FORT BELVOIR, Va. –
Defense Logistics Agency civilians and service members are being asked to rededicate themselves to the oath they took upon entering public service in new mandatory training that addresses extremist and dissident ideologies within the Defense Department.
“Upholding Our Constitution: DLA Extremism Stand-Down” has been assigned to employees’ learning plans in the Learning Management System and was created in response to a Feb. 5 memorandum from Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III ordering DOD-wide attention to extremism in the ranks. Employees have until April 30 to complete the training.
In opening remarks, DLA Director Navy Vice Adm. Michelle Skubic describes racism, bigotry and white supremacy as uncomfortable topics that must be addressed because they undermine DLA’s inclusive culture.
“We value our diverse workforce and welcome a multitude of opinions and ideas. Conversely, we denounce destructive ideologies that encourage discrimination, hate or harassment against others,” she says in the video. She encourages employees to help each other listen and share ideas.
The training features a presentation on extremism and its dangers using examples and images as well as information on employees’ responsibility to report extremism with instruction on reporting procedures. Remarks are also included by the secretary of defense, DLA Senior Enlisted Leader Army Command Sgt. Major Tomeka O’Neal and Vice Director Brad Bunn, who notes in the training that he first took the oath over 30 years ago when he was appointed as a summer clerk for the National Park Service in Washington, D.C.
“Because we each took an oath to uphold the law, support and defend the Constitution, and to do our jobs to the best of our ability, all military service members and public servants are expected to be guided in their actions by a strong moral compass,” Bunn says, alluding to values like integrity, ethics, honor, courage and loyalty.
The training supports what Austin described in his memo as the first step of what he believes must be a concerted effort to better educate employees on the scope of extremism and to develop ways to eliminate corrosive effects that extremist ideology and conduct have on the workforce.
DOD Instruction 1325.06, “Handling Dissident and Protest Activities Among Members of the Armed Forces,” prohibits military members from actively advocating for and participating in supremacist, extremist or criminal gang doctrine, ideology or causes. The oaths taken by civil servants and service members have minor differences but common threads.
The DLA training concludes with a voluntary survey, and results will be distributed to leaders by major subordinate command and directorate.