Navy Captain Kathlene Contres has been selected to serve as commandant of the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) replacing navy Capt. Robert Watts in March 2005. Watts will retire after 32 years of active service. Contres was selected from a field of Army, Navy and Air Force officers nominated by their respective service secretary for their proven leadership skill, business acumen, and the ability to advocate for institutional change.
Contres, the Navys highest ranking active duty hispanic female, has served in a variety of support, command, and leadership positions. Most recently, she headed the Navys diversity recruiting programs and successfully reversed a declining trend in minority officer accessions.
The Defense Department established the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, originally chartered as the Defense Race Relations Institute, in 1971, at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. in response to recommendations from an inter-service task force examining the causes of racial turmoil on military installations and aboard ships. In its early years, the institute trained military members and DoD civilians to lead mandatory seminars on race and human relations issues throughout the military departments to improve mission readiness.
Through the years, DEOMIs human relations and equal opportunity education and training programs have provided service members in leadership positions with the insight to deal constructively with unit and organizational equal opportunity and human relations issues. In January 2004, DEOMI held a grand opening ceremony for its 92,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art training center funded by Air Force, the institutes executive agent.
For additional information about the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, visit the DEOMI homepage at https://www.patrick.af.mil/deomi/deomi.htm.