The War Department's problems with its segregation policy were only intensified by its insistence on maintaining a racial quota. Whatever the authors' intention, the quota was publicized as a guarantee of black participation. In practice it not only restricted the number of Negroes in the Army but also limited the number and variety of black units that could be formed and consequently the number and variety of jobs available to Negroes. Further, it restricted the openings for Negroes in the Army's training schools.
At the same time, enlistment policies combined with Selective Service regulations to make it difficult for the Army to produce from its black quota enough men with the potential to be trained in those skills required by a variety of units.
Attracted by the superior economic status promised by the Army, the average black soldier continued to reenlist, thus blocking the enlistment of potential military leaders from the increasing number of educated black youths. This left the Army with a mass of black soldiers long in service but too old to fight, learn new techniques, or provide leadership for the future.
Subject to charges of discrimination, the Army only fitfully and for limited periods tried to eliminate low scorers to make room for more qualified men. Yet to the extent to which it failed to attract educated Negroes and provide them with modern military skills, it failed to perform a principal function of the peacetime Army, that of preparing a cadre of leaders for future wars.
In discussing the problem of low-scoring Negroes it should be remembered that the Army General Classification Test, universally accepted in the armed services as an objective device to measure ability, has been seriously questioned by some manpower experts. Since World War II, for example, educational psychologists have learned that ethnic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds have an important influence on performance in general testing.
Roy K. Davenport, who eventually became a senior manpower official in the Department of Defense has, for one, concluded that the test scores created a distorted picture of the mental ability of the black soldier. He has also questioned the fairness of the Army testing system, charging that uniform time periods were not always provided for black and white recruits taking the tests and that this injustice was only one of several inequalities of test administration that might have contributed to the substantial differences in the scores of applicants.[l03]
103Ltr, Roy K. Davenport to author, 11 Dec 71, CMH files. Davenport became Deputy Under Secretary of the Army and later Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Manpower Planning and Research) in the Johnson administration.