Janice Glover-Jones, the Defense Intelligence Agency’s chief diversity, equality and inclusion officer, called out the department and said that despite recent diversity initiatives and studies, including a new board to make recommendations, diversity is about more than just hitting compliance numbers, reports The Business of Federal Technology.
“Inclusion can no longer be an option, we have to get it to the point of default and a norm,” Glover-Jones said during a virtual Intelligence and National Security Alliance event on August 11. “Diversity does not presuppose that you have a voice. You can be in a room and don’t necessarily have a voice or your voice is not always, shall I say, appreciated in the room.”
Glover-Jones’ comments come after Defense Secretary Mark Esper called the nationwide Black Lives Matter and law enforcement reform protests a “wake-up call” before then signing some diversity initiatives.
One of those was a six-month review board and an external Defense Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion in the Armed Services. The body will mirror the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services, the Federal News Network reports.
The Defense Department has made other changes in recent months to confront a history of racism, including banning displays of the Confederate flag on bases and in barracks. There is also a national debate over whether military installations bearing the name of Confederates should be renamed.
“We are not immune to the forces of bias and prejudice — whether visible or invisible, conscious or unconscious,” Esper said in a video posted on Twitter. “We know this bias burdens many of our service members, and has direct and indirect impact on the experiences of our minority members, the cultural and ethnic diversity of the force, and representation in our officer ranks. These things have no place in our military; they have no place in our country.”
The Pentagon has admitted that its top leaders are mostly white men and studies by independent organizations and the Government Accountability Office found black and Latino service members were more likely to be subjects of investigations and courts martial.
Glover-Jones went even further during the event she spoke at and said that the department needs “diverse ideas to challenge the status quo, to break out from homogenized thinking and often linearized perspectives” and, “We need to challenge some of our historical analytical patterns”.
Glover-Jones also said there was not enough “emphasis on promoting overall inclusion” in the Defense Department.