Air Force Diversity, Inclusion

  • Published
  • By Deborah Lee James, Secretary of the Air Force; Mark A. Welsh III, General, USAF, Chief of Staff; and James A. Cody, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force
  • Department of Defense
Airmen of the United States Air Force:

There is no other country in the world so widely diverse, yet so deeply committed to being unified, as the United States of America. The challenges we face today are far too serious, and the implications of failure far too great, for our Air Force to do less than fully, and inclusively, leverage our Nation's greatest strength: its remarkably diverse people.

Across the force, diversity of background, experience, demographics, perspective, thought and even organization are essential to our ultimate success in an increasingly competitive and dynamic global environment.  As airpower advocates, we must be culturally competent and operationally relevant to effectively accomplish our various missions.

As Airmen, whether military or civilian, we must continue to build and maintain our commitment to diversity, inclusion, and the associated promise of enhanced mission performance. These concepts infuse innovation and forward thinking into our culture and mission areas and resonate within our Service's core values demonstrating that integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do are part of our character.

In order to fully maximize our Nation's extraordinary diversity, our Air Force's focus will be inclusive and comprehensive.  We must recognize and appreciate the value of having diversity in each organization. Fostering inclusion ensures an environment that capitalizes on the strengths of every individual and removes any artificial barriers to an Airman's opportunity to achieve his or her maximum potential. Our foundation will be a reaffirmation of our dedication to leadership's role because diversity and inclusion are not programs or initiatives; they are national security imperatives and critical force multipliers. Our Service's strategic readiness and geopolitical significance depend on our ability to effectively utilize all of our strengths.

In the coming months, we will assess current Air Force initiatives used to attract, recruit, develop and retain our Airmen. We will capitalize on best practices both inside and outside the Air Force. As your Service leadership, we will lead the way.

This approach is necessary because our increasingly diverse citizenry places a special trust in us and we must keep that trust by ensuring our Air Force is representative of the best of the populace from which we draw our considerable strength. We are the product of our talents, not the sum, and it is our responsibility to create an environment that best supports and projects our Service's collective and inclusive excellence. You have our word on the Air Force commitment to diversity and inclusion and the maximizing of their benefits on behalf of our Service and Nation.

We must be an Air Force powered by talented Airmen reflecting the best of the Nation we serve. We will continue to nurture and lead this effort from the front and we expect our leaders and Airmen at all levels to do the same.

(By Deborah Lee James, Secretary of the Air Force; Mark A. Welsh III, General, USAF, Chief of Staff; and James A. Cody, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force)