|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."
The Minnesota National Guard benchmarks its success in recruiting and retaining a diverse force against current and future demographic projections in Minnesota.
By increasing diversity in terms of race, ethnicity and gender, the Minnesota National Guard will maximize its potential as an organization and help it better address complex issues. In 2014, 25 percent of new recruits were from diverse populations, exceeding the Recruiting and Retention Battalion’s 20 percent goal. By meeting this standard, Service members in the organization will develop and continue their careers as mid- and senior-grade leaders.
In 2014 a historic gain in achieving a diverse force was realized when Brig. Gen. David Hamlar Jr. became the first African-American to achieve the rank of general officer in the Minnesota National Guard. A highly-respected individual for both his civilian and military accomplishments, Hamlar will serve as an inspiration to other Service members. During his promotion ceremony, Hamlar said, “If the reality of all of this is that if I am the first, then there should be a second and a third.”
In 2013 the Department of Defense rescinded the Ground Combat Exclusion Rule, which prevented women from being assigned to combat units below the brigade level. Shortly after, the Minnesota National Guard enacted the Female Inclusion Pilot Program to place female Service members in leadership positions in previously all-male units. As of September 2014 there were three female officers and nine female non-commissioned officers assigned to these units. Additionally, Army National Guard female officers were accepted into and completed courses they were once barred from, including the Bradley Commander Course and Field Artillery Basic Officer Leadership Course.
However, while the Minnesota National Guard continues to have success in recruiting diverse individuals, the organization recognizes there is a challenge in retaining diverse Service members beyond their first enlistments. The issue is most prominent regarding females and African-Americans, as the number of people ending their military service early is greater than the number being recruited.
By reinforcing the Minnesota National Guard Mentorship Program – enabling not just diverse individuals but all members of the force to benefit from direct mentorship in order to further their careers – the organization can visualize a method to reverse to the trend.