Diversity Makes Us Stronger

Ultimately, our diversity enhances our ability to generate combat power for America.

Ultimately, our diversity enhances our ability to generate combat power for America.

The Air Force Reserve is one of the greatest military organizations in the world. Our diversity is one of many factors which contribute to our greatness. We are an incredibly diverse command, in terms of our missions and people. This diversity strengthens our organization and enhances our ability to provide combat power.

The word diversity is most commonly associated with diversity of demographics, like race, gender, religion, creed or orientation. However, diversity can refer to any characteristic, including thought, educational and work background, abilities and maybe even pay status.

Not only is the Air Force Reserve rich in demographic diversity, our Airmen bring diversity to our organization through their vast range of knowledge, skills and perspective.

From my perspective, diversity is a force multiplier. Our Airmen come from all walks of life. The majority serve part time, gaining experience on the civilian side they would not acquire serving full time. Some have civilian jobs that are akin to their military specialty, which increases their job proficiency and skills. This is the case for Senior Airman Roman, one of our security force defenders at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. Although he joined the Air Force Reserve three years ago, Senior Airman Roman's 10 years in civilian law enforcement make him an expert in his military job.

Others work in unrelated fields and can apply their knowledge and the perspectives gained in different professions to their military service. Capt. Speller, a contingency response officer at March Air Reserve Base, California, finds the skills she acquired as an FBI agent very helpful for operational planning.

Collectively, our Reserve Citizen Airmen bring a wealth of knowledge and experience from the civilian sector to this command, which they use to better execute their mission and improve how we operate as an organization. These individuals are a few of the many talented Airmen who leverage their personal backgrounds to benefit this command.

However, we can only utilize the resources we know exist, to include our airmen's skills and expertise. Fortunately, we can determine what human resources are available to use simply by getting to know our teammates. By learning about your fellow Airmen, you not only discover how they can better serve in your unit, you are also establishing meaningful connections with your brothers and sisters in arms.

Diversity of demographics and experience breeds diversity of thought. A lack of diversity of thought presents a threat to our organizational success. When everyone thinks alike, we risk stagnation, miss opportunities and overlook better solutions to problems.

Diversity of thought fosters creativity, innovation and process improvement. When a group of diverse individuals work as a team, they will be more likely to find optimal solutions to problems and combine their expertise to enhance unit performance.

Although I have served in many duty statuses, all of my time in the Air Force has been commissioned service. So I rely and work with our command chief to ensure we are fully informed with our enlisted perspective. No one can do it alone. The chief gives me insight on how a decision may impact our Airmen and provides critical counsel regarding their needs. His collaboration, and our teamwork, make our Airmen's lives better.

The Air Force Reserve is an amazingly diverse organization, and, by far, the most diverse aspect of our command is our people. By seeking diversity, and respecting individuals with different backgrounds and different perspectives, we are stronger and more effective. Ultimately, our diversity enhances our ability to generate combat power for America. Our strength is you.