The head of recruitment for the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force, a senior female officer, has reportedly resigned in protest of a diversity policy critics say has set "impossible" targets and jeopardized U.K. national security.
White male applicants are being excluded from job offers in the RAF under diversity guidelines set by Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, Sky News reported. Sources who spoke to the outlet complained that diversity targets set by air force leadership have led to hiring restrictions that are threatening military preparedness, comparing the situation to the pre-World War II era.
"Then you look at the head of the RAF and he's prepared to break the operational requirement of the air force just to meet diversity [targets]," one source said.
"I think he needs to be hauled up by the Ministry of Defense and told: 'This is the defense agenda, get on it.'"
Defense leadership in the United Kingdom has set a target to increase the ratio of female recruits joining the armed forces to 30% by 2030. In the RAF, officials aim to have 40% of all recruits be women by the end of the decade, which is more than double the current level, according to Sky News.
A similar target has been set for ethnic minorities, with the Ministry of Defense aiming to have 20% of all air force recruits be non-whites in the same time frame, Sky News reports.
Critics say recruitment policies are handicapping the RAF's ability to meet operational inflow requirements — the number of new recruits needed to ensure the air force maintains the full range of operations needed to secure the country and assist allies abroad.
"We are all really pro-diversity and we want to see better representation across the services, but … levels of ambition for ethnic targets … are absolutely crazy," a source said. "There is no scientific or cultural background to these particular levels of ambition."
But the Ministry of Defense disputes the allegations.
"There is no pause in Royal Air Force recruitment and no new policy with regards to meeting in-year recruitment requirements," a spokesperson for the RAF told Sky News.
"Royal Air Force commanders will not shy away from the challenges we face building a service that attracts and recruits talent from every part of the UK workforce.
"As with the Royal Navy and British Army, we are doing everything we can to encourage recruiting from under-represented groups and ensure we have a diverse workforce.
"The Royal Air Force has a well-earned reputation for operational excellence that is founded on the quality of all our people. We will always seek to recruit the best talent available to us."
However, sources who spoke to Sky News said the Head of Recruitment and Selection — a Group Captain — handed in her resignation because RAF leadership pressured her to pause extending job officers to white male applicants in the hopes that women and minorities would fill vacant roles by the end of the fiscal year.
The defense sources complained that under Wigston's leadership, the air force has enacted a "woke" diversity agenda — changing terms like "airman" to the more gender-neutral "aviator," emphasizing politically-correct use of pronouns, and permitting staff to grow beards.