By J.D. LeipoldDecember 3, 2007
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Nov. 30, 2007) - Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. has announced the creation of a Diversity Task Force, headed by a general officer, to review the Army's diversity policies, practices and progress.
Gen. Casey appointed Brig. Gen. Belinda Pinckney, commander of the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command to head up the task force. He made the announcement at the Army's first senior leadership diversity breakfast Thursday morning.
"The purpose of the task force is to increase awareness and to inform ourselves about how we need to adapt what we're doing so we can sustain awareness and focus on diversity," Gen. Casey said.
The chief of staff recalled from his time in Iraq how he was often asked by Iraqi leaders, 'how do you have a squad like that... with people from all races and genders operating so well together''
"I will tell you that I firmly believe the strength of our Army comes from our diversity," Gen. Casey said, adding that the example of the U.S. Army has helped the Iraqi army bring together Sunni and Shiite Moslems to work with Kurds and other nationalities as a team.
The example of how U.S. Soldiers of different nationalities work together "has really helped the Iraqi Army retain it's role as the only non-sectarian organization in that whole country," Gen. Casey said, "so if you're looking for the impact of the strength, the diversity of an organization, look no further than that."
Gen. Casey said that being at war for six years has kept the Army busy and focused on operations, but he feels that diversity should always be a priority.
"I started getting a sense, that because of everything going on, because of the war, because of how stretched we were, that it caused a perception that we were done, that we had licked this already, that people weren't paying (diversity) the attention that is due. So we need to do something to energize folks and change the focus of folks on diversity."
Brig. Gen. Pinckney will work with G1 and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs to conduct the diversity review, Gen. Casey said. He added, though, that her findings will be reported directly to him and Secretary of the Army Pete Geren.
Following his task force announcement at the breakfast, Gen. Casey introduced guest speaker Frances Hesselbein, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, chairman of the board of governors of the Leader to Leader Institute and noted author on diversity. She discussed the need for more diversity in a number of areas across America.