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Pentagon’s ‘Strategic Management Plan’ Devotes Roughly One Out Of Every Six Pages To Diversity, Climate Change

  • The Pentagon’s Strategic Management Plan for 2022 to 2026 prioritizes climate and diversity, equity and inclusion in short-term goals to supplement broader strategic objectives.
  • One of the three goals focuses entirely on managing anticipated impacts of climate change.
  • A second falls almost entirely under a broader Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility strategy to help DOD “eliminate perceived barriers for advancement,” “build a climate of dignity and respect” and prevent extremist behavior.

Nearly one of every six pages of a document detailing the Pentagon’s management strategy are devoted to combating climate change and fulfilling Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives.

The Strategic Management Plan for 2022 to 2026, released Tuesday, covers 124 pages and underscores the actions the Department of Defense (DOD) is taking to fulfill the Biden administration’s broader national defense strategy. It lays out high-level, long term goals and steps the department will take to accomplish those objectives and overcome anticipated challenges, as well as performance metrics for so-called Agency Priority Goals (APGs) that include climate and diversity targets.

“Challenges in building a diverse workforce must be holistically addressed through strategic, systemic intervention and must support the DoD mission; global talent must be matched to global security challenges,” the document says.

The APGs “are intended to highlight priority policy and management areas where agency leaders want to achieve near-term performance advancement through focused senior leadership attention,” the document states.

Of the three short term goals outlined in the document, aimed for completion between 2022 and 2023, one zeroes in entirely on managing anticipated impacts of climate change and consumes about eight pages in the document.

DOD plans to increase the number and resiliency of energy sources to withstand extreme weather conditions associated with climate change, including building solar-power microgrids and adding military installations to a DOD Climate Assessment Tool to “support climate-informed decision making,” with a goal of 100% use by 2024, the document states.

In a separate section, the Navy touted the release of its climate action plan for the decade, creation of a Climate Change Working Group and completion of a first-of-its-kind climate change tabletop exercises to better prepare for fighting in extreme environments. The Air Force also highlighted its first ever climate strategy, published in October.

The second goal, focused on assembling a ready and skilled workforce, falls almost entirely under a broader Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) strategy for 2022 and 2023 to help DOD “eliminate perceived barriers for advancement,” “build a climate of dignity and respect” and prevent extremist behavior.

To support DEI in the workplace, the Pentagon seeks to increase the representation of minority groups in underrepresented career fields and senior-level positions within the military, according to the strategy. In 2023, 46.4% of new hires fell into racial and ethnic minority categories compared to 44.2% the year prior, and the Pentagon hopes to keep that number nudging upward.

In research and development, the Pentagon wants to strengthen cooperation with universities and colleges that focus on minority recruitment.

While the Pentagon plans to measure how DEI principles are adhered to across the agency, it has not set any targets for the upcoming years.

The Navy, Air Force and Intelligence and Security office each devoted portions of their performance report to highlighting DEI programs implemented over the past year, such as an Air Force inclusivity training that aims to help airmen understand one another’s “lived experiences” and “serve as their authentic selves.”

Every line of effort helps the Pentagon conduct operations “from humanitarian assistance to nuclear deterrence and everything in between,” the document states.

The White House requires the Pentagon, along with all federal agencies, to submit a Strategic Management Plan alongside the president’s annual budget request to Congress.

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