Today, I want to offer a debate question about the relevancy of the DA Photo in the promotion process. My opinion is that the Army should eliminate the DA Photo altogether. Here’s why. The Army always talks about Equal Opportunity and the importance of EVERYONE having the same opportunities. Personally, I think that’s a good thing.
For promotion purposes, Soldiers have to go before some type of DA Board (NCOs and Officers anyway). Their records, achievements, evaluation reports and other personnel files are objectively reviewed by a group of pre-selected individuals. The candidates are either chosen, or not chosen for promotion based upon a variety of factors such as previous jobs, performance in those jobs, completion of certain military schools, potential, physical fitness and more.
In addition, each promotion packet contains a DA Photo, which is reviewed to ensure the Soldier “looks like a Soldier” and is wearing the same awards that are highlighted in his/her personnel records. Here is where the problem happens. When someone on the board sees the DA Photo they immediately know the candidate’s gender and their race. I’m not sure how the promotion process can be neutral or fair when people on the board know the person’s gender or race. Yes, most people in the Army do the right thing, but people who have preconceived prejudices, either good or bad, can ultimately make a decision based upon the applicant’s photo.
Will this happen much? Probably not. Does it happen? I’m sure. And that’s why I think the Army should get rid of the DA Photo for promotion boards. Why can’t the person’s achievements speak for themselves? Why do you need a photo of the person as part of the decision making process? I don’t think it has any relevancy whatsoever.
What do you think? Is there a good reason the DA Photo should be part of the promotion process? Leave a comment and let us know. I look forward to reading what you have to say.