'Task Force One Navy' announced to examine discrimination in the branch

July 1 (UPI) — A task force focused on issues of racism, sexism and other biases in the branch was announced by the U.S. Navy this week.

“Task Force One Navy” will be led by Rear Adm. Alvin Holsey, who will report his findings to the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm.Mike Gilday, through the Navy’s Chief of Personnel, Vice Adm. John B. Nowell, the Navy said on Tuesday.

An 11-minute video, released last week to Navy personnel, included statements by enlisted Black sailors, commenting on racial and sexual biases they have encountered.

At the end, Gilday appears, commenting in part that “as sailors, and as a Navy, we cannot tolerate discrimination or racism of any kind.”

“We must work to identify and eliminate individual and systemic racism within our force,” Gilday said. “We are beginning that work now, examining our policies, ranging from recruiting and assignments, advancements and promotions, to our military justice system, and other policies.”

“That is why we are standing up a task force designed to identify and remove racial barriers and improve inclusion within our Navy,” Gilday said.

The task force will be supported by various Navy agencies, including Fleet Commanders, the Judge Advocate General, Chief of Chaplains, Surgeon General and Navy Chief of Legislative Affairs.

Recommendations will be focused on recruiting, scholarship opportunities,talent management, training, fitness, military justice analysis of racial disparity and health disparities, the Navy said.

The task force was formed to address issues of racial discrimination throughout the U.S. military, following a similar civilian reaction after the May 25 death of George Floyd.

Committees within the Pentagon, working at the direction of Defense Secretary Mark Esper, are expected to recommend changes to several ships and military bases whose names honor Confederate military figures or legislators with a history of racism.

In early June, Gilday ordered a ban on Confederate flags on Navy work areas and public spaces.

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