From testimony by military sociologist Charles Moskos at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Nov. 4:

. . . Black women [in the military] have an attrition rate equivalent to that of males of any race [of] around 30 to 35 percent, which is high anyway, but white women are in the 55 percent category, much higher than their black sisters.

When you ask why is this the case, you get different reasons. Some say there are more opportunities for white women on the outside than there are for black women. Black women on the other hand say that white women can't march. . . . that the physical strains and the kind of demeaning conditions that necessarily go with military training are less acceptable to white women than they are to black women. But there is a huge race difference, which doesn't exist among black men at the other end in terms of attrition.

Generally speaking . . . blacks do reenlist at a higher rather than do their white counterparts. . . . I think part of it is it is easier to get out than it used to be when you had a conscription system, that the attrition rate during the draft was 10 percent versus 35 percent, approximately, today, but there are different standards for getting in and out than there were during the conscription era. And obviously . . . rules of getting out [are stricter] when you have a draft than when you have a volunteer force.

But I think that deserves closer attention as to why there is such a racial disparity, as well as the general high attrition rate across all groups.