Government-Wide Initiative To Promote Diversity and Inclusion

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This past week, President Obama re-affirmed his commitment to diversity in the workplace by signing the Executive Order – Establishing a Coordinated Government-wide initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workplace.

The Executive Order calls for a government-wide plan to meet its diversity and inclusion goals. According to this order, the plan will need to be updated every four years at a minimum. Additionally, the order calls for each agency to implement the plan and provides guidance to agencies as they develop their agency-specific Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plans.

As the Department of Defense begins to review and implement this Government-wide we spoke with Colonel Victoria L. Bowens, USAF the Senior Military Advisor, Diversity Mgt/EO,  at the Office of the Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity (ODMEO). Colonel Bowens has provided some insight surrounding her part on the Defense Diversity Working Group (DDWG), the group that will play a key role in implementing the government-wide plan within the Department of Defense.

DoDlive: Please tell me about the Defense Diversity Working Group

Colonel Bowens: The Defense Diversity Working Group (DDWG) has been in existence since 2008.  Originally the working group consisted of only the Service Diversity Directors but has since been expanded to include the Services and Agencies Military Equal Opportunity and Equal Employment Opportunity Directors as well.

DoDlive: Would you explain your role chairing the Defense Diversity working group

Colonel Bowens: My role over the past year has been to continue to work closely and collaboratively with the services to review, discuss, plan, recommend, and advise on overarching Department of Defense (DoD) military and  civilian workforce diversity, inclusion matters and outreach opportunities.

DoDlive: Please tell us the role the working group playing in developing the Total Force DoD Diversity Strategic Plan

Colonel Bowens: In 2010, we ramped up efforts to increase our focus on finalizing a draft Defense Diversity Strategic Plan, still under review. This is not the first Executive Order signed by a president to promote diversity and inclusion in the federal workplace.  Prior to this, these are the most recent diversity initiative presidents have signed: Executive Order 13171 of October 12, 2000 (Hispanic Employment in the Federal Government); Executive Order 13518 of November 9, 2009 (Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government);  Executive Order 13548 of July 26, 2010 (Increasing Federal Employment of Individuals with Disabilities);  Executive Order 13163 of July 26, 2000 (Increasing the Opportunity for Individuals With Disabilities to be Employed in the Federal Government); and Executive Order 13078 of March 13, 1998 (Increasing Employment of Adults With Disabilities).

Check in with www.defense.gov tomorrow.  They will be publishing an article interviewing Captain Ken Barrett, Deputy Director, Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity. Captain Barrett will offer deeper insights into how the Department of Defense will review and implement the government-wide plan.

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  • Jordan Kness

    I am all about diversity in the workplace, but not at the expense of forfeiting 1st Amendment rights. I know that women are great workers, ethnic minorities are in great leadership positions and perform fantastic.  However, what happens when inclusion of certain groups mandates the silence of another? For example, the reverse of DADT mandates that no special billeting considerations will be made on the basis of a Soldiers sexual preference.  With the reverse of DADT, DOD doesn’t just invite homosexual lifestyle into the workplace, it invites it into the homes of soldiers who might disagree with the policy. If a Christian speaks out against what has been forced into his work environment, does he have the right to speak against policy in instances where it is at odds with his beliefs? No, he will never be able too. DOD is silencing those who disagree with their policies by holding their careers over their heads. I for one won’t be stagnate in this fight for our rights.  Servicemembers need to fight back against discriminatory policies under the guise of progression. Fight back at all cost.