The Task Force One Navy recently made diversity-related recommendations that include de-emphasizing standardized academic tests when evaluating Navy recruits and renaming ships and other assets with “problematic” names.
The task force’s final report included a pledge for members “to advocate for and acknowledge all lived experiences and intersectional identities of every Sailor in the Navy.”
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“We have fallen short in the past by excluding or limiting opportunity for people on the basis of race, sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender or creed,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said in a statement. “Our Navy must continue to remove barriers to service, and most importantly, be a shining example of a workforce centered on respect, inclusive of all. Simply put, all Sailors – uniformed and civilian – and applicants for accession to the Navy must be treated with dignity and respect above all else.”
The pledge in particular has drawn criticism from some conservatives, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who called it “largely partisan ideological nonsense.”
The task force was created in response to “nationwide protests in the spring and early summer of 2020” according to the report, seemingly a reference to the protests that stemmed from the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The final report was released by the Navy earlier in February.
“On 1 July 2020, the Navy stood up Task Force One Navy (TF1N), leveraging our COE governance structure, to identify and make recommendations to dismantle barriers to equality while creating sustainable opportunities, ultimately achieving our desired end-state of warfighting excellence,” the report reads. “TF1N set out to analyze and evaluate issues in our society and military that detract from Navy readiness, such as racism, sexism and other structural and interpersonal biases to attain significant, sustainable [inclusion and diversity]-related reform.”
The Navy’s enlisted force has greater racial and ethnic diversity than the U.S. population, according to the 2018 census, but women are underrepresented at 20%, according to the report. The report also said its officer corps is “overwhelmingly white and male” and “not representative of the U.S. today.”
The task force issued nearly 60 recommendations.
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The recommendations are a reflection of the feedback from sailors and Navy civilians and will make the Navy “more equitable and increase our warfighting capability,” Rear Adm. Alvin Holsey, the director of Task Force One Navy, said in a statement.
The task force will stand down now that it has issued its final report.
The U.S. Navy is working to tackle radicalism after two racist incidents aboard naval ships were reported, contributing to the secretary of defense’s call for the military to stand-down and address extremism in the ranks.
Senior U.S. Navy commanders met with sailors earlier in February after a noose was found aboard a San Diego ship late last month, followed by a separate incident reported over the weekend involving hate speech that was written on the wall of another ship.
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The incidents prompted Adm. John Aquilino, Commander of the U.S. Second Fleet, to abruptly leave his post in Hawaii and fly to San Diego to address sailors aboard the USS Carl Vinson Tuesday.
“Extremism in our Navy is unacceptable. We will not tolerate it. OK? It’s that simple,” he said.
“I have policies in the Pacific Fleet that we do not care what race you are, what creed you are, what God you pray to, what sexual orientation you are, or what gender you are,” he added.
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Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin granted each branch of the military a 60-day window to stand down and hold discussions regarding extremism among service members – though military officials have admitted that addressing extremism is made all the harder by the fact that it was yet to be firmly defined.
Fox News’ inquiry to the U.S. Navy was not immediately returned.
Fox News’ Caitlin McFall contributed to this report.