As a woman and a minority in the U.S. Army, I strongly believe in the importance of respecting diversity and in the enforcement of inclusion to become a stronger force. This essay intends to express what diversity is and how it is displayed in the Armed Forces. As Mahatma Gandhi once said: “Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.” Diversity not only in the Army but in any workplace or group-related scenario is important and beneficial. Beyond bringing cultural and ethnic background, it provides different kinds of intellectual approaches which establish a more powerful defense force.
Since the beginning of time, the Army has been composed of diverse soldiers that have forged the ranks that are established to the day. These ranks include slaves such as the first African American to graduate from a U.S. military academy, Lieutenant Henry Flipper. As well as a Mexican-American, Private Marcelino Serna, who became the most decorated soldier in World War I. Not only talking about race, but to talk also about diversity we must look at sex. In 1948, President Truman signed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, this law stated that women would be treated the same as men, including pay, benefit, and veteran entitlements. This diversity, not only gave progress in physical strength and endurance but also academic skills, that are until this day useful in combat as well as in office-related scenarios.
In 2017, a study was conducted on diversity in workplace environments, utilizing Cloverpop, a decision-making database. With this data and information from approximately 600 businesses, the conclusion was reached that inclusive teams would make a better business decision 87% of the time. These decisions would be made two times faster and in half of the time. Additionally, teams that were gender inclusive, made better decisions 73% of the time compared to male teams and a percentage of 58%. Some of this research also provides compelling evidence, informing that diversity drives growth in the market and opens doors to innovations.
According to the Army, diversity is defined as: “the different attributes, experiences, and backgrounds of our soldiers, civilians and family members that further enhance our global capabilities and contribute to an adaptive, culturally astute Army.” With this being said, the Armed Forces, striving to make a difference created a Diverse Roadmap. This Roadmap is instructional information on what the concept of diversity is, its mission, vision, and goals to reach the objective of becoming more understanding of culture and diverse environments. Conflict of close to two decades has instructed us on truths about how appreciating various populations assists us in comprehending and conquering our opponents. One of the most important factors and that is a critical element for this Diverse Roadmap to reach its goal of inclusion, is leader commitment, which ultimately reflects on followers.
Leaders should be trained and educated to complete the Army’s vision of diversity, establishing policies and priorities that encourage diversity individually, in command levels, and in organizational. In addition, enforcing AR-600-20, Chapter 6, which states the Equal Opportunity Policy, that establishes to “ensure fair treatment to for all persons based solely on merit, fitness, and capability in support of readiness”. This treatment is not based on race, color, sex, religion or national origin”. This policy goes hand to hand with what diversity really stands for, basing itself only on fairness, equity, and justice.
To conclude, I believe diversity is one of the most important parts of the military, because every characteristic that makes us different, makes us stronger while defending our country. The world has become a fast developing one, and for the Armed Forces to satisfy the demands it represents, we must also employ critical thinking and self-examination. We must guarantee that when Americans from our population reflect on the Army, they see an entity they can relate to, identify, and have faith in. Making sure that when America’s greatest and most intelligent look at their Army, they observe an entity where they consider they can be instrumental in and perform exceptionally at. For the Army of the future to persist as great as the Army of this day, we must rise continuing to challenge ourselves to attract the finest. Emphasizing the best of each other as part of a solid, distinct, and productive team. Furthermore, looking forward to becoming a more adaptable, and effective force in completing our missions and embracing our responsibilities to the American people.
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