Army releases five-year plan to better diversity, equality and inclusion

The plan will look at Army policies, biases and even marketing to bring the best talent to the top.

The Army is implementing a five-year plan that institutes structural, organizational, procedural and command changes to become a “model example of diversity, equality and inclusion.”

The new policy outlines five objectives that civilian managers and military commanders will follow in hopes of reflecting the racial makeup of the nation, making the Army more dynamic through diversity and advancing the most talented employees to the top.

The military has 11 times more white officers than senior officers of color. Only eight out of every 100 senior officers is a Black person, according to the Congressional Research Service. In the enlisted realm, 63% of senior enlisted troops are white, while 19% are Black.

“Our most recent efforts, what we call Project Inclusion, are very focused on implementing putting individuals in the right spot in the diversity space,” E. Casey Wardynski, Army assistant secretary for manpower and reserve affairs, told reporters Thursday. “We want to have diverse teams of talent that are focused on the individual and what individuals bring to the table. We want systems in place to allow that to happen across the United States Army.”

Lt. Gen. Gary Brito, Army deputy chief of staff for personnel, added that diversity, inclusion and equality are essential for the cohesion of the Army as it moves forward.

“It is important to create an environment where every single soldier, regardless of their race, gender, religion or background, has opportunities to excel with their proven and demonstrated talents,” he said. “We are taking a very strong look at our systems and our practices that may have been legacy and focusing now in a modern data-driven talent management process. This will ensure that any institutional practice that may inadvertently disadvantage any individual simply based on character on race, gender, or any characteristics will not prevent him or her from executing our core mission, which is key for the United States Army.”

Project Inclusion will ask Army leaders to look at current governance structures to ensure they are in line with diversity, equality and inclusion.

“Staffing requirements, regulations, and resources must be addressed throughout the Army,” Army officials wrote in the policy. “Diversity staffing should be determined and approved through existing processes. Some actions may require feasibility studies to determine the best utilization of available personnel and funding, any changes to law and the possible creation of separate officers to focus on statutory/regulation compliance and diversity, equality and inclusion principles.”

That includes looking at how the Army markets itself.

The Project will also develop standards, methods and procedures for implementing diversity and equality. It will do that by looking at leadership practices, creating a process to measure effectiveness and creating a council to approve policy and develop new initiatives.

The Army will conduct a review of its people, processes and policies to ensure it is acquiring, developing and employing the best talent possible.

Another objective implements new training to meet the demands of the total force.

“Training should center on building trust, developing leaders who value differences, treating diverse individuals equitably, helping soldiers and civilians understand their potential biases, and creating shared understanding through open, two-way communication,” officials wrote. “By modeling and reinforcing these behaviors for soldiers and civilians, leaders create environments where all personnel are included in decision-making processes, integrated into the group, treated with dignity and respect, and trust their leaders to do what is fair and equitable.”

Finally, the policy requires the Army to maintain an inclusive environment where diverse attributes, experiences and backgrounds ensure mission readiness.

This will be accomplished through listening sessions and a review of Army policies for potential bias.

“We’ve essentially taken all the objectives in the Army People Strategy, which have been well published, and operationalizing them across the United States Army at all ranks in all echelons and to make it stick,” Brito said. “We are institutionalizing it with the processes, through talent management, feedback, exit surveys from the soldiers and relooking at how we recruit, mentor and offer career coaching.”

Project Inclusion is an annex to the Army’s People Strategy, which the service rolled out last year in hopes of moving its talent management system into the 21st century and away from the industrial era.

It comes after a summer of racial unrest across the nation after multiple incidents of police officers killing Black people.

The Defense Department already announced it would remove pictures from promotion board files to reduce bias.

DoD is also setting up a race review board to make recommendations to better diversity, equality and inclusion.

Copyright © 2024 Federal News Network. All rights reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Related Stories

    A student from the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School practices setting a paiute deadfall trap for small game during the survival phase of Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape Level-C training (SERE) at Camp Mackall, N.C., Feb. 28, 2019. Commanders are making big changes to the grueling course that soldiers must pass to join the elite Special Forces. The goal is to meet evolving national security threats and to shift from a culture that weeds out struggling soldiers to one that trains them to do better.(Ken Kassens/U.S. Army via AP)

    Army debuts new system to pick commanders amid focus on talent management

    Read more
    Secretary of Defense Mark Esper speaks as Attorney General William Barr, left and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo look on, during a joint briefing, Thursday, June 11, 2020 at the State Department in Washington, on an executive order signed by President Donald Trump aimed at the International Criminal Court. Trump has lobbed a broadside attack against the International Criminal Court. He's authorizing economic sanctions and travel restrictions against court workers directly involved in investigating American troops and intelligence officials for possible war crimes in Afghanistan without U.S. consent. The executive order Trump signed on Thursday marks his administration’s latest attack against international organizations, treaties and agreements that do not hew to its policies.  (Yuri Gripas/Pool via AP)

    DoD creates board to provide concrete recommendations on race and diversity

    Read more
    Jackie Speier

    Military services provide few answers, but many promises on racial disparities

    Read more