Public Law 116-283, “William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021,” contained Section 554 titled, “Inspector General Oversight of Diversity and Inclusion in Department of Defense; Supremacist, Extremist, or Criminal Gang Activity in the Armed Forces.” Section 554 requires that the DoD Inspector General (DoD IG) submit annual reports to keep Congress informed on the DoD’s findings and recommendations regarding: (1) the effects of policies, programs, systems, and processes of the Department, regarding personnel, on diversity and inclusion in the Department, and (2) the effectiveness of such policies, programs, systems, and processes in preventing and responding to supremacist, extremist, and criminal gang activity of a member of the Armed Forces.
Oversight Work Related to Diversity, Inclusion, and Prohibited Activities
For the reporting period of October 1, 2021, through September 30, 2022, we identified five reports on diversity, inclusion, and prohibited activities. The DoD Office of Inspector General (OIG), Government Accountability Office (GAO), and Military Service Inspectors General made 70 recommendations for improvement in diversity, inclusion, and prohibited activities policies, programs, systems, and processes across the DoD. Additionally, we identified DoD initiatives related to diversity, inclusion, and prevention of prohibited activities. To further highlight recent work in these areas, the DoD OIG compiled a listing of published reports related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA), issued between September 2014 and September 2022.
The DoD has made progress in establishing policies, programs, and systems related to diversity and inclusion and prevention of prohibited activities within the DoD. Additionally, the DoD’s revision of DoDI 1325.06 established standardized policies, processes, and mechanisms to prevent participation in prohibited activities by members of the Armed Forces. The Deputy Secretary of Defense’s July 27, 2022 memorandum provided the Military Departments (MILDEPs) with implementation guidance that directs data collection for future DoD OIG Section 554 reports, and the MILDEPs have taken action to fulfill Section 554 reporting requirements. However, in compiling this report, we identified that while the DoD established policies and processes, the terminology for allegation categories is inconsistent across the Services. Until the DoD establishes standardized policy pertaining to allegation terminology and uses a centralized database for allegation reporting and tracking, the DoD will have inconsistent tracking of prohibited activities participation; problems identifying and collecting data from multiple, decentralized systems; and difficulty validating the accuracy of reported data.