Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Janet Hunter


The military and scholars assert that the military has created an organization that is based on merit. However, statistics show that African American military men are more likely to be subjected to the military's justice system, they are less likely to promote to the most senior enlisted and officer ranks, they are more likely to receive a negative discharge, and they are disproportionately represented on the military's death row. Despite these assertions, many African-American men succeed within the military structure. Therefore, this qualitative study was conducted to examine the stories of senior field grade warrant officer African American men to determine how they succeeded in a system where others face different problems. Data were collected through interviews with 10 African-American men in the army. Data analysis using Nvivo 12 revealed 9 themes related to motivation and resilience and occupational expectations: competence in primary functional areas, aspiration, overcoming barriers to promotion, proven leadership style, mentorship, educational opportunities, establish a career roadmap, excel through army promotion system, and faith. The findings of this study may provide policy makers, recruiters, and those aspiring to become Army warrant officers (WO) insight into what may help to increase the number of African-American men aspiring to become WOs. This study may also help guide the Army in being an organization where service members are judged solely based on merit.