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US Military Launches Diversity Review To 'Ensure Equal Opportunity'

The US Defense Secretary has set up a review to find "actionable recommendations" aimed at promoting diversity in the American military.

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The US Defense Secretary has announced an internal review aimed at "ensuring equal opportunity" within the US military. 

In a video message to the US Department of Defense on Thursday, Mark Esper outlined three new initiatives designed to "build a better US military".

He announced the creation of a new internal board that will conduct a six-month review and present "actionable recommendations".

Mr Esper said the Defense Board on Diversity and Inclusion's work will aim to "increase racial diversity and ensure equal opportunity across all ranks, and especially in the officer corps".

He also announced the standing up of the Defense Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion in the Armed Services.

It is hoped the permanent team will be formed and operating by the end of the year.

He added it will be "comprised of a diverse group of Americans" and is to build on the findings of the Defense Board. 

Mr Esper said he has also called on the "civilian and uniformed leadership of the Pentagon" to bring him ideas that can be implemented immediately. 

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper outside the White House 290919 CREDIT PA
Mark Esper said he hopes the move will help "build a better US military" (Picture: PA).

The US Defense Secretary stressed his goal is to produce "an enterprise-wide, organisational and cultural shift" across the American military.

"The actions I have identified today are just the first steps, but there is more to be done," Mr Esper added.

He said in the near future he will be visiting services members to "hear their views and concerns about race in the military" and to gain "a better sense of where to focus our efforts".

The announcement comes weeks after the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, while in police custody in Minneapolis.

His death sparked global protests over police brutality and anti-racism.

Meanwhile, the UK Defence Secretary has said the upcoming defence review is a "great opportunity" for the Ministry of Defence to tackle issues facing black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups in the UK Armed Forces.

Cover image: US Department of Defense.