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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 450-95
August 17, 1995

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE AFFIRMS HIS SUPPORT FOR EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

Secretary of Defense William J. Perry reaffirmed his strong support forDefense Department equal opportunity programs during a luncheon meeting withnational civil rights leaders at the Pentagon yesterday.

The Defense Secretary repeated his belief that equal opportunity is a"military and economic necessity" for the Department of Defense. The Secretaryinitiated the gathering to follow up on President Clinton's recent announcementon federal affirmative action policy, in which the President praised themilitary's successful equal opportunity program.

Secretary Perry discussed the Department's historic progress on equalopportunity, as well as its future challenges. He said that despite theenormous downsizing of the Department's workforce, diversity among militarymembers and civilian employees has actually increased since the end of the ColdWar. The Secretary noted that as the military has become more diverse throughstrong equal opportunity programs, the quality of our service members hasincreased, a result that supports President Clinton's assertion that"affirmative action has been good for America."

Secretary Perry has pursued an aggressive equal opportunity program since hisappointment as Secretary of Defense. On March 3, 1994, he issued a memorandum(attached) which instructed the Department take five concrete actions toimprove equal opportunity in the Department of Defense. "The Secretary isfirmly committed to continuing programs which have made the military the mostsuccessfully integrated institution in America," said Edwin Dorn,Undersecretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness).

The following people attended the luncheon:

William J. Perry, Secretary of Defense

Edwin Dorn, Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel & Readiness)

Frederick Pang, Assistant Secretary of Defense (Force Management Policy)

William E. Leftwich, III, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (EqualOpportunity)

Maj. Gen. Paul Kern, USA, Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense

Jake I. Alarid, National Commander, American GI Forum

Betty Parsons Dooley, President, Women's Research & Education Institute

Oscar Eason, Jr., National President, Blacks in Government

Lennox E. Gilmer, Associate National Employment Director, Disabled American Veterans

Fredric H. Leigh, (Maj. Gen., USA, Ret.), Executive Vice President, JointCenter for Political and Economic Studies

Carmen T. Lepe, Civil Rights Policy Associate, National Council of La Raza

Dr. Michael C. Lin, National President 1995 and 1996, Organization of Chinese Americans

Leigh-Ann K. Miyasato, Acting Washington, D.C. Representative for JapaneseAmerican Citizens League

Karen K. Narasaki, Executive Director, National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium

Sam O'Dennis, Public Relations Officer, Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.

Belen B. Robles, National President, League of United Latin AmericanCitizens

Earl T. Shinhoster, Executive Director, National Association for theAdvancement of Colored People

Fern Spivy, Executive Officer, Martin Luther King Federal Holiday Commission

Janie B. Taylor, National President, Federally Employed Women, Inc.

Jennie Torres, Director of Policy Research and Development, National PuertoRican Coalition

Dr. C. DeLores Tucker, Chair/Founder of the National Political Congress ofBlack Women

MEMORANDUM FOR SECRETARIES OF THE MILITARY DEPARTMENTS

CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF

UNDER SECRETARIES OF DEFENSE

COMPTROLLER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

DIRECTOR, DEFENSE RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING

ASSISTANT SECRETARIES OF DEFENSE

GENERAL COUNSEL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

INSPECTOR GENERAL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

DIRECTOR, OPERATIONAL TEST AND EVALUATION

ASSISTANTS TO THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

DIRECTOR OF ADMINISTRATION AND MANAGEMENT

DIRECTORS OF THE DEFENSE AGENCIES

SUBJECT: Equal Opportunity (EO)

Our nation's security and prosperity depend on our ability to develop andemploy the talents of our diverse population. Equal opportunity is not justthe right thing to do, it is also a military and an economic necessity. Mostimportantly, all employees of this Department have a right to carry out theirjobs without discrimination or harassment. As the Secretary, I have afundamental responsibility to ensure all of our employees enjoy this basicright. Therefore, I will not tolerate discrimination or harassment of or byany Department of Defense employee.

The Military Services have led our nation in expanding opportunities forminority groups. The Services also have made great strides towards integratingwomen into the force; and the Department has done well in employing personswith disabilities. However, I believe we can and should do better on allfronts. This memorandum describes, in general terms, the measures taken, orthat need to be taken, in order to build on our successes.

First, I have established an office of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defensefor Equal Opportunity as a focal point for military and civilian EO programs.

Second, I have decided to restructure the Department's Defense EqualOpportunity Council (DEOC) to emphasize management accountability. The DEOCwill be chaired by the Deputy Secretary of Defense; its membership will includethe Service Secretaries, the Under Secretaries of Defense, the Director,Administration and Management/Washington Headquarters Service, and othermembers of OSD's senior management team. The USD(P&R) will provide theexecutive secretary for the group and will oversee Department-wideinitiatives.

Third, I have asked the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness)to lead a major study of the Officer "pipeline," and, where necessary, torecommend ways to improve the flow of minority and female officers fromrecruitment through general and flag officer ranks.

Fourth, I am asking your support for a vigorous, sustained effort to improvethe representation of women, minorities, and people with disabilities amongthis Department's civilian managers. This should include greater use of careerdevelopment programs and broader, more intensive recruitment.

Fifth, I want all the Department's personnel to receive equal opportunitytraining. It is especially important for leaders to understand theirresponsibilities. Therefore, I have asked the Defense Equal OpportunityManagement Institute to develop special seminars and briefings for seniorcivilian and military leaders, including a mandatory two-day program for allnew 0-7s and all new members of the Senior Executive Service.

More information about these measures will be forthcoming. I request yourunwavering support for these efforts.

//signed by William J. Perry//