Acting Navy Secretary Tasks Team to Promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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The Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Harker on Monday released a memo outlining his efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the Navy.

The memo serves as a framework for ongoing DEI efforts in the Navy. It directs the Chief Diversity Officer of the Navy, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) Cathy Kessmeier, to lead a Strategic Planning Team and develop an action plan to promote DEI.

“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,” said Harker in the 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. This review will examine both Navy and Marine Corps policies and build on existing efforts within both services,” it said.

The memo also directs Kessmeier oversee and direct a 60-day review of contractors to identify improvements needed to “promote supplier diversity and ensure proper implementation of equal opportunity and diversity policies in contracts.”


She will also oversee a 60-day review of policies and conventions of naming Navy and Marine Corps assets, “to identify measures to improve diverse representation.”

She will oversee 90-day reviews of precepts for selection and assignment boards to remove potential barriers to diversity and diversity within the Senior Executive Service to “improve the pace of diversity and the strength of the applicant pool, while remaining cognizant of the merit system principles.”






Furthermore, she will conduct 90-day reviews of Navy and Marine Corps grooming policies to inform potential changes to policy, and to examine “an appropriate authoritative data environment for DEI.”

The Navy will release the findings and actions it intends to take following the review periods.

“Equal opportunity is the fundamental promise of the United States. The Department of the Navy is committed to rooting out inequities that have sometimes kept that promise out of reach for underserved and underrepresented communities,” Kessmeier said in a statement.


“We recognize the need to understand the barriers that face our workforce, and we need to ensure our policies and processes are constructed to support diversity, equity, and inclusion for every officer, Sailor, Marine and civilian,” she said.

“Advancing equity requires a systematic approach and the Strategic Planning Team will work to address inequities in DON policies and programs that serve as barriers to equal opportunity.”

The Biden administration has made diversifying the workforce at the Pentagon and in the military a major priority.

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