About D&I in AETC

Air Education and Training Command leaders are diligently working to remove barriers, promote mutual respect, and encourage tough conversations in safe spaces.

The First Command is leading efforts to strengthen diversity through deliberate actions to raise awareness about opportunities; developing partnerships with underrepresented groups; removing barriers to serve and providing mentorship to our current force.

 Air Force Instruction (AFI) 36-7001, Diversity & Inclusion, broadly defines diversity as “a composite of individual characteristics, experiences, and abilities consistent with the Air Force Core Values and the Air Force Mission. Air Force diversity includes, but is not limited to: personal life experiences, geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds, cultural knowledge, educational background, work experience, language abilities, physical abilities, philosophical and spiritual perspectives, age, race, ethnicity, and gender.” The Air Force increases its warfighting capabilities and lethality by attracting talent from a diverse body of applicants and leveraging their unique characteristics, experiences, and abilities.

 

Learn more about the U.S. Air Force Rated Diversity Improvement Strategy here. 

 

Diversity and Inclusion Videos

Video by Andriy Agashchuk, Marcelo Joniaux, Tech. Sgt. Tenelle Marshall
Real Talk: Race and Diversity in the Air Force - June 17, 2021
502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
June 17, 2021 | 48:52
Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, commander of Air Education and Training Command, hosts the seventh episode of Real Talk: Race and Diversity in the Air Force, June 17th, 2021. Joining Lt. Gen. Webb for this episode will be: Brig. Gen. Brenda Cartier, Incoming AETC Director of Operations.
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Altus ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ group targets education, discourse

group of people

U.S. Air Force Capt. Mohamed Dharas, 97th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight commander, leads a meeting of the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Working Group at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, on June 8 2021. Dharas is the manager of the D&I program for the base and the group is tasked with providing a foundation for understanding and long-term change for Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cody Dowell)

members huddle in a group

Airmen from the 97th Air Mobility Wing (AMW) group together at the end of the Altus Air Force Base (AFB) Color Run, June 25, 2021, at Altus AFB, Oklahoma. Members of the 97th AMW participated in the color run as the final event for Pride Month. This event was one of several assisted by the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group of the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kayla Christenson)

airmen pose for group photo

Airmen from the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage group pose for a group photo at the Taste of Asia event at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, May 27, 2021. The group served Asian food to attendees and provided cultural items for Airmen to view on display. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kayla Christenson)

photos on a table

Photos of African American military members are displayed at a table, Feb. 26, 2021, at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. These photos were one of the many displays at the 97th Air Mobility Wing Black History Expo. This event was one of several assisted by the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group of the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kayla Christenson)

Altus AFB talent show.

Winners of the Lip Sync Battle pose for a photo at Altus Air Force Base, Okla., Jan. 29, 2021. Contestants had the opportunity to receive a first place, people’s choice, or best group performance award. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kayla Christenson)

Mobility Airmen host Juneteenth celebration

Airmen from the 97th Air Mobility Wing (AMW) pose for a photo during a Juneteenth celebration, June 19, 2021, at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. This event welcomed Airmen from across the 97th AMW for food, fun and celebration. (U.S. Air Force photos by Airman 1st Class Amanda Lovelace)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla.-- Recruitment is the lifeblood of the United States military. It brings people from different origins and backgrounds come together to be trained and assigned to military missions around the world. Similarly many leaders through the military place great value in diversity and the dynamic elements it infuses into a unit.

The Diversity and Inclusion Working Group at Altus AFB was established in March 2020, tasked with providing a foundation for understanding and long-term change for Airmen. Their vision is to lead safe, productive forums on disparities and biases that create lasting avenues of communication and education for all Air Force members. Ultimately their goal is to raise awareness on issues that affect Airmen, and creating a lasting forum for all Airmen that results in respectful discourse.

“The most recent ‘push’ of D&I isn’t a new concept,” said Capt. Mohamed Dharas, 97th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight commander and manager of the Altus AFB D&I Working Group. “D&I is important to ensure our military is operating on all cylinders. A room of 100 Capt Dharas’ wouldn’t work well because there would be too many like-minded people. In order for our military to sustain its dominance, we need to make sure that there is a diverse group of people at the table where big decisions are made.”

The group is also tasked with the planning of special observance month events on base. One of the group’s active members, Airman 1st Class Amanda Edwards, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron logistics planner, says that it is vital to understand the perspective of others, while in the armed forces.

“Diversity and Inclusion, especially in the military, is important because it provides perspective through a new set of lenses,” added Edwards. “This is essential to have a healthy balance of voices. It gives others the opportunity to deepen the understanding of each other. The military is widely known for its diversity; we recruit individuals from every walk of life. It is only right that we encourage and provide a productive environment to tackle issues and ensure everybody gets the representation they deserve.”

Edwards goes on to explain that through communication and education of one another’s background and culture allows for a more harmonious work environment.

“Unfortunately, D&I seems to have a negative connotation in the workplace due to it being a ‘touchy subject.’ We desire to change that false narrative and educate those who wish to be involved,” Edwards explained. “There are great benefits from implementing D&I that include, but are not limited to: innovation, creativity, happier employees, increased productivity, understanding counterparts, and greater interpersonal relationships.”

Like Edwards and Dharas stated, the biggest pushes from their group are education and base events that instill inclusion. In order to do this, funding and participation is provided by different private organizations from the base and local community.

“We are working on strengthening our relationship with the community of Altus to increase the bonds between the base and community,” said Dharas. “They were a huge reason why we were able to hold our Juneteenth celebration. We look forward to working with the community more to improve the quality of life for Altus Airmen, but step one is education to foster a safe environment.”

Dharas and the D&I team discuss topics such as Critical Race Theory, Affirmative Action, history of special observances and many more subjects that aim to build well-rounded Airman. They regularly meet every second and fourth Thursday of the month at noon in the Base Exchange Multi-purpose Room. Anyone with access to the installation is able to join the team to help build the foundation for understanding and long-term change for Airmen.

To accelerate Air Force aircrew diversity efforts and safely meet accession demands during the ongoing study, critical flying CEA carrier fields and applicable aircraft were surveyed at the request of Air Education and Training Command leadership. Based on preliminary data, interim height standards have been established for specific CEA Air Force Specialty Codes (AFSCs), and are effective immediately. (U.S. Air Force graphic / Master Sgt. Caitlin Jones Martin)
Recognizing the value of having and developing agile thinkers at all levels of the Air Force who have diverse backgrounds and experiences, Air Education and Training Command leaders have taken deliberate actions focused on diversity and inclusion for both recruits and current Airmen and Guardians. At 19th Air Force, several initiatives have been undertaken to identify and eliminate structural bias undergraduate flying training pipeline processes and syllabi in order to better foster an environment of dignity, respect, mentorship and inclusion through improved dialogue, training and professional development.
AFRS’ Detachment 1 was activated in October 2018 and develops innovative programs in support of the service’s Total Force (active-duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve) recruiting efforts. Members of the detachment focus on pre-accession audiences (youths, young adults and their influencers) and work with partners to provide pathways to accession sources like The U.S. Air Force Academy, ROTC and Officer Training School.
As part of the Air Force's efforts to provide early exposure to aviation to raise awareness of potential opportunities to serve among diverse youth, the Air Force Recruiting Service and AFRS Det.1 active-duty Aviation Inspiration Mentors facilitate programs like Pathway to Wings and Aim High Flight Academies. Additional programs are run through Air University's Headquarters Reserve Officer Training Corps and Junior ROTC programs, including scholarships and a flight academy.
Rated Diversity Improvement Strategy is the Air Force’s flight plan to strengthen diversity within rated career fields through three overarching goals: Attract and recruit the best talent from diverse backgrounds to cultivate a high performing and innovative Air Force reflective of the best of our nation. Develop and retain the Air Force’s best rated aircrew by harnessing diversity as a force-multiplier and fostering a culture of inclusion. Optimize diversity advancement efforts by leveraging data driven approaches.