ADELPHI, Md. – The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, also known as DEVCOM, Army Research Laboratory announced June 4 its intention to fill a newly-created role to foster diversity, equity and inclusion among its diverse workforce and collaborators.
The new diversity, equity and inclusion officer to the laboratory director will be responsible for developing, refining and implementing the laboratory’s strategic vision for diversity and inclusion. The DEI officer will serve as advisor, advocate, catalyst for change and institutional resource focused on infusing DEI into all programs and activities, tracking progress toward these goals, and communicating progress to stakeholders and the broader community.
This announcement follows recommendations from a 30-day internal task force stood up last August by laboratory Director Dr. Patrick J. Baker. The task force, comprised of 29 federal civilian and Soldiers, focused on the organizational culture and recommended a list of measurable adjustments to increase diversity, improve a sense of belonging among teammates and increase opportunities for each teammate to achieve their potential.
In a December internal memo, Baker told the nearly 3,000-person laboratory workforce about his plans to “stay personally committed to and invested in DEI, managing to yield results and leading to set conditions for enduring positive outcomes.”
As part of that commitment, he is establishing the DEI Employee Advisory Group to be an interface between the entire workforce, his office and the board of directors on matters of DEI. He is also establishing an ombudsman/officer for DEI, who will chair the DEI EAG. The ombudsman will also support the DEI officer in the tactical implementation of DEI initiatives and will play the role of liaison between the workforce and the director, as needed.
Baker said he’s also committed to taking steps to build a more diverse talent pool through the laboratory’s extramural foundational research program, portfolio of outreach efforts and talent acquisition mechanisms.
“The U.S. Army is in an era of great-power competition,” Baker said. “For our part at ARL, we must ensure we win the great-power competition to operationalize science in the 21st century.”
Operationalizing science must lead to results with and through the laboratory’s partners and yield transformational overmatch for the Army, he said.
“Success and excellence for our foundational research ecosystem in this century will depend on our ability to harness the full power of a diverse team, aligned with common purpose, while working autonomously to create transformative ideas generated from many different perspectives and experiences, and ultimately being accountable to our Soldiers and to each other,” ”Baker wrote in his December memo to the workforce.
According to the job announcement, the incumbent will be responsible for the overall management and implementation of DEI strategy and will work closely with the organization's senior leaders to carry out key initiatives that support DEI in the context of operationalizing science and all laboratory research, business, and leadership talent domains.
The status of this position is considered time limited and can be renewed as needed to support the mission, indefinitely, in increments of up to six years. At the discretion of management, this position may also be made permanent. The role requires travel.
“This position enhances ARL’s critical role in persistently modernizing military operations through science,” said Dr. Jaret C. Riddick, director of strategic initiatives, who is leading the establishment of the laboratory’s DEI efforts on the behalf of the director. “Foundational research is advanced through pursuing key questions. By leveraging diversity, ARL recognizes that expertise in formulating those key questions is formed from individual experiences and values. The laboratory gains from diverse perspectives, which can lead to new insights, new understanding and ultimately new knowledge to benefit the future warfighter.”
As the Army’s national research laboratory, ARL is operationalizing science to achieve transformational overmatch. Through collaboration across the command’s core technical competencies, DEVCOM leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more successful at winning the nation’s wars and come home safely. DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory is an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command. DEVCOM is a major subordinate command of the Army Futures Command.