Navy Establishes Diversity Directorate

Story Number: NNS040809-01Release Date: 8/9/2004 10:14:00 AM
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From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- With a clear strategic vision of incorporating diversity into the very fabric of the Navy organization, the Diversity Directorate was established Aug. 2 in a ceremony held outside the Directorate spaces at the Navy Annex.

The new directorate will bolster the Chief of Naval Operations' (CNO) vision to create a sense for everyone that the Navy is committed to their personal growth and development from the moment they begin naval service.

"Leveraging the diversity of all our people makes us more operationally capable by cultivating all our help us make better decisions...decisions that, in turn, make us more agile, more flexible and more effective," said Vice Adm. Gerry Hoewing, Chief of Naval Personnel. "I am proud of our commitment to diversity and feel strongly that our superb readiness today is the direct result of the time and attention we have devoted to improving it."

With this step, the Navy signals to Sailors and civilians that their diversity is valued for the innovative ideas and unique experiences they bring to the fleet.

"The Diversity Directorate's mission is to assist Navy leaders in creating an environment that encourages and enables our creative and innovative Sailors and civilians to reach their personal and professional potential," said Capt. Syd Abernethy, the new head of the Navy Diversity Directorate in Washington, D.C.

Seeing a direct relationship between diversity and mission readiness, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark added new focus on diversity in his Guidance for 2004. Clark expanded the traditional focus of diversity beyond race and gender, and folded in a Sailor's creativity, culture, ethnicity, religion, skills and talents

"The advent of new technology and the resultant speed at which lethal decisions are made require more creative and innovative Sailors," Abernathy said.

With retention and recruitment at the highest levels in recent history, the Navy can now afford to focus on shaping the force, ensuring the best-qualified, most diverse candidates are challenged to seek leadership roles in the senior enlisted and officer ranks of the future. To focus on the strategic diversity mission, the Directorate is divided into four working groups: Accessions, Training and Development, Organizational Alignment and Communications.

The Accessions group is determined to ensure that the Navy is presented to the best and brightest potential enlisted and officer candidates available across the entire spectrum of American society. They will seek out highly qualified and skilled candidates, ensuring the Navy is presented to a diverse audience at all academic levels.

The Training and Development group strives to embed the Navy's diversity vision into all Sailor and civilian leadership training and management tools. It seeks to create a culture that values diversity through continuous education and training of Sailors and civilians, promoting individual success through opportunities and access to develop their knowledge, skills and abilities to their fullest potential. The group will track, monitor and assess promotion, advancement, program selections, and retention rates of all Sailors and civilians, and use results as trend indicators and guides for success.

The Organizational Alignment group will develop and maintain an organizational structure that ensures diversity initiatives and programs are integrated and aligned within the Navy. Two examples are the Diversity Senior Advisory Group (DSAG) chaired by the Vice CNO with members from the Navy, industry, academia, and retirees that will act as a standing body of influence to advise our most senior leaders on trends and diversity best practices. The second is the Diversity Fleet Council, with members from across the Navy, who will provide unfiltered feedback on diversity issues and will assist in execution of the Navy's diversity initiatives.

Finally, the Communications Group will inform and educate all Sailors, active and reserve, their families, retirees and Department of the Navy civilians about the current diversity initiatives, programs and opportunities. They will also work to keep the general public, potential recruits, media, and legislative and affiliated groups informed about the Navy diversity programs.

The ceremony marked the beginning of a new strategic focus not the end of a program development. "This is not the end - we can always do better - especially when it comes to sewing diversity into the fabric of our culture, and that's what we are trying to achieve here today," said Hoewing. "This new directorate will bring a new level of awareness to the fleet."

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