WASHINGTON, April 29, 2014 – To reaffirm the Defense Department’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and fairness, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey signed the 2014 Department of Defense Human Goals Charter today.
The Pentagon ceremony, Hagel noted, marks an important milestone in the Defense Department’s efforts to ensure the organization remains a place of progress for service members and civilians.
“Our most important resource is our people, [and] the values expressed in the charter are as old as America itself,” Hagel said. “They’re at the core of DOD’s mission as well.”
Hagel emphasized that ensuring all in the DOD have the opportunity to succeed, excel and reach their full potential is critical. He expressed particular pride in charter language updates in recent years.
“I’m proud that the language of the charter has been updated to reflect the contributions of gay and lesbian military personnel who now serve openly and proudly across America’s armed forces,” Hagel said. “We will continue striving to make military service a model of equal opportunity for all regardless of race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation or national origin.”
Achieving these goals not only makes the military stronger, but also helps to continue fulfilling the nation’s promise, Hagel said.
“Our democracy is imperfect — all democracies are imperfect. … But we’ve shown that we can change,” the secretary said. “We have to live the values we defend, and America’s all-volunteer force is at its best when it reflects all the people of our nation.”
Dempsey noted that 67 years ago in June, President Harry S. Truman spoke about civil rights and human freedom, particularly the necessity for the federal government to remain a friendly, vigilant defender of the rights and equalities of all Americans.
“The DOD human goals charter we are resigning today affirms that noble American conviction,” Dempsey said. “The virtues we celebrate today are the very fabric of our profession of arms. The quality, dignity and respect comprise the cloth of our culture.”
And the opportunity of service, Dempsey added, must reinforce what is best about America: a nation that he said cannot afford attacks of prejudice or discrimination. “We must always show the way,” the chairman said.