Investing in Diversity and Inclusion at State

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

The State Department has the honor of representing the American people to the world. To do that well, we must recruit and retain a workforce that truly reflects America. Diversity and inclusion make us stronger, smarter, more creative, and more innovative. And our diversity gives us a significant competitive advantage on the world stage. This is something that the President, the Vice President, and I firmly believe.

For these reasons, I am committed to bringing the diversity and inclusion (D&I) work already underway at the State Department to the next level. To make that happen, I am pleased to announce the creation of a new Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer (CDIO) position at State. The CDIO will align and advance D&I policies across the department, bring transparency to these initiatives, and hold senior leadership accountable on progress. Our goal is to incorporate diversity and inclusion into the Department’s work at every level. And in a signal of my personal commitment to this work, the CDIO position will report directly to me.

Building a diverse and inclusive culture cannot only be a top-down effort. We need bureaus and teams across the department to join in this work and make it their own. So I am also asking each of our bureaus to designate an existing Deputy Assistant Secretary to support that bureau’s own D&I efforts and to serve on a newly created D&I Leadership Council, which will bring senior leaders together from across the State Department to achieve the goals laid out in our soon-to-be-released Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan.

Together, these changes launch a significant focus and investment in our D&I work at State. As I have often said, each one of us has the power and the opportunity to help create a stronger, fairer workplace, where everyone can contribute their talents and ideas and everyone is treated with dignity and respect. That’s what this work is all about, and why we’re making it an early priority. If we get this right — and I’m committed to see to it that we do — our efforts now will lay the foundation for a more diverse and inclusive State Department for years to come.

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  • Defense Contractors: Information on Violations of Safety, Health, and Fair Labor Standards
    In U.S GAO News
    GAO's analysis of federal data found that about 1 percent of companies with Department of Defense (DOD) contracts were cited for willful or repeated safety, health, or fair labor violations in fiscal years 2015 through 2019. However, these data do not indicate whether the violations occurred while performing work related to a defense contract. Companies with DOD Contracts Cited for Willful or Repeated Violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 or the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Fiscal Years 2015 through 2019 Because of limitations in available data, GAO could not determine the total incidence of willful or repeated violations of safety, health, or fair labor standards among all companies with a defense contract in this 5-year time frame. Specifically, about 43 percent of the Department of Labor's (Labor) safety and health violation data did not include key company identification numbers. These numbers are necessary to match federal contracting data to violation data. GAO recommended in February 2019 that Labor explore ways to address this issue. While Labor neither agreed nor disagreed with the recommendation, it issued a memorandum in May 2019 directing its Occupational Safety and Health Administration staff to make every reasonable effort to collect this information during inspections and enter it into its database. About 1 percent of Labor's data on fair labor violations were missing these key company identification numbers. The nature of the willful or repeated violations for companies with DOD contracts during fiscal years 2015 through 2019 varied. According to GAO's analysis of Labor data, the most frequently found willful or repeated safety and health violations related to toxic substances and machinery. For that same time frame, the most frequently found willful or repeated fair labor violations related to failure to pay overtime. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 included a provision for GAO to report on the number of DOD contractors that Labor found to have committed willful or repeated violations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) or the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) for fiscal years 2015 through 2019. This report examines the number of DOD contractors that were cited for willful or repeated safety, health, or fair labor standards violations under the OSH Act or FLSA, and the nature of those violations for fiscal years 2015 through 2019. GAO analyzed federal contracting data to identify companies that had defense contracts in fiscal years 2015 through 2019, and matched them to Labor data on companies cited for willful or repeated safety, health, or fair labor standards violations. In addition, GAO used the Labor data to identify information on the nature of the violations. GAO also reviewed relevant federal laws and regulations, and agency documents. For more information, contact William T. Woods at (202) 512-4841 or woodsw@gao.gov, or Thomas Costa at (202) 512-7215 or costat@gao.gov.
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    In Space
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  • More than 700 Members Of Transnational Organized Crime Groups Arrested in Central America in U.S. Assisted Operation
    In Crime News
    Today, senior law enforcement officials from the United States, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras announced criminal charges in Central America against more than 700 members of transnational criminal organizations, primarily MS-13 and 18th Street gangs, which resulted from a one-week coordinated law enforcement action under Operation Regional Shield (ORS).
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