Military News

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Minot keys in on USAF diversity focus

by Senior Airman Stephanie Morris
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs


3/30/2015 - MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Diversity has become a new buzz word throughout the Air Force, re-establishing a focus on remaining competitive in attracting, recruiting and retaining America's best talent.

The ball began rolling on Minot's diversity program in March 2014. It has been a slow, deliberate planning process for base leadership, but that is to be expected when laying the foundation for an enduring program.

"After months of productive teleconferences with other Air Force Global Strike Command installations, I feel that we have a firm understanding of the Air Force's vision and we are now ready to move forward," said Senior Master Sgt. Neil Armstrong, 5th Contracting Squadron superintendent. "Implementation of the Air Force diversity policy is the responsibility of everyone. Moreover, diversity is critical for successful operations in the international community."

As a force interacting with people around the globe, cross-culturally competent Airmen are critical to building partnerships and conducting the full range of military operations, Armstrong said.

The goal of Minot's program is to ensure leadership commitment to an accountable and sustained diversity effort. The base will employ an aligned strategic outreach effort to identify, attract and recruit from a broad talent pool reflective of the best of the nation.

The base diversity committee that will help execute the diversity program will begin meeting in April.

"We are currently identifying the personnel that will be members of the base diversity committee, which will be responsible for creating and overseeing diversity events on base and in the community," said Lt. Col. Michael Samuel II, 91st Missile Wing inspector general. "The program will provide opportunities for base personnel to share our mission with community members. There will also be opportunities for Airmen to learn more about the operations of the other groups on base."

The program will also serve as a means to develop, mentor and retain top talent from across the total force

"I believe that President Obama said it best when he stated, 'our nation derives strength from the diversity of its population and from its commitment to equal opportunities for all. We are at our best when we draw on the talents of all parts of society, and our greatest accomplishments are achieved when diverse perspectives are brought to bear to overcome our greatest challenges,'" Armstrong said.

According to Armstrong, diversity is a military necessity. Air Force decision-making and operational capabilities are enhanced by diversity among its Airmen, uniformed and civilian, Armstrong said. Employing a strong mix of personnel helps make the Air Force more agile, innovative and effective. It also opens the door to creative solutions for complex problems and provides Minot AFB a competitive edge in nuclear deterrence.

Minot's new diversity program is in sync with both AFI 36-7001, and the United States Diversity Strategic Roadmap that was established March 12, 2013.

"The same message that is being preached on a sub temperature day at Minot AFB is being preached at Hickam Air Force Base," Armstrong said. "This program is about strengthening our force and ensuring long term viability to support the Air Force mission to Fly, Fight and Win."

Department of Defense guidance for a leaner force and anticipated future needs will dictate the Air Force become a smaller force in order to live within fiscal constraints, Armstrong explained.

"It is imperative that we continue on a strategic path to attract, recruit, develop and retain a diverse and inclusive workforce of highly qualified members who embody the Air Force core values," Armstrong said.

Currently, the base is in the early stages of organizing an outreach event with the American Indian communities around the missile complex.

"A successful base diversity program will rely on the participation of the total force, military and civilians," Samuel said. "Anyone can volunteer to help plan and execute the diversity events that will be held on base and in the community."

Minot's diversity program will support the Air Force's overall diversity focus by taking action at the wing level, Samuel said. The diversity events will promote the Secretary of the Air Force's recent diversity and inclusion initiatives.

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