A U.S. Navy task force — which was assembled in July 2020 to address racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, and other personal biases affecting the service — devised a pledge for task force members to “advocate for and acknowledge all lived experiences and intersectional identities” and more.
The task force, known as Task Force One Navy (TF1N), included their pledge in a report on how the Navy should address intersectional issues. The report also includes the task force’s goal to institutionalize inclusion and diversity (I&D) as a key Navy value.
The pledge reads, “As a key member of Task Force One Navy I will invest the
time, attention and empathy required to analyze and evaluate Navywide issues related to racism, sexism, ableism and other structural and interpersonal biases. I pledge to be actively inclusive in the public and private spheres where I live and work, and proactively encourage others to do the same. I pledge to advocate for and acknowledge all lived experiences and intersectional identities of every Sailor in the Navy. I pledge to engage in ongoing self-reflection, education and knowledge sharing to better myself and my communities. I pledge to be an example in establishing healthy, inclusive and team-oriented environments. I pledge to constructively share all experiences and information gained from activities above to inform the development of Navywide reforms.”
TF1N was formed amid protests that began at the end of May 2020 following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody. Amid the protests, Chief of Naval Operations Michael Gilday ordered the new task force to begin reviewing intersectional issues within the service.
In its final report, TF1N states “In our Navy, like society, I&D [inclusion and diversity] must never become an afterthought.”
TF1N further states the Navy’s goals are, “Goal 1: Institutionalize I&D across our Navy. Goal 2: Attract and recruit the best talent from our diverse nation to cultivate a high-performing and innovative workforce. Goal 3: Develop and retain Sailors and Navy civilians by ensuring an inclusive culture across our workforce.”
Elsewhere in the report, TF1N recommends that Navy commands “Start a dialogue with your superiors, peers and teams and listen to their personal stories and experiences. If we have not directly experienced racism, sexism, ageism, or other forms of discrimination, it is often difficult to realize they exist. However, they do exist in our Navy and country, and it is our responsibility to eliminate them.”
TF1N has also recommended the Navy should also also “identify assets named after racist, derogatory or culturally insensitive persons, events or language” and consults with history and ethics experts to rename them. The potential renaming plan would go beyond a new law included in the 2021 defense budget, that requires the military to rename assets, bases, facilities and ships named after Confederate leaders. A rule to identify racist ad culturally insensitive persons could see the renaming of ships like the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) and the guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville. Stennis was a proponent of racial segregation. Chancellorsville is the name of a battle which the Confederacy won during the Civil War.