 

Full text of the bill can be found here