NORFOLK, Va. - The Navy has released the final report from a task force established last summer to address discrimination and issues of racism, sexism and bias that impact Sailors and operations as a whole.
Task Force One Navy was stood up in July 2020 following nationwide protests on social justice and inequality.
Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday encouraged conversations about race relations and inclusion, with the final report indicating "Existing efforts, while admirable in many respects, clearly fell short of adequately addressing the societal challenges of today."
The Navy held its first in-person listening session locally with Sailors at Naval Station Norfolk and spent time examining policy, holding focus groups and reviewing questionnaires filled out by Sailors.
The result: 56 different recommendations across a wide cross-section of areas, including recruitment, retention and professional development.
The recommendations cover everything from updating the Navy's Core Values to include "and Respect," to enhancing STEM outreach in K-12 schools and countering hate speech.
Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Admiral John Nowell said, "When the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) looked at what was going on in the Spring and the Summer with the national protests, with the national dialogue, he wanted us to take a look internally at the Navy to see if we made as much progress as we thought and we found out, much like the Nation, we had not. So for him it was about let's make sure that we take what we've done with inclusion and diversity, let's look for areas that we missed and then let's look at where we can accelerate those attitudes."
Updates to how the Navy names ships, buildings and bases are also included in the final report, with a recommendation to "assess problematic names and identify suggestions for renaming."
“The main thing we are recommending is formalizing that process. To really formalize it and get the right level of people in a room that will look at a name and that we really do our homework," Force Master Chief Huben Phillips told News 3 anchor Todd Corillo.
"We really make sure that what we are naming, whether it is a ship or a base or a station, that it represents our core values. That it represents our culture that we want to sustain throughout our Navy.”
In their work, the task force also looked at gender representation and equality issues for women in the service.
“A lot of the challenges that women face are very similar to what they are in society – about people feeling like they had to work twice as hard or three times as hard. I do feel like the Navy has made progress in this area and there’s still more work to be done," Jane Robert, Senior Civilian Adviser to Task Force One Navy, told Corillo.
In closing remarks to the report, Force Master Chief Phillips and Rear Admiral Alvin Holsey wrote "Recommendations were developed that recognize some systemic inequalities and offer solutions to help our Navy become a more lethal and well-connected warfighting force."
They concluded by saying, "When it comes to inclusion and diversity we can choose to be either committed or involved. We choose commitment."
Vice Admiral Nowell added, "Trust that Task Force One Navy is an enduring effort and this is not just a report that will go on a shelf and gather dust. Second, most importantly, I want to say thank you to our sailors and families. They're doing great. We can never thank them enough for their service and sacrifice."
You can read the entire report including all the recommendations here.