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RADM Alvin Holsey (USN), Commander of Navy Personnel Command, describes how the Task Force One Navy developed recommendations to improve Navy readiness by eliminating inequality and bias

A new report from Task Force One Navy lists more than 50 recommendations for the Navy to expand diversity and inclusion efforts in its ranks. Rear Adm. Alvin Holsey, Commander of the Navy Personnel Command and director of the task force, joined “Government Matters” to discuss the recommendations and how the Navy can take steps forward.

The task force’s recommendations fall into four main lines of effort. These include recruiting, talent management and retention, professional development and innovation and STEM. Holsey said the recommendations came from focus groups, listening sessions and surveys. The key themes he cited from these listening sessions were respect, empathy, training and skepticism. He said that people coming to the sessions weren’t sure the task force was going to make a difference.

“A lot of times we hear ‘we’ve done this before’ or ‘we’ve done task forces before’ but this is different because we’re kind of aligned with the Navy’s Culture of Excellence campaign,” he said. “If you think about a campaign design, war plan if you will, that is enduring now, every six months or so, we’ll get a chance to go before our senior leaders, CNO, and four-stars to give them an update on what we’re doing.”

Of the recommendations, Holsey said respect is the most important to the Navy.

“We believe that as our foundation, respect says that ‘I see you,’ it says that ‘I hear you,’” he said.

Holsey also emphasized the importance of accountability in the recommendations. He said the leadership development framework is also important. He said the Navy has already started implementing many of the recommendations. The Navy has already removed photos from the Board process to promote diversity. He said the Navy is also assessing its recruiting efforts and processes.

“[We need to] make sure we look at the whole person and not just a number or just a score and say ‘what else do people bring to the table?’” Holsey said.

He said the Navy will need additional resources to accomplish some of the task force’s recommendations.

“There were three things I wanted to come out of this,” Holsey said. One was a renewed sense of who we are as a Navy, as a people. The second was a profound understanding of the word ‘respect.’ I think it’s very clear, and finally, what I wanted to see come out of this was action. Action that improves readiness across the force while using all the talents and skills, and what everyone brings to the table.”

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