Today, Congressman Mike Turner (R-OH-10) joined Congressman Anthony Brown (D-MD-4) in introducing the Diversity in Defense Act. This legislation amends U.S. Code to include more diversity-related requirements in the Armed Forces and Coast Guard. In addition to the introduction of this standalone bill, Turner partnered with Brown to have these bipartisan measures included in the House-passed version of the FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

“Our armed forces are some of the most respected institutions in our nation and should lead by example and encourage increased diversity in their ranks,” said Turner. “I am proud to work across the aisle with Congressman Brown on this issue, and I am pleased we were able to include these provisions in the House-passed FY21 NDAA. It is critical that the forces that protect our nation also reflect the diversity of our country. We must achieve diversity within the ranks of our military, and these provisions are strong steps towards achieving that goal. I will continue to advocate for the inclusion of this bill throughout the conference process of the NDAA.”

“As this body moves into conference with the Senate, we cannot lose sight of our responsibility to the next generation of troops and the importance a diverse and inclusive armed services has to our military readiness,” said Brown, a 30-year Army veteran. “Our work fostering diversity ranks and in leadership will never be finished, but this legislation represents and the hard work of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and Capitol, represents an important step forward at this pivotal moment. Our military must lead the way, as it has done before.”

The Diversity in Defense Act possesses a range of provisions aimed at increasing diversity in the Department of Defense and the Armed Forces:

  • Requires that a Chief Diversity Officer be appointed at the Department of Defense and in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. 
  • Establishes a Diversity and Inclusion Council within the Department of Defense.
  • Improves diversity reporting by requiring branches of the armed forces to send yearly and quadrennial reports to congress about enlistment statistics.
  • Requires a report published to congress on demographics on officers appointed to certain grades across all branches.
  • Establishes the Office of the Special Inspector General for Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Armed Forces.
  • Plans to improve the gender discrimination and improve response to pregnancy and childbirth by members of the armed services.