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.