Diversity, inclusion board seeks input from all DOD personnel

  • Published
  • By David Vergun
  • Department of Defense News

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Department of Defense Board on Diversity and Inclusion will report to Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark Esper by Dec. 15 on ways to improve diversity and inclusion leading to broader opportunities for all department personnel, and they are looking for input from all Defense Department personnel.

The board will focus on actions to enhance diversity and inclusion and drive a cultural shift to create lasting change in the Defense Department, from recruiting, career track selection and retention; to accessions, assignments, schools and promotions; to military justice and everything in between and beyond.

All Defense Department personnel are encouraged to crowdsource feedback on ideas for improving diversity and inclusion via www.milSuite.mil. The closing date for input is Oct. 16.

"Hearing from our service members is critical in helping the Department of Defense make lasting changes to our military culture," Air Force Brig. Gen. Troy E. Dunn, the board's senior military member, said. "All members of the Department of Defense are invited to join this important conversation. Since solutions will not come from the Pentagon alone, we offer the milSuite link to seek your feedback through open and honest dialogue on diversity and inclusion."

There are four focal points of actions the board is taking:

  • Evaluating all military policies, programs and processes;
  • Surveying best practices of industry, academia and other non-DOD organizations;
  • Reviewing the scientific literature, past studies and reports, including recommendations on actions the department can take to improve diversity and inclusion; and
  • Generating actionable items and policies to improve diversity and inclusion.

There are six recommendations the board will provide to the Secretary of Defense:

  • Strengthening both community engagement and the narrative about military service opportunities during recruiting to attract more diverse candidates;
  • Retaining minorities beyond initial service commitment and into leadership ranks;
  • Addressing barriers confronted by minorities in the workplace;
  • Improving advancement opportunities, promotion boards, command selection, professional military education and assignments;
  • Addressing command and organizational climate issues that may negatively impact the retention of minorities; and
  • Promoting inclusion of minorities in military culture and strengthening aspects of individual and cultural identities such as hair and shaving standards and dress.

The success of the board will be determined by improvements to policies, programs and processes that achieve broader diversity and inclusion.

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett serves as board chair, supported by the senior enlisted advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff SEAC Ramón “CZ” Colón-López.