As the Chief Diversity Officer for The U.S. Coast Guard Academy, I’m often asked about the role diversity plays in the formation of young military officers and future leaders. The Academy has a unique responsibility to develop diverse, pluralistic citizen-leaders for our nation and the world. The USCGA believes that we must be capable of serving an ever diverse nation and world by tying together academic excellence, mission readiness, and social diversity under the rubric of leadership development. Diversity infuses richness and nurtures strength in the development of Coast Guard officers by training them to function in small units where introspection and respect for human differences unlock efficiencies in the development of optimal solutions to unpredictable field problems. Diversity competency is crucial to officer development because it calls upon an individual leader to balance perspectives, talents, and empathetic skills in a group in order to ensure operational success in the increasingly complex operational world the Coast Guard is being asked to manage and secure. We must vigilantly work towards creating a community of professional officers who support the precept that difference drives innovation and prevents myopic thought and groupthink.
We must embody and transmit core academic and civic values that are developmental and organic to the process of leadership development, reinforcing that officership is tied to service to a demographically rich nation, oversight by civilian leaders, and evolving humanitarian capacities critical to disaster relief in operations both within and outside the United States. The United States of the 21st Century will be a truly pluralistic society as long as crucible leadership laboratories such as USCGA remain vigilant to our founding principles and core values. To this end, equity of outcome must be the benchmark by which we measure our success. Leadership and Diversity, under an equity umbrella will center USCGA’s moral compass, and sets us as a beacon to a world that looks ever to our shores for innovative leadership. Unless we draw from the vast wealth our diverse citizens offer, we cannot hope to generate the intellectual and social vitality needed to respond to a rapidly changing world where American ingenuity and global leadership are being challenged by emerging global competitors.
We hope you’ll join us on this journey of national proportions,
Chief Diversity Officer
Office of Inclusion and Diversity