National Guard hosts virtual conference on diversity
National Guard Bureau Seal
by Army National Guard Sgt. Darron Salzer
National Guard Bureau
7/24/2012 - ARLINGTON, Va. (1/19/12) -- The chief of the National Guard Bureau outlined his vision for diversity within the National Guard during the first National Guard Bureau Virtual Diversity Conference - held completely online on Wednesday.
Air Force Gen. Craig McKinley said the goal of the virtual conference was to present to all Citizen-Soldiers, -Airmen and civilians the vision and strategy of Guard leadership in the area of diversity management - and the use of a virtual conference allowed that message to reach a larger audience.
"As your chief of the National Guard Bureau, it is my role to work with your adjutants general to ensure that the National Guard remains a mission-ready force," he said. "Effective diversity management is essential to military readiness and mission accomplishment."
McKinley said steps to improve diversity management throughout the Guard have been taken, one of them being the establishment of the National Guard Bureau Joint Diversity Executive Council.
"The goal of this council," he said, "is to identify and adopt the best
practices for recruiting, retaining and developing a very diverse workforce - and sustaining a climate of equality in the National Guard."
"The council adapts these practices from various resources to recommendations that are appropriate to the National Guard's military and civilian structure," said Phyllis Brantley, chief of National Guard diversity and special-emphasis programs.
Some of the accomplishments of the council thus far include: a comprehensive diversity policy, a leaders guide on diversity, resources for state-level Joint Diversity Councils and training and mentoring for state-level JSDCs from NGB staff.
"We as an organization have made significant progress, but much more is
needed - especially in our military leadership diversity," McKinley said. "It's a problem with cyclical effects. Through the work of our adjutants general and other National Guard leaders, I am confident that we can move toward a future workforce that more clearly reflects the population of our great nation."
McKinley said accessing and adopting some programs from the civilian sector is one way that the Guard could use to achieve its diversity goals.
"Another step to reaching our goals on diversity and inclusion in the Guard is for each state, territory and the District of Columbia to establish state joint diversity councils and assign a liaison to work with the NGB Joint Diversity Executive Council," he said.
Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Denise Jelinski-Hall, the National Guard's senior enlisted leader, said in order for the organization to remain relevant, "we must understand diversity and how to strategically capitalize on the strength of our Soldiers, Airmen and civilians."
"Diversity must be recognized as an enhancement of the character of our
organization," McKinley said.
"Change is never easy, but I remain confident in the Soldiers, Airmen and civilians of the National Guard to get this work done," he said.