Army Equal Opportunity and Prevention of Sexual Harassment Programs
What is it?
The Army’s Military Equal Opportunity (EO) and Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) programs formulate, direct, and sustain a comprehensive effort to maximize human potential and ensure fair treatment for all persons based solely on merit, fitness, and capability. These programs strive to eliminate incidents of discrimination based on race, color, gender, religion, or national origin to provide an environment free of unlawful discrimination, offensive behavior, or sexual harassment. Commanders at all levels are responsible for sustaining a positive equal-opportunity climate within their units. The Army EO Program has two essential goals:
- Provide equal opportunity for military personnel and Family members, both on- and off-post and within the limits of the laws of localities, states, and host nations.
- Create and sustain effective units by eliminating discriminatory behaviors or practices that undermine teamwork, mutual respect, loyalty, and shared sacrifice of men and women of America's Army.
What has the Army done?
The Army continues to address EO and POSH by focusing on command climate and prevention. The Army’s EO and POSH policies are outlined in Chapters 6 and 7 and Appendixes D and E of AR 600-20, Army Command Policy; DA Pam 600-26, Department of the Army Affirmative Action Plan; and DA Pam 600-69, Unit Climate Profile Commander's Handbook. Significant components of the Army EO and POSH Programs include the following:
- Equal Opportunity Program Manager (EOPM). An EOPM is assigned at division- and higher-level agencies to assist the Commander in EO training and continuously assess the command climate to identify indicators of individual and institutional discrimination and sexual harassment.
- Equal Opportunity Advisor (EOA). An EOA is assigned to the special staff of Commanders at installations, organizations, and agencies at brigade level (or the equivalent) and higher.
- Equal Opportunity Representative (EOR). An EOR is appointed at battalion level (or the equivalent) and below to assist Commanders in carrying out the EO Program within their units.
- Command Climate Surveys. Company-level Commanders or the equivalents are required to administer a command climate survey within 90 days (active component) or 180 days (reserve component and Army National Guard) of assuming command and annually thereafter to assess the work/living environment of their commands.
- Ethnic Observances. Ethnic and other special observances are conducted to enhance cross-cultural awareness among Soldiers, civilian employees, and their Families. These observances recognize the achievements and contributions made by members of specific racial, ethnic, or gender groups in our society. The following events are currently recognized: Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday, African-American/Black History Month, Women's History Month, Days of Remembrance for Victims of the Holocaust, Asian Pacific Heritage Month, Women's Equality Day, National Hispanic Heritage Month, and National Native American Indian Heritage Month.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The Army will transform the EO and POSH program policies to infuse EO across the full spectrum of Army operations and to strategically focus the Human Relations Program within the Army. The Equal Opportunity Reporting System will be upgraded to provide automated reports, and the Army will implement the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute’s Organizational Climate Survey as the official climate survey for the Army.
Why is this important to the Army?
The significant and accelerating costs of personnel and related programs account for a significant percentage of the Department of the Army's total obligation authority. Therefore, Army human capital management needs to be proactive, agile, and cost-effective in recruiting, training, retaining, and employing our future force. The EO program is a vital part of sustaining personnel readiness by promoting an environment that supports recruitment and retention.