Air Force

U.S. Air Force to track data, review accountability on diversity issues

Jan. 6 (UPI) — The U.S. Air Force announced administrative changes in data tracking of lesser disciplinary actions, for improvements in diversity and equal opportunity.

In two statements published on Tuesday, the Air Force called for improved tracking of information to determine “whether all discipline is being carried out in a fair and impartial manner.”

The Air Force also called for leadership to “assess command climate” in categories “relating to diversity, inclusion, belonging or equal opportunity topics.”

The directives, which were included in a December memorandum, come as all U.S. service branches seek to better identify incidents of bias in their ranks.

In July, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said that the branch has a problem not with diversity but with inclusion, noting that 39% of its personnel are considered as minority, but 71% of officers are white. He added that promotion boards no longer see photos of candidates to prevent implicit bias.

In August, the Defense Department began a crowdsourcing program to seek input from service members and civilian DoD employees for ways to better promote diversity and inclusion.

The Air Force directive announced on Tuesday calls for better tracking of data to help determine if all disciplinary actions are conducted impartially.

The branch plans to track data that include rank, age, gender, race and ethnicity of Airmen and Space Force Guardians who issue and receive the discipline.

The plan “reinforces the Department’s commitment to ensuring all Airmen and Guardians are treated fairly and provides commanders insight to facilitate positive practices, such as increased mentoring and professional development,” said John A. Fedrigo, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for manpower and reserve affairs.

A second memorandum on Tuesday directs all commanders who scored less than 49% on the Defense Equal Opportunity Climate Survey to create an action plan within 60 days to address issues including fairness, inclusion, leadership support, racism, sexism, sexually harassing behavior and workplace hostility.

“We all play a role in creating a healthy organizational climate and it is critical we ensure a safe, engaged and inclusive environment for our Airmen and Guardians to achieve their full potential,” Fedrigo wrote.

The directives came on the same day the Air Force called on commanders to review official and unofficial unit emblems, recognition patches, mottos, nicknames and other iconography to root out offensive language or imagery.

That memorandum directs commanders to remove any imagery or language considered “derogatory to any race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, age or disability status.”