An Audit of the Diversity of the United States Air Force
University of Houston – Victoria School of Business Administration MKT 6353 – MANAGEMENT OF DIVERSITY IN ORGANIZATIONS An Audit of the Diversity of the United States Air Force Submitted By: July 18, 2010 TABLE OF CONTENTS Executive Summary…………………………………………………………………………. 3 Air Force Organizational Background…………………………………………………. ……4 Group’s Criteria for a Diverse Organization…………………………………………………5 Description of Interviews and Visits…………………………………………………………7 Evaluation of the Air Force in Terms of Diversity………………………………………….. 0 Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………………11 Bibliography………………………………………………………………………………….. 13 APPENDECIES EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Through conducting a diversity audit on the United States Air Force using quantitative and qualitative information, we have observed that this division of the U. S. military has come a long way in the past two decades to make diversity one of the foundations to build and foster an environment where every individual is valued and respected. The company background shows that the USAF has hundreds of thousands of active duty personnel and civilian personnel working at any given time.
Our criteria for a diverse organization includes pay equity and employment equity irrespective of caste, race, religion, sex, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, or age. The USAF should create a work environment in which all military and civilian personnel interact with fairness, integrity, and respect. The interviews conducted on Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX show that the Air Force’s espoused and operational values are in line with one another. The Air Force is in the phase III, making change an veryday activity, of the inclusion breakthrough. Our audit has proven that this organization has embraced diversity from a top down commitment to create an environment where differences between people are used to achieve mission excellence and sustain dominance in air, space, and cyberspace. AIR FORCE ORGANIZATIONAL BACKGROUND The mission of the United States Air Force is to fly, fight and win … in air, space and cyberspace. To achieve that mission, the Air Force has a vision of Global Vigilance, Reach and Power.
That vision orbits around three core competencies: developing Airmen, technology to war fighting and integrating operations (United States Air Force, 2010). The United States Air Force is a division of the U. S. military, with primary responsibility for air defense, warfare and military space research. It also provides air services in coordination with the Army, Navy and Marines. The core values of the Air Force include Integrity First, Service before Self and Excellence in All We Do. U. S. military activities in the air began with army use of balloons for reconnaissance during the Civil War and the Spanish-American War.
In 1907 the Aeronautical Division of the Signal Corps was created. In 1920 the Army Reorganization Act created the Air Service (after 1926, Air Corps) as a unit of the Army and in 1941 it became the Army Air Forces. In 1947 the independent U. S. Air Force was created and became part of the newly created Department of Defense headquartered at the Pentagon (Lambeth 2000). Separate operating agencies of the Air Force include the Air Force Reserve, the Air Force Intelligence Service, and the U. S. Air Force Academy (Melinger 1997).
The Department of the Air Force organizational hierarchy is headed by the Secretary of the Air Force, who is supported by a staff called the Secretariat. The Chief of Staff, USAF, heads the Air Staff, and the military heads of the major commands report to the Chief of Staff. Most units of the Air Force are assigned to one of the major commands. Major commands are headed by general officers and have broad functional responsibilities. Commands may be divided into numbered air forces. The fundamental unit of the working Air Force is the wing.
The typical Air Force base is built around a wing. Some wings are commanded by a general officer, while others are headed by a colonel. An objective wing contains an operations group, which includes aircrews, intelligence units, and others; a maintenance group, which includes maintenance squadrons; a mission support group, which includes such functions as civil engineers, logistics readiness, and security forces; and a medical group. Most individual officers and airmen are assigned to a squadron, which may be composed of several flights (Futrell 1989).
According to the 2009 Air Force Almanac, [update] the USAF operates 5,573 manned aircraft in service (3,990 USAF; 1,213 Air National Guard; and 370 Air Force Reserve); approximately 180 unmanned combat air vehicles, 2,130 air-launched cruise missiles, and 450 intercontinental ballistic missiles. The USAF has 330,159 personnel on active duty, 68,872 in the Selected and Individual Ready Reserves, and 94,753 in the Air National Guard as of September 2008. In addition, the USAF employs 151,360 civilian personnel, and has 57,000 auxiliary members in the Civil Air Patrol (Air Force Magazine, 2009).
Of the eleven Generals and thirty-five Lieutenant Generals of which Lieutenant General Janet C. Wolfenbarger is the highest ranking female officer in the Air Force. GROUP’S CRITERIA FOR A DIVERSE ORGANIZATION When it comes to diversity management there should be system of evaluation in place to measure the effectiveness of the organization’s efforts. Complete racial integration at all levels is a military necessity as a prerequisite for a cohesive and effective fighting force . Certain criteria needs to be established to find that there are some objective, some subjective and some grey areas in managing diversity at Department of defense.
The defense of the nation (DoD) must ensure the attractiveness of a DoD career, providing opportunities for all DoD personnel to rise to as high a level of responsibility as their abilities allow. DoD should provide equal access to employment and promotion opportunities through policies and programs that commit it to the concept of equal pay for equal work (pay equity) and fairness in hiring and promotion (employment equity). Minority accession in the DoD is the leading part to managing diversity, Air Force should ensure that minorities are given equal opportunities through AF Reserve Officer Training Program (ROTC).
Various programs and policies established in managing and providing equal opportunities to minority. DoD actively looks into issues of equal opportunities related to minority officers recruitment, training, performance and retention program. The programs or activities conducted or that receives financial assistance from, the department of defense should provides equal opportunity irrespective of the caste, race, religion, sex, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, marital status or age.
DoD should create work environment in which all military and civilian personnel interact with fairness, integrity and respect, and in which they operate to their full potential while accomplishing the DoD goals. Cultural analysis will help to clarify the intricacies of the DoD culture and provide cultural aware training and appropriate assistance to enhance organization capabilities. DoD should offer clear and documented guidelines for employee development and advancement within the DoD. The incentives are explicit and non-discriminatory.
DoD should support the professional and personnel development through training, mentoring and development approaches. Equal Opportunity to became an Air Force member and subject to legal, fiscal, and numerical constraints, irrespective of race ,color ,national origin, or religion. Programs established by DoD for pregnant female soldiers such as maternity leave and replacement for soldier during the time soldier is non-deployable for pregnancy without affecting Army’s readiness. Measures taken by DoD to encourage female representative to take more role and greater responsibilities.
Equal opportunity for minority officer accession and the policies that will strength equality at all level in Air Force An organization should have a process through which an individuals or groups can file complain against unlawful discrimination based on race, religion, caste, sex or national origin in a federally assisted or federally conducted program and these complains are taken seriously and acted upon necessary. DESCRIPTION OF INTERVIEWS AND VISITS In conducting our audit pertaining to the diversity of the United States Air Force, we visited and conducted three interviews aboard Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX.
The interview included both active duty enlisted members and Civilian Employees. Individuals selected for the interviews were from various personal backgrounds, to include race, gender, and age. Questions about sexual orientation are currently prohibited in the organization. The individuals selected also performed various job functions within the organization, and were at varying levels of the organizational rank structure. They were all asked similar questions. The first interview conducted involved an African American female in her early 50’s names Jerrica. In many organizations, she would be the equivalent of a supply clerk.
The official Air Force job title is Logistics Officer. Her duties include formulating and executing budgets at the immediate functional level, ordering and tracking inventory, and issuing job related equipment and supplies. It was observed that Jerrica worked alone out of her office for the most part. Asked about her thoughts on management’s support for diversity, she felt that management did not truly push for diversity outside of what was mandated by the Air Force. When pressed further, she said that she did not feel that there were any discriminatory practices within the organization.
She has worked for the Air Force for over 30 years, and feels that the organization has come a long way with respects to promoting women and African Americans. Jerrica stated that she received required annual diversity training as mandated by the Air Force. This training is mainly geared towards tolerance and sensitivity. The second interview conducted involved a White male in his early 30’s named Paul. Paul serves as a firefighter assigned to the Lackland AFB Fire Department. Since the base is considered federal property, it maintains its own Fire and Police Departments, as well as Emergency Medical Services.
The entire department consists of about 100 total employees, to include line and staff personnel. The ages ranged from late 20’s to early 60’s, with the youngest firefighter being 27 and the Fire Chief being 64. Paul’s official job title is Lead Fire Fighter, which would be the equivalent of a Captain in a metropolitan department such as Houston Fire Department. It was revealed that the entire department consisted of all male employees. When questioned about this, Paul revealed that there was no policy he was aware of stating that females had to be or couldn’t be hired.
The Air Force set forth minimum physical occupational requirements for this position, and many females are unable to achieve the standards. He did admit however, that there are several female firefighters employed by the Air Force at other bases. Asked about racial tolerance within the department, Paul stated that everyone got along just fine. With rotating 24 hour shifts, the firefighters spend almost as much time with each other as they do with their own families. Therefore, it would be kind of hard not to get along on some level. It was observed that during meal times, many of the firefighters intermingled within various races.
Out of 4 tables observed in the fire station’s dining area, none of the tables were seated strictly along racial lines. The firefighters then participated in a basketball game as they were quietly observed. All ages and ethnicities were represented. Paul stated that many firefighters made jokes about both ethnic and age related stereotypes, but the jokes were in fun and always remained sensitive to boundaries of offensiveness. The third and final interview conducted involved a Hispanic male in his early 20’s names Victor. Victor is enlisted in the Air Force, with a rank of E-5 or Staff Sergeant.
He is currently assigned as a Technical Instructor, which is the Air Force’s equivalent of a Drill Sergeant. His primary duties include training Air Force recruits in military doctrine such as marching, customs and courtesies, rank structure, organizational history, and policies and procedures. Victor testified to the amount of diversity he sees entering the Air Force. The Post 9/11 Air Force is even more diverse now than it was when he entered in 2004. Not only are there older men and women enlisting, there are people enlisting from all regions of the country.
Many have varying educational backgrounds and different social backgrounds. Victor stated that one of the first classes attended by the recruits is based on diversity and tolerance with regards to race, gender, age, and religion. Religion wasn’t an aspect of diversity even considered for the audit until it was mentioned by Victor. He stated that all recruits are encouraged to worship as they see fit, with several religious services held on Sundays for all denominations. The base has a 1,200 seat religious center, and a one hour service per religious denomination.
Most recruits participate in the Christian service, but many take advantage of others. The Air Force also purchases and issues religious literature and materials upon request of the recruits. The base has 4 other places of worship open to other military and civilian employees. These centers also offer varying religious services. These interviews were conducted aboard Lackland Air Force Base over a two day period. In applying Schein’s Levels of Organizational Culture (Harvey, pp 331), it was observed that the Air Force’s espoused and operational values are in line with one another.
This can be attributed to the Air Force’s strict zero tolerance policy pertaining to racial and gender insensitivity or discrimination. As military recruits and civilians enter the organization, they are indoctrinated in the Air Force’s stance on diversity, and this indoctrination in reinforced through annually required training. EVALUATION OF THE AIR FORCE IN TERMS OF DIVERSITY The Air Force has committed for more than two decades to make diversity one the foundations to build and foster an environment where every individual’s contribution is valued and respected.
Diversity in the Air Force is defined as “a composite of individual characteristics, experiences, and abilities consistent wit the Air Force Core Values and the Air Force Mission”. The Air Force has a broad diversity view that includes, but is not limited to, “personal life experiences, geographic background, socioeconomic background, cultural knowledge, educational background, work background, language abilities, physical abilities, philosophical/spiritual perspectives, age, race, ethnicity and gender”.
According to Thomas and Ely (Harvey, 2008 pp260) the diversity management program in the Air Force is in the stage of learning and effective paradigm, where the organization has come along way for internalizing diversity as part of its mission which is consistent with its core values, connected to the need of its diverse people and makes each individual in the total Air Force feel valued, respected and included.
The Air Force has thus realized that diversity is a mission-oriented effort needed in its organizational structure to better accomplish a variety of traditional and nontraditional missions globally. The organization has embraced diversity from a top-down commitment by creating an environment where differences between people are used to generate creative innovations solutions to the problems and are widely recognized. For example, on March 2007 President Bush and congress honored the Tuskegee Airmen in Washington, DC with the congressional Gold Medal.
As Wynne, secretary of the Air Force, mentioned on his letter to Airmen in 2007 “ They were recognized for their performance in world War II both in the Air, with exemplary flying skill, and on the ground by breaking down stereotypes and paving the way for social equality”. Air Force Staff Lealofi Lealofi, an American Samoan, was also highlighted in the first-ever CSAF Portraits in Courage for taking great personal risk to save the lives of 50 Iraqi civilians while deployed to Baghdad as a Security Force member. As a result, the transformation of the Air Force culture is in the phase III Making change and everyday activity- of the inclusion breakthrough (Harvey, 2008 pp 269) since the extent of the diversity approach embraces every aspect of the organization by (i) attracting, developing and retaining diverse airmen, (ii) creating the conditions required to obtain high standards of individuals and organizational performance from all members at every level of the organization and (iii) developing leaders with the management acumen, cultural sophistication, international expertise and language skills to successfully lead a diverse, globally engaged force.
As part of the overall efforts to achieve diversity within the Air Force, the organization comprehensive plan includes periodic, mandatory education and training in diversity at initial entry training and throughout professional education systems. To ensure diversity considerations are integrated consistently into the Air Force policies and programs, the Division of Diversity Management and Equity Research conducts basic and applied diversity research, develops, validates and assesses diversity training, provides measurement, analytical capability, and online knowledge management tools for diversity.
Diversity steering groups are also created to recruit, hire, maintain the best and brightest airmen regardless their background or gender in order to achieve mission excellence and sustain dominance in air, space and cyberspace. CONCLUSION Through the primary and secondary research conducted we feel the Air Force deserves an A- for this organization’s diversity and inclusion efforts. The USAF has met all of the group’s criteria for a diverse organization.
The interviews consisting of both civilian and active duty personnel, has proven the organization has internalized diversity as part of its mission. All of the research supports that the Air Force: attracts, develops and retains diverse airmen; creates conditions required to obtained high standards of individuals and organizational performance from all members at every level; and develops leaders to successfully lead a diverse globally engaged force. The Air Force has a Division of Diversity Management and Equity Research, to achieve and maintain diversity.
They also have a strict zero tolerance policy pertaining to racial and gender insensitivity or discrimination and as military recruits and civilians enter the organization, they are indoctrinated in the Air Force’s stance on diversity and this is reinforced through annually required training. There is more that can always be done in any organization, but we feel the Air Force has done a great deal to realize that diversity is a mission-oriented effort needed in its organizational structure to better accomplish a variety of traditional and nontraditional missions globally and therefore deserve an A-.
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