Diversity Woman Magazine

FALL 2012

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

Issue link: https://diversitywoman.epubxp.com/i/91258

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Page 39 of 79

We Mean Business > What this means is the Department of Defense has put a great deal of emphasis on growing diversity through targeted recruiting strategies and marketing ef- forts. We also are focused on maintaining diversity, and to that end we sustain en- gagement with different affinity groups such as women in the military; conduct research on diversity in both the military forces and the civilian forces to establish and carry out best practices; and require diversity training of all personnel. DW: What are some of the key initia- tives in recent years? CJ: I got to the Pentagon in 2000, and since then we have conducted a number of studies that have informed our diversity efforts. Most recently, in collaboration with the Office of Personnel Manage- ment, we developed a diversity and inclu- sion strategic plan. Our strategy broke down into three goals. First is to ensure leadership communi- cation around diversity. All senior leaders speak about diversity in their communi- cations, and they have established diver- sity best practices within their divisions to achieve and grow diversity. Next, we have created an employment strategic outreach effort to recruit from a broad talent pool. Tis includes not only outreach to attract talent from outside the department, but also inreach, to sup- port the retention of the best and bright- est within the DOD. Lastly, this plan developed strategies for mentoring and retaining top talent across all the forces. DW: What kinds of results have you seen with minorities in the Department of Defense? CJ: Te law does not allow us to have quo- tas. Still, over the years, due to our con- tinual commitment to diversity, we have generally enjoyed increases in the repre- sentation of women and minorities. In 2011, African-Americans consti- tuted 17 percent of the active-duty force and 10 percent of the officers. And, this is a key data point: 16.3 percent of new re- cruits in the 18 to 24 group were African- 38 DIVERSITY WOMAN Fall 2012 American, compared to just 15 percent of the total population in the United States. On the civilian side, African-Americans make up 15.2 percent of the DOD work- force. In 2011, 11 percent of our active-duty force and 5.6 percent of our officers were Hispanic-Americans. Among new recruits ages 18 to 24, Hispanic-Americans com- prised 17 percent of the total military, compared to 19 percent in that same age cohort in the nation. Women in the military in 2011 made up 14 to 15 percent of the active-duty force and 34 percent of our civilian popu- lation. DW: What are some of the unique chal- lenges of implementing diversity in the military? CJ: One challenge is the organizational structure, the fact that the services are decentralized. Te Air Force has its own structures and procedures, the Army has its own structures and procedures, etcet- era. Our job is to oversee and bring it all together. A one-size-fits-all policy doesn't work all the time, so we try to have uni- formity, but with flexibility. Another challenge is the fact that we have a closed personnel system. Senior leaders can't be brought in from the out- side. Tey need to be grown from within the ranks, so our pool to select from is smaller. Recently, a three-star general retired and became a college president. I was speaking to a colleague and he said, "Isn't it interesting how a general can be- come a college president, but not even the president of Harvard can become a three-star general?" It takes approxi- mately 25 years to grow a leader from within to that level of rank. DW: Recently the Department of Defense opened up thousands of more assign- ments to women, positions that were previously closed to them. What was the motivation behind that? What are some of those new positions? CJ: Yes, under the leadership of Secre- tary of Defense Leon Panetta, we have been studying this since the fall of 2010, when the department recommended to Congress that it open up approximately 14,000 positions to women that hereto- fore had been closed to them. Many of these new positions are in the Army, roughly 13,000. Tese new positions are primarily in six occupations, such as those involved with artillery, maintenance operators, tank mechanics, and multiple launch rocket system crewmembers. An- other 1,200 were in direct line combat posi- tions in the Army and Marines. Addition- ally, the Navy has allowed women to serve on submarines since 2010. DW: The Department of Defense recently held its first LGBT pride event, at the Pentagon. How did that come about and how many participated? CJ: Te law known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" [barring gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military] was offi- cially repealed in 2011. Te event at the Pentagon drew 350 attendees. Te sec- retary of defense was off station, but he sent a video message saluting lesbian and gay service members, [LGBT] civilians, and their families. It was an important step. Before, people couldn't be them- selves, and now they can be themselves, and that makes them more productive military members. DW: Why is diversity good for the Depart- ment of Defense? CJ: Te secretary of defense has said that diversity is one of our greatest strengths. In recent years we have met or exceeded our diversity goals. At the same time, the quality of our recruits has been ex- tremely high. Tose two factors go to- gether. Our research has shown that a diverse force is a talented force. Diver- sity has been embraced throughout the chain of command in all the forces. It's important that we achieve and maintain a force that is representative of America. We value diverse backgrounds and per- spectives. Simply put, diversity in the military is good for the nation. DW Jackie Krentzman is Diversity Woman's Executive Editor. www.diversitywoman.com

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