REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. –
The new commander of the Army Materiel Command charged his 11 subordinate commanders and senior staff with building an understanding, acceptance and implementation of diversity and inclusion actions throughout all aspects of the organization’s enterprise.
Making his comments during a July 23 Project Inclusion meeting with senior leaders, U.S. Army Materiel Commnand commander Gen. Ed Daly said the nation’s recent civil unrest requires the Army to do a thorough self-assessment of policies and procedures to ensure a work environment free of discrimination and racism. In support, AMC commanders will do the same within their organizations.
“I want to get to the point where we can show visible effects of our diversity and inclusion policies,” Daly told his commanders via video teleconference. “I am a firm believer in the power of diversity and inclusion. Myself and this command will be 1,000 percent in synch with Army leaders on this as we all work together to become a more powerful organization. AMC has the ability to demonstrate its leadership role in this for the Army.”
During the meeting, the senior leaders reviewed guidance from Secretary of Defense Mark Esper related to immediate actions to be taken to address diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity in the military services; a letter focused on the Army’s response to recent civil unrest as signed by Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. James McConville and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston; Army policy regarding public display and depiction of flags; and other information related to the Army’s Project Inclusion.
“We must all understand the importance of taking care of people,” Daly said. “The business of the Army is people. Diversity is our strength and is absolutely critical to optimizing effects in defending our nation and our democracy.”
Under Daly’s leadership, AMC commanders and senior staff will focus on: understanding, communicating and caring about employees in an effort to reduce the number of suicides within the Army workforce; eliminating sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace; and ridding the workplace of racial discrimination.
“Discrimination and racism erode trust. Unfortunately, there is still some racial bias in our formations. Unfortunately, there are still pockets of discrimination across the Army,” Daly said. “We need to understand the magnitude of this problem. We must focus on the prevention of suicides, sexual harassment and assault, and discrimination in our workplace. We just can’t talk about it because words whisper, actions thunder.”
The commanders reviewed the Army’s Project Inclusion guidance that includes fostering a culture built on trust, promoting an equitable and inclusive environment that supports building diverse, adaptive and cohesive teams, and creating safe spaces where Soldiers and civilians can have candid conversations about race and their experiences.
Daly urged leaders to set the right tone within their commands. In the next 30 days, he asked them to develop action plans to deliver diversity and inclusion programs that encourage leader awareness and commitment, provide education and training, and communicate principles of diversity and inclusion among the workforce.
“We all need to try to understand, to learn and to move forward together,” Daly said. “We’ve got to look at not just the here and now, but the future. How do we change the equation so there is more diversity and inclusion? How do we build the workforce for the future? This is a talent management piece as much as it is a development and inclusion piece. They are inextricably connected.”
Daly wants AMC to be a leader across the Army in developing an “inclusive environment free of any type of racism, sexual harassment and assault, and other things that destroy confidence and put people in a bad place mentally. We need to understand the people in our squad – who they are, what they are doing, what their goals are.”
While commanders, leaders and supervisors may not intentionally treat an employee unfairly, there may be blind spots that need to be examined, he said. Likewise, commanders, leaders and supervisors aren’t expected to change perceptions, but they should understand the perceptions of their team members, and provide every employee with the best opportunities, development, training, education and mentorship.