Naval Surface Force Hosts Inaugural DEI Symposium

by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jacob Milham
09 April 2022

Rear Adm. (ret.) Jesse Wilson speaks during the first-ever Naval Surface Force Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Summit (DEI) Symposium.
NORFOLK (April 8, 2022) Rear Adm. (ret.) Jesse Wilson speaks during the first-ever Naval Surface Force Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Summit (DEI) Symposium. The symposium gave leaders information on the value of DEI and how to incorporate it in all levels of leadership and decision-making. Topics and speakers touched on DEI in several areas, including officer accession and recruiting, grooming standards, and work-life balance. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication 2nd Class Darien Kenney)
Rear Adm. (ret.) Jesse Wilson speaks during the first-ever Naval Surface Force Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Summit (DEI) Symposium.
220407-N-NU634-0014
NORFOLK (April 8, 2022) Rear Adm. (ret.) Jesse Wilson speaks during the first-ever Naval Surface Force Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Summit (DEI) Symposium. The symposium gave leaders information on the value of DEI and how to incorporate it in all levels of leadership and decision-making. Topics and speakers touched on DEI in several areas, including officer accession and recruiting, grooming standards, and work-life balance. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication 2nd Class Darien Kenney)
Photo By: Mass Communication 2nd Class Darien Kenney
VIRIN: 220407-N-NU634-0014
The theme for the inaugural symposium was “Setting the Next Watch Team Up for Success – Building the Roadmap for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion”. More than 350 Sailors and guests attended the event, representing Navy commands from around the world.

“I am excited, hopeful and inspired by this event,” Rear Adm. Jennifer Couture Commander, Naval Service Training Command, said. “All these Sailors truly care about DEI. The authenticity, vulnerability, and open conversation show the tremendous amount of support and importance for these principles.”

Sailors listen to a panel of speakers during the first-ever Naval Surface Force Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Summit (DEI) Symposium.
NORFOLK (April 8, 2022) Sailors listen to a panel of speakers during the first-ever Naval Surface Force Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Summit (DEI) Symposium. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication 3rd Class Issac Rodriguez)
Sailors listen to a panel of speakers during the first-ever Naval Surface Force Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Summit (DEI) Symposium.
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NORFOLK (April 8, 2022) Sailors listen to a panel of speakers during the first-ever Naval Surface Force Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Summit (DEI) Symposium. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication 3rd Class Issac Rodriguez)
Photo By: Mass Communication 3rd Class Issac Rodriguez
VIRIN: 220407-N-OJ308-0112
This symposium specifically aimed at identifying new approaches to attracting, developing and retaining talent in the Surface community in order to build strong cultures which empower Sailors and drive performance.

Rear Adm. Brendan McLane, commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic, opened up the event with his expectations and goals for the attendees.

“While leadership and taking care of your people is not the panacea for all these problems, it is a positive step toward what we are talking about here,” McLane said. “You can’t just go through the motions. You have to take these lessons learned and go back to your ship and execute. You don’t always have to agree with different perspectives, but accepting them and moving on is progress. Progress made slowly is still progress made.”

Force Master Chief Jason Knupp, far left, leads a panel during the first-ever Naval Surface Force Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Summit (DEI) Symposium.
NORFOLK (April 8, 2022) Force Master Chief Jason Knupp, far left, leads a panel during the first-ever Naval Surface Force Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Summit (DEI) Symposium. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication 1st Class Jacob Milham)
Force Master Chief Jason Knupp, far left, leads a panel during the first-ever Naval Surface Force Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Summit (DEI) Symposium.
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NORFOLK (April 8, 2022) Force Master Chief Jason Knupp, far left, leads a panel during the first-ever Naval Surface Force Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Summit (DEI) Symposium. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication 1st Class Jacob Milham)
Photo By: Petty Officer 1st Class Jacob Milham
VIRIN: 220408-N-OW182-0040
The event presented an opportunity to inform the waterfront of Task Force One policy updates and new DEI initiatives, conduct leadership panels for our young junior officers, and participate in breakout sessions where Sailors can receive feedback from senior leaders.

“I’m grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of this event,” said Command Master Chief Samira McBride, command master chief of Afloat Training Group Norfolk. “I’ve been given a platform to be on a panel to share experiences and have this conversation. I leave this symposium with a renewed conviction and outlook to do better myself.”

The symposium’s first day saw naval leaders discuss new policies and lessons learned from around the Navy. For most of the day, panels representing different groups of Sailors or minorities discussed barriers they faced during their service. Many panels allowed open questions and answers, further enabling DEI dialogue. Keynote speaker Rear Adm. (ret.) Jesse Wilson emphasized the importance of each pillar of DEI.

“When you institutionalize equity and inclusion in your force, diversity will follow naturally,” Wilson said. “Equity plus inclusion equals diversity. This event should not be a one-and-done. We need to institutionalize how we talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion and how we get everyone on board with these basic leadership principles. These will lead to a stronger and more cohesive fighting force, one needed for the current power competition.

Sailors listen to a panel of speakers during the first-ever Naval Surface Force Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Summit (DEI) Symposium.
NORFOLK (April 8, 2022) Sailors listen to a panel of speakers during the first-ever Naval Surface Force Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Summit (DEI) Symposium. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication 3rd Class Issac Rodriguez/Released)
Sailors listen to a panel of speakers during the first-ever Naval Surface Force Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Summit (DEI) Symposium.
220408-N-NU634-0030
NORFOLK (April 8, 2022) Sailors listen to a panel of speakers during the first-ever Naval Surface Force Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Summit (DEI) Symposium. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication 3rd Class Issac Rodriguez/Released)
Photo By: MC3 Issac Rodriguez
VIRIN: 220408-N-NU634-0030
The symposium gave leaders information on the value of DEI and how to incorporate it into all levels of leadership and decision-making. Topics and speakers touched on DEI in several areas, including officer accession and recruiting grooming standards, and work-life balance.

In closing, McLane charged everyone in attendance to turn the proposals discussed at the symposium into action.

“We have to take the notes from this symposium out to the fleet,” said McLane. “We have to spread the word. This is just like maintenance; it needs to be done 100% of the time.”

The CNSF DEI Symposium was established as a direct response to Adm. Gilday’s call to “identify and remove racial barriers, improve inclusion efforts, create new opportunities for professional development, and eliminate obstacles.”


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Commander, Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, 2841 Rendova Rd. San Diego, CA 92155-5490

This is an official
U.S. Navy website

U.S. Pacific Fleet
2841 Rendova Rd
San Diego, CA
92155-5490

Email:
Public Affairs Officer
Webmaster

 
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