Understanding One Another Crucial During Terror War
By Staff Sgt. Stephen Hudson, USAF
Special to American Forces Press Service
MIAMI, May 24, 2005 During dangerous situations, people's understanding of each other is more crucial than ever, a senior Defense Department official said here May 24.
Speaking to the nearly 400 attendees gathered for the four-day National Guard Bureau Equal Opportunity workshop, John Molino, acting deputy undersecretary of defense for equal opportunity, said the issues faced daily by people working in equal opportunity will test the military in years to come.
Citing alarming trends, Molino said fewer Hispanics are finishing high school today and that is a challenge to a military that recruits predominantly high school graduates. He also said fewer African-American males are going to college, which could impact the diversity of the military's senior leaders in decades to come.
"Is there a more important time to be in this business?" Molino asked the crowd of Army and Air National Guard members from each of the 54 states and territories.
Molino also said the role of EO has to adapt with the changing roles of women, not only in combat, but also in combat zones.
The annual conference, hosted by a different state each year, has become a way for the National Guard Bureau to get feedback from guardsmen in the states and pass information back to Washington.
"This is where we get program information and (learn) if there are any changes occurring," said Capt. Andrea Walthour, of the Georgia Air National Guard's 165th Airlift Wing in Savannah.
Walthour, who has been in military equal opportunity since 1997, said she has enjoyed the conference and especially the "training sessions to update us on procedures."
The four-day event will include several general sessions and classes throughout days, including subjects such as "EO goes to war," "affirmative employment," and "the perspective on EO and diversity."
(Air Force Staff Sgt. Stephen Hudson is assigned to Florida National Guard Public Affairs.)