Strategic Implications of Diversity Leadership in the Department of Defense

  • Ms. Rebecca R. VanNess

Today there exists numerous perspectives on what diversity is, as well as conflicting information about its potential advantages and disadvantages in both the private and public sector workforce. Research on this topic is complex, highlighting the need to refocus on this critical issue in order to see diversity through a much broader aperture and recognize diversity leadership as a key competency for leaders facing unique Twenty-First Century global challenges. This thesis adds to the growing body of knowledge on diversity leadership by examining current scholarship and understanding of diversity, offering arguments to support embracing new beliefs and attitudes about diversity, and providing a recommended framework for diversity education for Department of Defense senior leaders operating at the strategic level. The proposed framework is aligned with the Department of Defense Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan 2012-2017, and focuses on the key leadership competencies of Cultural Intelligence, Communication, and Building Cohesive Teams.