By xxx David Vergun, DOD News
/ Published July 17, 2020
Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper, Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman (SEAC) Ramon "CZ" Colon-Lopez speak and answer questions during a virtual town hall at the Pentagon, July 17, 2020.
Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley and Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman Ramón "CZ" Colón-López answer questions from service members at a virtual town hall meeting at the Pentagon, July 17, 2020.
Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley and Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman Ramón "CZ" Colón-López spoke about that topic and answered questions today from service members at a virtual town hall meeting at the Pentagon.
"We in the military are not immune from discrimination, bias and prejudice," Esper said.
To address those challenges, he said the department is taking three initiatives:
Milley said everyone in the military took an oath to defend the Constitution. That oath, he said, is the idea that every American, no matter the gender, ethnicity, sexual preference, nation of origin or anything is equal.
"What matters is we're united as Americans. In the Constitution, all men and women are created free and equal. Those of us in uniform, we are dedicated to that principle and are willing to die for it. So if we're willing to die for it, we ought to be willing to live for it," he said.
Colón-López said he was told about limitations in the military due to his own minority status and that he had to work extra hard to prove people wrong.
Everyone should have the same opportunity to excel, he said, based on character, ability and proficiency.
It is up to everyone, particularly those in the chain of command, to listen to service members' concerns and ideas regarding diversity and inclusion, he said.
VIDEO | 56:53
DOD Leaders Host Virtual Town Hall Meeting
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