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The last day of the 49th annual National Naval Officers Association Leadership, Professional Development and Training Symposium covered topics of joint interest. Sea service members were able to ask questions about individual needs and leaders offered encouraging feedback.

Chaplain Rear Adm. Gregory Todd began with words of faith and a segment on how service members can help the military achieve their goals for diversity and inclusion. He stated that diversity “creates a more rounded picture.” When Retired Rear Adm. Sinclair Harris, president of NNOA (National Naval Officers Association), asked Todd how he responds to people who may not profess their beliefs, he said that as a pastor his job is to love unconditionally.

The United States Space Force (USSF), established Dec. 20, 2019, is the newest branch of the U.S. armed forces. The Secretary of the Air Force oversees the Space Force, under the guidance of the Secretary of Defense. Additionally, a four-star general known as the Chief of Space Operations serves as the senior military member of the USSF and as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Retired Capt. Tara McArthur has been involved with the NNOA throughout her career. Currently, she works in the Space Acquisition Workforce Integration department of the USSF. McArthur said that the space force is committed to creating a more diverse and inclusive environment. According to McArthur, organizations need to pay attention to how they represent people of diverse backgrounds, races, and ethnicities. At present, the USSF has 3,088 officers and 2,544 enlisted personnel, some of whom have transitioned from the Navy, Marine Corps, and Army.

“If you look up at your wall (of leadership) and you only see older white men, you know your organization has work to do in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion,” McArthur said.

Rear Adm. Alvin Holsey, Deputy Chief of Naval Personnel / Commander, Navy Personnel Command, emphasized the message echoed by speakers throughout the conference, which is that everyone has diverse experiences, and people should challenge their own beliefs as well as listen to and respect others.

“Respect means ‘I hear you; I see you,’” Holsey said.

During the session, service members were able to join breakout rooms to address topics like human resources, medical services, information warfare, and the Chaplain Corps.

Attendees flooded the chat box at the end of the conference with messages of appreciation and acknowledgment of success. Harris said he was pleased with the turnout and looks forward to next year’s NNOA symposium, which will take place in Annapolis, Maryland. The symposium will mark its 50th anniversary in 2022. `

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