Osama bin Laden is threatening to attack us with weapons of mass destruction. Iraq is hanging in the balance. Syria has a clandestine nuclear-weapons program. Lebanon is falling under the sway of Hizballah.

Fortunately, the Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity (ODMEO) in the Defense Department has commissioned the RAND corporation to devise an outstanding plan to meet the multiplying dangers:

First and foremost, we recommend that the strategic planning process be top-down rather than bottom-up; whether DoD adopts a diversity strategic plan (either through ODMEO or as the entire organization) or a strategic plan that fully incorporates diversity into the core mission of DoD, its success depends on the leadership’s ability to champion the effort, monitor its progress, and follow through on accountability measures. The personal involvement of the Secretary of Defense provides a clear signal to the workforce that managing diversity and ensuring that it is a core value of the department is a top priority.

This involvement is essential to bring about the institutional changes necessary to achieve greater diversity. The Secretary should do more than issue a diversity statement and occasionally refer to diversity in speeches and press conferences. We recommend that the Secretary personally lead an oversight committee that approves and monitors the progress of diversity initiatives. As such, we recommend that DoD form an oversight committee of top DoD leaders from a wide range of personal and professional/functional backgrounds (e.g., intelligence, combat arms, Joint Chiefs of Staff) to oversee the development of the strategic plan and its implementation, providing both insights from their vast experience and inputs from their functional communities. More importantly, the members of the committee will become the public faces of the department’s diversity-related efforts. Therefore, we strongly recommend that the committee be equipped with adequate resources to carry out its mission.

While the Global War on Terror (GWOT) exacts heavy demands on the leadership, diversity has potentially great implications for both DoD’s present and future force readiness, which in turn will affect the safety and security of U.S. interests.  

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