The Air Force is developing a system that tracks progress toward its diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility goals, according to documents recently obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The “DEIA Progress Dashboard” will allow the Air Force to monitor the percentage of racial minorities and female service members, according to records obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request. The dashboard will track the “progress towards addressing racial, ethnic, and gender disparities” by providing a “score card” highlighting disparity gaps.
“The dashboard should be used … as a tool to drive meaningful discussion, reflection, and initiative generation centered around ground-truth facts,” a February background paper stated, according to the DCNF.
The Air Force aims to use the tool to increase “transparency and accountability.”
The dashboard displays year-over-year diversity progress broken down by entrances, promotions, retention, career types, race, ethnicity, gender, and other elements, the outlet reported.
It “is a living product that will be continually enhanced with additional data sources as they become available to ensure that [the Air Force] has the most comprehensive view into quantifiable disparities possible,” according to documents obtained by the DCNF.
Following the release of two Racial Disparity Review reports in 2020 and 2021, the Air Force implemented several corrective changes to improve the branch’s diversity, including developing the dashboard tracking tool.
“The first Independent Racial Disparity Review, released in December 2020, identified and validated 16 specific disparities for Black/African American Airmen and Guardians. Since that time, stakeholders have been conducting root-cause analysis and have begun implementing corrective measures,” the Air Force stated in a September 2021 press release.
The second report identified gender and ethnicity disparities.
“These reviews are important to help us identify and address racial, gender and ethnic disparity issues that negatively affect our Airmen and Guardians,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. “We must continue to listen to our people, understand what they are experiencing, and receive their feedback as we take steps to improve.”
Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond called diversity and inclusion “fundamental to readiness and mission success.”
“We all come from different backgrounds, different cultures, and subscribe to a variety of different beliefs. It is these differences that make us a highly effective force. They underwrite our ability to be agile and innovative, to compete, deter and win. Inclusion is the action that draws the best from every one of our members, providing advantage for our nation as one, ready and successful team,” Raymond stated.
The Air Force also recently developed a second system, the Secretary of the Air Force Office of Diversity and Inclusion Demographics Dashboard, which provides “highly customizable queries of the intersectionality between race, ethnicity, and sex,” records revealed.
According to documents obtained by the DCNF, the dashboard is for internal use only. However, the diversity office aims to make it available for all DEIA professionals in the Air Force.
The Air Force hopes to integrate machine learning technology to improve its capabilities, including identifying root causes of disparities, forecasting future trends, and providing solutions.
Air Force spokesperson Laurel Falls told the DCNF that the DEIA dashboard is an extension of the Workforce Analytics Dashboard, which was rolled out last year.
“This tool provides rapid information to answer queries from all levels across the DAF and empowers leaders to access baseline information regarding diversity,” Falls explained.
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