ARLINGTON, Va. – The Department of the Air Force, in support of both the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force, stood up the Office of Diversity and Inclusion Jan. 11.
In June, former Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett stood up a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, which has evolved into this new office. The organization will work directly for the secretary of the Air Force and continue to address the strategic impact of diversity, inclusion and equity on Airmen, Guardians and their families.
Tawanda Rooney, a career member of the Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service, is the acting senior advisor on Diversity and Inclusion. Prior to this position, Rooney served as deputy director, Concepts Development and Management Office, Secretary of the Air Force.
“The Department of the Air Force is committed to enabling all Airmen and Guardians to thrive in a diverse and highly inclusive environment,” Rooney said. “Our office will lead this charge and continue all the good work the Task Force initiated. Diversity and inclusion are warfighting imperatives and we need to capitalize on all available talent by enabling a culture of inclusion where every member is respected and valued for his or her identity, culture and background.
The ODI was established based on the recommendations of both the Office of Secretary of Defense and Air Force Inspector General independent review of racial disparity, ordered by the secretary of the Air Force and the Air and Space Forces service chiefs, released Dec. 21.
The inspector general’s review focused specifically on assessing racial disparity in military discipline processes, personnel development, and career opportunities as they pertain to Black/African American Airmen and Guardians. The new office is charged with identifying and changing policies and procedures, removing barriers and other practices that may have an unfair effect upon underrepresented Airmen and Guardians.
The office is a cross-functional team of military and civilian Air and Space professionals that represents communities across both services and applies subject matter expertise to the changes being considered. Members represent different ranks and perspectives, both minority and majority groups, whose sole focus is to make changes that create an equitable environment for all Department of the Air Force personnel.
The task force and Office of Diversity and Inclusion has made strides in the past months, including efforts such as an emblems and mottos review and tracking administrative discipline data.
For more information on diversity and inclusion efforts across the DAF, please visit www.af.mil/diversity.