The Minnesota National Guard's enduring goal is to provide an agile, resilient force, ready to fulfill any federal, state or community need. The Minnesota National Guard's success relies on its ability to provide military assets when called upon, working with interagency partners to enhance joint-response capabilities.
In order to fulfill its obligations to the state and nation, the Minnesota National Guard focuses on six priorities that guide the organization through decision-making and mission-planning processes, ultimately ensuring a unified and consistent response.
The past several years presented the Minnesota National Guard with many fluid and dynamic events that tested the organization's ability to operate under fluctuating budgets and strenuous mission requirements.
Though the operational circumstances and challenges have varied, the Minnesota National Guard's six priorities provide a fundamental blueprint that ensures success of the mission while maintaining personnel and equipment at optimal levels.
- Fielding a competent ready force
- Maintaining an optimal force structure
- Cyber security and response
- Develop sustainable infrastructure
- Service members and their Families
- Diversity of the force
|Diversity of the Force
|"We value diversity in our organization to broaden our perspective, incorporate a variety of strengths and better represent the communities we serve.
When the Minnesota National Guard established its diversity goals in 2011, the organization set its sights on shaping a force with a commensurate percentage of diverse individuals relative to the state of Minnesota's population.
In 2011, 7.8 percent of service members in the Minnesota National Guard were from diverse ethnicities, compared to 16.6 percent of Minnesotan as a whole. In four years, the Minnesota National Guard closed that gap by attaining 14.3 percent of its force from diverse ethnicities and is approaching the 18.1 percent of Minnesotans that currently come from diverse ethnicities.
To continue the positive trend toward achieving its diversity goals, in 2016 the Minnesota National Guard will continue to engage in community relationship building, such as participation in powwows, engagement with the Somali youth group Ka-Joog and forums on closing the Latino education gap.
Additionally, in 2016 the organization will continue to provide opportunities for service members to represent their heritage affiliations at cultural events, such as participation in lacrosse skill camps, the Hmong New Year, the annual Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast and Cinco de Mayo celebrations.
The Minnesota National Guard has eight special emphasis councils that focus on diversity: African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, Disability, Holocaust Remembrance, Latino, LGBT, Native American, and Women.
Throughout 2015, the Minnesota National Guard was successful in recruiting candidates of racial, ethnic and gender diversity backgrounds into the Minnesota National Guard. Diversity efforts emphasized during the past four years have resulted in nearly doubling the number of diverse members in the organization.
In 2015 nearly 27 percent of new Minnesota Army National Guard recruits were from diverse populations, exceeding the Recruiting and Retention Battalion's 25 percent goal. Meeting this standard ensures that service members develop and continue their careers to become mid- and senior-grade leaders, which benefits the Minnesota National Guard by having a higher proportion of its members trained and ready to deploy.
By building and sustaining new relationships within the community, the Minnesota Air National Guard also increased its racial, ethnic and gender diversity recruits by 4 percent in 2015. Additionally, nearly 22 percent of all recruits were females, and diversity recruits increased in four-out-of-five race and ethnic categories. Partnerships with Somali youth group Ka-Joog, Spanish-speaking radio station La Raza and Open Streets Minneapolis are examples of the Minnesota Air National Guard reaching out to the growing, diverse populace and fostering strong ties within the community.
In a historic change, the Department of Defense announced on Dec. 3, 2015, that all military jobs will be available to women. Even before the DOD rescinded the Ground Combat Exclusion Rule in 2013 which barred women from serving in combat roles the Minnesota National Guard initiated opportunities for women to serve in direct combat and leadership positions.
By striving for diversity through inclusion, the Minnesota National Guard is able to draw from the talent found throughout the state. Currently, women in the Minnesota National Guard hold four percent of the available positions they were previously barred from, and female recruits in both the Army and Air National Guard have increased each of the last five years. Women will be fully integrated into combat units by January 2016.
More than 350 Minnesota National Guard members gathered for the first Joint Female Professional Development Symposium at Metropolitan State University in April 2015. The event promoted equality and diversification of thought and talent in the more than 13,000-member force, of which 18 percent are women. Participation in the symposium empowered women to mentor and lead each other into positions of greater responsibility.
Minnesota National Guard recruiters have modeled a similar path of diversity through inclusion. In tandem with reflecting the communities in which they serve, Minnesota National Guard recruiters are challenged to recruit and retain the Soldiers and Airmen needed to maintain the one of the nation's largest National Guard formations while drawing candidates from the nation's 21st-largest population. Recruiters identify and develop relationships within communities that previously did not have a National Guard presence, ensuring all Minnesotans are afforded the opportunity to serve. In doing so, Minnesota National Guard recruiters ensure the organization remains at or above 100 percent force strength and one of the best in the nation in terms of personnel readiness.
The efforts of the Diversity Working Group and the Recruiting Ambassador program have resulted in the 133rd Airlift Wing connecting with 24 high schools and community colleges and attending more than 15 community events, helping the wing to make measurable strides to more accurately reflect the community it serves. The efforts of the Diversity and Inclusion council and the Community Outreach Ambassador program have resulted in the 148th Fighter Wing connecting with 32 local and regional high schools, colleges, and universities and attending nearly 30 local and regional community events.