by Army National Guard Sgt. Darron Salzer
National Guard Bureau
6/28/2012 - ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Office of Diversity and Special Emphasis Programs is gearing up to host its semi-annual National Guard Bureau Virtual Diversity Update, viewable online beginning July 24.
This semi-annual update features a roundtable discussion with Air Force Gen. Craig McKinley, the chief of the National Guard Bureau; retired Air Force Gen. Lester Lyles, the chairman of the Military Leadership Diversity Council; the directors of the Army National Guard and Air National Guard; other key National Guard leaders; and members of the National Guard Bureau Joint Diversity Executive Council.
There will also be training for Joint State Diversity Councils and best practices from the field will be shared, officials said.
"Diversity must be recognized as an enhancement of the character of our organization," McKinley said. "As the chief of the National Guard Bureau, it is my role to work with the adjutants general to ensure that the National Guard remains a mission-ready force.
"Effective diversity management," the general added, "is essential to military readiness and mission accomplishment."
Army Lt. Gen. William E. Ingram Jr., the director of the Army National Guard, added that the key is at the leadership level.
"Growing leaders should be done regardless of race or sex or anything else," Ingram said. "If we are doing that across the board and mentoring our subordinates to understand that as well, then it permeates the organization. That's the way we have to do business."
McKinley said the National Guard has already taken steps to improve diversity within the organization with the establishment of the NGB Joint Diversity Executive Council.
"The goal of this council is to identify and adopt the best practices for recruiting, retaining and developing a very diverse workforce," he said. "We need to sustain a climate of equality in the National Guard."
Some of the accomplishments of the council thus far include: a comprehensive diversity policy; a leaders' guide on diversity; resources for state-level Joint State Diversity Councils; and NGB-led training and mentoring.
"We as an organization have made significant progress, but much more is needed," McKinley said. "Through 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."