Publication Date

Spring 2022

Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)


Urban and Regional Planning

First Advisor

Leonard Lira


Diversity, Inclusion, Department of Defense, Minority Personnel


As the racial and ethnic composition of the United States’ population becomes increasingly diverse, government agencies must adhere to the theory of representative bureaucracy and promote a workforce reflective of the diverse American population (Mosher, 1968). Scholars reason that public administrators must be diligent in developing systems and structures to ensure that the public administration workforce appropriately embodies the communities they support (Pitts & Wise, 2010). Organizations have adopted diversity management practices to establish a mechanism that promotes diversity within their workforce. Researchers argue that organizations must accompany diversity management with a culture of inclusion to build an environment that cultivates and supports a diverse workforce and achieves representative bureaucracy (Pless & Maak, 2004). As a result of understanding the intertwined relations between diversity and inclusion, the public sector has implemented diversity management practices to foster an environment and organizational climate that enhances a sense of inclusion among the staff (Bae et al., 2017).

The development of representative bureaucracy is critical to the Department of Defense. As America’s largest government agency, the Department of Defense (DoD) holds the responsibility to “provide the military forces needed to deter war and ensure our nation’s security” (U.S. Department of Defense About, n.d.). In efforts to ensure diversity, the Department of Defense has enacted a joint diversity management practice and inclusion strategy for its civilian workforce to ensure that the agency can adapt to support the needs of the military forces to confront evolving global threats. This program evaluation aims to understand the effectiveness of the Department of Defense (DoD) Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Strategic Plan 2012-2017 (2012) in impacting the work culture of the civilian workforce and the DoD’s ability to shift the agency's culture to go beyond accepting diversity to creating an inclusive work environment.

This investigation proposes the following research question - What impact has the Department of Defense (DoD) Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Strategic Plan (2012) had on the perception of inclusion among civilian minority personnel within the DoD military departments and defense agencies? This study is intentionally positioned to investigate the perception of inclusion within ethnic/racial and gender minorities because of the ongoing underrepresentation of these groups across all sectors of American society (Brown & Kellough, 2020; Hunt et al., 2020; Kellough, 1990). By understanding the impact of the DoD Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan, the investigation aspires to contribute to the limited scholarship of civilian ethnic minority employees’ experiences of inclusion within the DoD.