The Navy is conducting a series of internal reviews, as well as adopting policies, to ensure that it is meeting its goals for “diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
The Department of Defense released a memo signed by Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Harker directing Chief Diversity Officer Catherine Kessmeier to conduct a series of reviews of the Navy’s makeup in line with its diversity goals. Kessmeier, acting assistant secretary of the Navy for manpower and reserve affairs, will also craft and push further diversity policies on the military branch.
“Equal opportunity is the bedrock of our democracy and diversity is one of our greatest strengths; both are critical to the readiness of our Navy and Marine Corps team and, ultimately, to our mission success,” Harker wrote in the May 3 memo. “Aligned with these guiding principles, it is the policy of the Department of the Navy (DON) to continue making transformative and meaningful steps that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in our policies, programs, and operations across the enterprise.”
Kessmeier will put together a team of officials from across the Navy, Marine Corps, and secretariat to oversee reviews of different parts of the Navy and craft DEI plans moving forward. According to Harker’s memo, the entire review process will include:
A 60-day review of contracting by Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition) and General Counsel (GC) to identify improvements needed to promote supplier diversity and ensure proper implementation of our contracts of Department of Defense/DON equal opportunity and diversity policies;
A 60-day review of policies and conventions for naming ships, bases, and other assets by Navy and Marine Corps leadership, with recommendations for measures to improve diverse representation;
A 90-day comprehensive review of precepts for selection and assignment boards led by ASN (M&RA) in conjunction with Navy and Marine Corps representatives as well as the GC, Judge Advocate General, and the Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant, to remove potential barriers to diversity;
A 90-day review, led by ASN (M&RA), of the current level of diversity within the Senior Executive Service, and the process used relative to recruitment, selection, and development of Senior Executives with the aim of improving the pace of diversity and the strength of the applicant pool, while remaining cognizant of the merit system principles;
A 90-day review of Navy and Marine Corps grooming policies, led by ASN (M&RA) in conjunction with Navy and Marine Corps representatives, that will inform potential changes to policy; and a 90-day review by ASN (M&RA), in conjunction with DON Chief Information Officer (CIO), to examine an appropriate authoritative data environment for DEI. To ensure integrity and validation of data and in support of DEI, I direct all DON commands, organizations, and offices to collaborate with ASN (M&RA) and/or CIO and to provide access to data systems and other related requests.
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