March 18, 2023

The Air Force That Gina Ortiz Jones Is Leaving Behind

Source: Huffington Post

Journalist: Jennifer Bendery

“We’ve seen this across all military services,” said Katherine Kuzminski, a senior fellow and director of the military, veterans and society program at the Center for a New American Security. She conducted the study for Jones.

“When a woman is relieved of command or faces consequences for toxic leadership, it becomes a real news story,” she said. “The reality is men are relieved for those reasons more frequently, but it’s not as much of a news story.”

Kuzminski, who has been doing research on military personnel for 12 years, said while there have long been anecdotes about women in the military being bad leaders, what’s been missing is someone willing to look at actual data to see if there’s any validity to such claims.

“But the first time Gina heard it, she said, ‘Let’s get to the root of it and take a look at what the data say,’” she said. “‘Is there an issue? And if yes, what do we do to improve the situation?’”

The point of a study like the one Jones commissioned isn’t so much about fixing perceptions of women, Kuzminski said, but about showing Air Force leadership what opportunities it has to expand the scope of how people think about leadership skills and potential. This final report and its recommendations are currently being reviewed before being implemented.

“Not to be on the nose about it, but this is why having a diverse set of background experiences and perspectives is important in the policymaking community,” she added. “What Gina was great at was being able to translate the necessity for diversity, equality and inclusion into building the military force that A, represents the country, and B, is more lethal than one where we were only selecting from this subset.”

Read the full story and more from Huffington Post.


  • Katherine L. Kuzminski

    Deputy Director of Studies, Director, Military, Veterans, and Society Program

    Katherine L. Kuzminski (formerly Kidder) is the Deputy Director of Studies, and the Director of the Military, Veterans, and Society (MVS) Program at CNAS. Her research special...