"Bias & prejudice have no place in our military, or in our country. Prejudices – whether visible or invisible, conscious or unconscious—remain a burden to many. They hold back the diversity of the force, representation in our officer ranks, and experiences of our minority members.

The U.S. military is the greatest military force in history, not just because of tactics and technology, but because our all-volunteer patriots who believe in, and pledge their lives to defend, the values that make us Americans.

What defines us as Americans? Not our race or religion. Our values and beliefs that bind us as a people; chief among them: we are all created equal. Every member of the Department of Defense pledges to defend those values with our lives.

Today I'm creating a new, internal “Defense Board on Diversity & Inclusion in the Military,” which will conduct a 6-month sprint to develop concrete, actionable recommendations to increase racial diversity & ensure equal opportunity across all ranks & in the officer corps.

By year’s end, we'll have a permanent “Defense Advisory Committee on Diversity & Inclusion in the Armed Services” that will mirror the successful Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services. Both boards will have the resources to chart their own course.

Finally, I have directed the civilian and uniformed leadership of the Pentagon to bring me ideas in the next two weeks – by the end of June – that we can begin implementing NOW.

The United States military has long embraced diversity and inclusion as a strength. We must lead again. In that spirit, I invite all of you to share with me your good ideas. I want to hear from you."

-Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper

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