Military-service chiefs (Getty)

The Associated Press is reporting that an independent report commissioned by Congress says that the U.S. military is too white and too male at the top and needs to change recruiting and promotion policies and lift its ban on women in combat. Seventy-seven percent of senior officers in the active-duty military are white, while only 8 percent are black, 5 percent are Hispanic and 16 percent are women, the report by an independent panel said, quoting data from September 2008.

One barrier that keeps women from the highest ranks is their inability to serve in combat units. Promotion and job opportunities have favored those with battlefield leadership credentials. Among recommendations is that the military eliminate policies that exclude women from combat units, phasing in additional career fields and units that they can be assigned to as long as they are qualified.

A 1994 combat-exclusion policy bans women from being assigned to ground combat units below the brigade level, even though women have for years served in combat situations. As it is, women are "technically attached" to combat units, which is why they don't get credit for it in promotion reviews.

The report ordered by Congress in 2009 calls for greater diversity in the military's leadership so that it will better reflect the racial, ethnic and gender mix in the armed forces and in American society. You think?

The military should be leading the rest of the country in matters of diversity. To have women serving in combat and not getting credit for it because they are regarded as being "attached" to combat, as opposed to a part of it, is pretty convenient and maddening. Do military leaders really need a report to tell them that this policy is discriminatory and plain wrong?

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In other news: Guantánamo: Obama Creates Indefinite System of Detention.