The Army will take some immediate steps to improve race issues in its ranks — but those changes won’t include banning Confederate imagery or name changes at 10 southern installations named for Confederate generals, Stars and Stripes reported Thursday.
The Army’s senior leaders plan to spend the coming months visiting groups of soldiers at posts around the globe to talk about race and diversity — conversations aimed at helping to improve life for minorities in the ranks, the news outlet reported.
Project Inclusion was announced Thursday by Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, Stars and Stripes reported.
“These listening sessions across the force are going to give us some ideas on how we create the environment — inclusive, fair, free of bias. You can’t do that if you don’t understand perspectives,” said Gen. Joseph Martin, the Army’s vice chief of staff, the news outlet reported. “We don’t have a path of 20 measures we’re going to take. That’s going to develop over time … This is not something [that is] one stop, we’re [not] just coining a phrase.”
Though Martin and Army undersecretary James McPherson said some immediate steps would be taken toward that aim, they won't address Confederate imagery on Army posts, or bases named after Civil War Confederate generals, the news outlet reported.
The steps will, however, include removing soldiers’ photographs from packets submitted to promotion boards considering rank advancements for officers, McPherson said, the news outlet reported.
McPherson said he expects to talks about base name changes during conversations with soldiers, and that the Army is working with Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s office on the issue, Stars and Stripes reported.
McCarthy said the Army was also working with Esper's office on a Defense Department-wide policy on Confederate imagery on military installations.
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