By Shane Snow and Maria Vinokurov

The Department of Defense, with more than two million military and civilian employees, is the nation’s largest employer. A spokesman said the Pentagon was entitled to a special exemption that allows it to withhold data about its workforce.

While the federal government has endorsed equal pay since the 1960s, when John F Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, it has struggled to close the pay gap between men and women for similar reasons as the private sector. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a non-profit thinktank, the private sector pay gap between genders is about 20%.

In entry-level positions, the records show, the federal government has largely achieved its goal of hiring diverse workers across gender, age and race. But it has promoted only a few of these workers to supervisory positions, instead preferring to hire administrators from the more homogeneous private sector, analysts said.

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