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Patrick Air Force Base
The Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) is a U.S. Department of Defense joint services school located at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, offering both resident and off-site courses in areas including equal opportunity, intercultural communication, and religious, racial, gender, and ethnic diversity and pluralism to civilian and military personnel working with the American armed forces.
DEOMI was established in 1971 as the Defense Race Relations Institute (DRRI) based on lessons learned from the Civil Rights movement. Set against a national policy of inequality and segregation, and problems both in the civilian world and the military linked to racial tension and hostility, military leaders understood that working together across racial lines was not only the right thing to do but also a necessary element in terms of military readiness.
Consequently, an inter-service task force was convened to study "causes and possible cures of...disorders within the military." Chaired by Air Force Major General Lucius Theus, the task force resulted in Department of Defense Directive 1322.11, establishing the Race Relations Education Board, and led to the 1971 establishment of the DRRI at Patrick AFB, Florida, under the leadership of the first director, Col. Edward F. Krise, USA. In July 1979 the name was changed to the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, to reflect the growing array of issues included in DEOMI courses, including sexual harassment, sexism, extremism, religious accommodation, and anti-Semitism. More than 20,000 reserve and active duty military members and civilian employees of the American armed forces have graduated from DEOMI since its creation.
The history of race relations in the U.S. military has sometimes been described in phases, beginning with Phase I, Executive Order #9981 issued by President Harry S. Truman, integrating the Armed Forces of the United States. Phase II, programs of education, were initiated to deal with the situation of "racial unrest." The establishment of the DRRI began this new phase in the history of race relations—and later, diversity training in its many forms.
The DEOMI mission statement states that the institution "will assist its customers in optimizing their mission readiness and capabilities by promoting human dignity through equity education, diversity, cultural competency, research and consultation world-wide."
Its Guiding Principles in pursuit of this mission spell out the acronym, "READINESS":
- Respect – for the infinite dignity and worth of all individuals
- Excellence – in education, training and research
- Awareness – of the issues, successes and strategies in human relations
- Diversity – an understanding that our strengths derive from our differences as well as our shared values, goals and ethics
- Innovation – of processes, technology and designs to enhance our mission
- Nation – which we have sworn to defend and endeavor to improve
- Exchange – of ideas in the spirit of academic freedom and professional responsibility
- Selfless Service – a priority to the higher ideals of equality and fairness
- Support – a commitment to quality processes for our customers and our organization
International Military Student Program
In addition to courses for U.S. military and civilian personnel, the International Military Student Program was established to "serve as a resource for equal opportunity, human relations, and diversity training and consultation to requesting international clients engaged in humanization and democratization efforts as such assistance supports the United States' National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement." Client nations have included Burundi, Canada, Russia, Rwanda, Solomon Island, South Africa, South Korea, Slovenia, Tobago, Trinidad, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.
Military leadership conferences and seminars
In addition to residential courses and off-site programs led by its training teams, DEOMI conducts research for all branches of the armed forces and hosts special events for military and civilian leaders. One example was the July 2009 symposium on cross-cultural competence (also known as 3C)for approximately 100 "leaders, practitioners, operators, and researchers." 3C, defined as "the capability one possesses to effectively interact with others from different cultures or background," was discussed as an important factor for a culturally adaptive military and civilian force.
DEOMI Climate Survey (DEOCS)
The Climate Study developed by DEOMI for military organizations is a crucial tool to assess problems in the equal opportunity arena. After using it to establish a base line, follow-up surveys can also assess progress. The survey can be taken on line by military personnel.
DEOMI is currently housed in a 90,000-square-foot (8,400 m2) two-story building that houses classes, faculty offices, a library, computer rooms, research areas, and an auditorium. It is a state-of-the-art facility in terms of audio-visual communications and presentation resources. It was dedicated on January 14, 2004.
- DEOMI website.
- Wayne, George H., "Perspectives on Race Relations: Time to Consider Phase III," Air University Review, March-April 1974.
- Ripple, Bryan, "Total force cross-cultural competence examined at DEOMI Symposium," July 13, 2009, AF.mil.
- Ripple, Bryan, "DEOMI continues to break new ground five years after moving into new campus," DEOMI Public Affairs Officer article.
- Design-Build Team (Rush, Inc.) Project Description.
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