SLD 45 Stands up one of the first USSF Diversity & Inclusion Offices

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Thomas Sjoberg
  • Space Launch Delta 45 Public Affairs

Space Launch Delta 45 made history October 25, 2021, as it became one of the first Deltas in the U.S. Space Force to stand up a full time position dedicated to diversity and inclusion (D&I).

Perla Brito is the first to take on the historic position as the director of D&I for SLD 45. Her mission is to provide leadership, guidance and oversight of execution on policies, new practices and initiatives regarding all things D&I.  The role also includes engagement in the community to raise awareness to people from all walks of life on the opportunities that United States Space Force offers.

“SLD 45’s priorities and values consist of investing in its people for 100% mission success,” said Brito. “We cannot fully invest in people without fostering a culture of dignity, respect and inclusion.  As a new service, we must acknowledge that an organization as a whole is only as good as its employees. Devoting a great deal of time and resources to our total force is the only way to put people first, regardless of their race, religion, gender, age, physical disability or sexual orientation to have an advantage over competitors.”

Brito said connecting in a collaborative environment has been the most inspiring and impactful opportunity she’s had so far.

“We’ve been able to bring together some inspirational leaders to talk about their careers and the challenges they’ve faced throughout the years,” said Brito. “It was encouraging to hear these types of leaders talk about how they overcame the obstacles they had to face, especially in male-dominated career fields. The panel discussion that was held in January has inspired many young Airmen and Guardians to continue to work towards achieving their goals no matter how many roadblocks they might encounter. Discussions of this nature remind us to continue our work to advance the status of women in the workplace worldwide.”

According to research, Brito said having a more diverse workforce drives successful business outcomes for any organization. 

“D&I is so important because, as the nation’s largest employer, the federal government strives to be a model organization that treats all employees with dignity and respect in the workplace,” said Brito. “Through our commitment to D&I initiatives, we can foster and create a safe, respectful, and inclusive workplace that leads to healthier environments where employees can flourish, develop their potential, and contribute to the success of their workplace and the mission.”

As a military spouse, Brito said she learned to appreciate people’s differences and connect with them in many different aspects of life.

“My job is about implementing a cultural change in the organization by propelling innovation, creativity, and teamwork forward,” said Brito. “Taking this position meant that I had the distinct honor to make an impact through creating a culture and workforce that can be their authentic selves and thrive.”

Although SLD 45 was one of the first, the Space Force has stood up four more full time D&I positions since its creation, and the plan is to have a permanent position at every installation across the service. Dr. Carrie Baker, from the DAF Office of Diversity and Inclusion, said this is all in an effort to have an effective and sustained approach in the implementation of diversity and inclusion priorities set forth by our Senior Leaders.

“The importance of these positions is to address the growing demands regarding diversity, equity inclusion and accessibility efforts (e.g. education and training, diversity councils, employment practices, etc) at the base level,” said Baker. “Prior to this position it was dependent on volunteers which made it challenging to provide consistency, have a sustained impact , and provide the immediate actions necessary to support our workforce.”

Baker said D&I is an extension of the Space Force’s core values and these new professionals will work with Leaders to facilitate a workplace where every Guardian and Airmen has access to development, retention, and advancement to opportunities in support of their commitment to serve our nation.

“The SLD 45 D&I office supports at large the vision that diversity is a vital strategic military resource to uphold our national security efforts,” said Baker. “We have a global mission and we need to draw on the wide variety of backgrounds, viewpoints, and lived experiences from all our personnel to meet mission demands”. 

Brito’s efforts as the new director of D&I will help advance and embed diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility throughout the workforce at SLD 45.

“Diversity and inclusion is not a program for people to run, it is a collective organizational culture and climate change,” said Brito. “It is a leadership responsibility and priority to ensure that we create inclusive environments that leverage the diverse talents of all our people for mission readiness. All personnel must be able to feel empowered to maximize their individual strengths and abilities and perspectives for the good of the mission. Diversity is a military necessity.”