Ray and I discussed this just yesterday, Anders... Even the US military is highly motivated by politics and personalities. You gotta be a 'good ol' boy' for your career to advance.
I hate to bring this into the equation, but UNION memberships were designed to trump favoritism, nepotism, and all other stupid discriminations after a trial (usually 90-day) period. Everyone involved sat down at a table and they all agreed things would happen based on SENIORITY, not good looks.