Joint Diversity Executive Council Newsletter February 2020

  • Editors: CPT Scott Detweiler
  • The next JDEC Meeting will happen on 19 February 2020, 1400 in the Med Det classroom on Camp Johnson



2019 was busy! We hosted a train-the-trainer Leadership Evolution Course that provides new VTNG trainers with a great tool for assisting commands with leader development. We held our 2nd Naturalization Ceremony in August and brought 200 women from across the organization together for the first Military Women's Workshop in nearly 10 years.

As we move into the 2020 calendar year there will be many opportunities to recognize the diversity we currently have throughout the organization, and improve on how we leverage those unique strengths to make us better collectively. BG Knight, Col Shevchik and COL Gagnon have each taken the time to contribute their wisdom to this publication of the JDEC Newsletter; I encourage you to take the time read their important messages.

Finally, many of you have already heard that I have chosen to step down from my full time roll with as the SEEM in order to allow my wife to work full-time and for me to stay home with our three boys. I will certainly miss this work, mostly how the work brought me into connection with so many of you!

Thank you to all of the SEPM's, Women's Workshop Planning Committee members and facilitators and especially the rest of the HRO team - without all of these folks this program would not run. I also really appreciate this Senior Leadership team, who truly and genuinely supports these initiatives; it has been a real honor to work for them.

  • Contact Info:
  • CPT Scott Detweiler
  • Cell: (802) 227-2779
  • Email: john.s.detweiler.mil@mail.mil

Commander, 158th Fighter Wing

Col David Shevchik

Greetings from the 158th Fighter Wing! My name is Colonel David Shevchik, and I recently assumed command of the 158th Fighter Wing. I appreciate this opportunity to share a few thoughts as I look towards our future in this new role.

Readiness is the name of the game in our profession and for our Wing – especially as we complete our conversion from a transitional fighter wing to an operational F-35 Fighter Wing. Although we’re reassessing our Wing’s priorities, End Strength will remain one of our Wing priorities as it’s critical to have the talented professionals necessary to execute our mission. Our Nation expects us to be ready, the State of Vermont expects us to be ready, and our communities expect us to be ready. We expect each other to be ready. That’s what teams do – train to be ready and make each other better. Ready for whatever mission is given to us at the Federal or State level – especially in uncertain times with a National Defense Strategy (NDS) focused on great power competition.

It requires a team that is adaptive, agile, and innovative. They are not just buzzwords, but who we must be and how we must think. A team that looks at problems critically, from every angle and from different perspectives. A team that challenges the status quo to make things, people, and processes better – especially in an institution that has sometimes been historically rigid. Readiness requires diversity & inclusivity.

The future environment and future fight is uncertain – that is certain. But just as Lt Gen Lori Reynolds, deputy Commandant of information for the Marine Corps stated, the future fight demands a “dramatic mix of talent, of all races, religions, backgrounds and genders”. Diversity is our competitive advantage – a competitive necessity to handle the unknown future fight. Even in a Wing with “5th Generation” F-35 fighter jets, our people remain and will always be our most valuable asset. A team of diverse, talented, trained professionals gives us the strategic advantage we need to compete in an uncertain world – and truly be READY for whatever comes our way.

Martin luther king jr.

BG Gregory Knight, The Adjutant General

On Monday, January 20, 2020, we honored the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I believe we have come a long way since his era, but must continue our pursuit of treating others equally. As we are all volunteers, working to support our communities, state and nation, I am reminded of one of his quotes that rings true to me. Dr. King said this in Montgomery, Alabama in 1957:

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is "What are you doing for others?" I believe Dr. King was a visionary - a steward of humanity that embodies what we all strive for. He served his community and country selflessly, placing the nation before himself. He indeed had a vision for our nation. Let us continue focusing on equal, fair and decent treatment of others in how we choose to live. Take care of each other, and be there when you are needed. Please join me in continuing our legacy of excellence in service. We can all rise above the polarizing, negative and bitter rhetoric that seems pervasive at times. Dr. King is fine example of how to do exactly that. Thank you all for being a part of making our country a better place.

cultural humility enhances inclusion

COL Eric Gagnon, Commander Garrison Support Command

Care to listen to an approach that will improve our organization? Cultural competency is an ongoing process aided by the practice of cultural humility. Cultural humility helps us accept our limitations and understand what it means to welcome and embrace diversity and inclusion. Individually and organizationally the Vermont National Guard family values the strength of its diverse culture. We can achieve inclusion excellence by embracing the tenets of cultural humility.

What is cultural humility? Cultural humility is the ability to maintain an interpersonal stance that is “other-oriented” in aspects of cultural identity that are most important to individuals (Hook, 2013). Three factors guide the cultural humility process: 1) lifelong commitment to self-evaluation and self-critique, 2) the desire to fix power imbalances, and 3) the aspiration to develop partnerships with people and groups who advocate for others (Ibid). Cultural humility extends beyond knowledge. It calls for us to seek to understand the nature of social diversity and oppression with respect to race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, and mental or physical disability (NASW, 2018). Through diversity inclusion, we learn we do not fully understand something; that we are not experts, and it calls for us to listen. Admitting we are not experts does not come naturally in a military culture that strives for proficiency in all that it does. However, applying cultural humility should not be considered as being weak or submissive but, rather, that our knowledge is limited to what truly is another’s culture. Not embracing the tenets of cultural humility leads to unconscious stereotypes of others and these stereotypes serve as our safety nets to help explain behavior (Ortega & Coulborn, 2011).

How is cultural humility applicable in our organization? The multicultural environment we are surrounded by is complex. As such, our approach to cultural competency should be considered a process rather than an end product because it involves more than gaining factual knowledge; it extends to our ongoing attitudes toward both our colleagues and ourselves. Cultural humility helps us maintain our willingness to suspend what we know or what we think we know about a person based on generalizations about their culture (Moncho, 2013). By adopting cultural humility in our approach, we can better appreciate cultural perspectives as truth even when they are different from ours. “Diversity without inclusion is a story of missed opportunities, of employees so used to being overlooked that they no longer share ideas and insights. But diversity with inclusion promotes a potent mix of talent and engagement (Sherbin & Rashid, 2017).”

The accomplishments of our Vermont National Guard at national and international levels are a source of great pride. Focusing energy to adopt a practice of cultural humility in our daily lives will make us stronger, individually and organizationally. Let’s start listening.

  • Hook, J.N., Davis, D.E., Owen, J., Worthington, Jr. E.L., & Utsey, S.O., (2013) Cultural humility: Measuring openness to culturally diverse clients. Journal of Counseling Psychology. 2.
  • Ibid.
  • The National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics (NASW, 2018)
  • Ortega, R.M., & Coulborn Faller, K. (2011). Training child welfare workers from an intersectional cultural humility perspective: A paradigm shift. Child Welfare. 90(5), 27-49.
  • Moncho, C. (2013, August 19). Cultural humility, part I – What is ‘cultural humility’? The Social Work Practitioner. Retrieved from https://thesocialworkpractitioner.com/2013/08/19/cultural-humlity-part-i-what-is-cultural-humility/.
  • Sherbin, L. & Rashid, R. (2017) Diversity doesn’t stick without inclusion. Harvard Business Review, 3. Retrieved from: https://hbr.org/2017/02/diversity-doesnt-stick-without-inclusion

black history awareness month

February 2020

The observance of African American / Black History Month runs through the month of February and celebrates the contributions of African Americans to our nation. The theme for this year's event is Honoring the Past, Securing the Future!

The Department of Defense Black History Month poster is the first in a series of posters commemorating the 75th Anniversary of World War II. Each commemoration poster will highlight the significant contributions of special observance groups towards achieving total victory in this watershed event. Each poster is reminiscent of the colors and styles found in the 1940’s Recruitment and Victory posters from the World War II era.

Women's history Month

March 2020

The observance recognizing women's contributions runs through the month of March and celebrates the struggles and achievements of women throughout the history of the United States.

Women played an immeasurable role during World War II, serving bravely and with distinction from the initial attack on Pearl Harbor to the last days of the Pacific campaign.

Nearly 350,000 American women served in uniform, both at home and abroad, volunteering for the newly formed Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (later renamed the Women’s Army Corps), the Navy Women’s Reserve, the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve, the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve, the Women Airforce Service Pilots, the Army Nurse Corps, and the Navy Nurse Corps.

days of remembrance & holocaust remembrance

APRIL 2020

The U.S. Congress established Days of Remembrance as the nation's annual commemoration of the Holocaust. The dates for Days of Remembrance and Holocaust Remembrance Day vary each year according to the Hebrew calendar. The observance also emphasizes the importance of guaranteeing that all Americans have access to the services necessary to enable them to work.

Days of Remembrance raises awareness that democratic institutions and values are not simply sustained, but need to be appreciated, nurtured, and protected. The Holocaust illustrates the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping in any society. Anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism, and racism can still be found throughout the world, including the United States.

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must—at that moment—become the center of the universe.” - Elie Wiesel, Holocaust Survivor

Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

The observance recognizing Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month runs through the month of May and celebrates the service and sacrifices of Asian/Pacific Islanders throughout the United States. 

The observance of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month is an occasion to remember the patriotism of AAPIs who have served, or are currently serving, in the Department of Defense and our nation. May was chosen as the observance month to commemorate the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States on May 10, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the transcontinental railroad completion on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks of that nation-unifying railway were Chinese immigrants.

This month, we recognize the Asian American and Pacific Islanders role in shaping our country as well as, the contributions they have made and continue to give to our country. Today they continue to make an immeasurable impact in defending our nation and humanitarian efforts around the world.

Annual notification of policies:

Employees of the Vermont National Guard can access the following policies on the Public Website.

  • Anti Harassment Policy
  • Reasonable Accommodation Procedures
  • EEO Resolution Request Procedures
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution

Hiring managers should all be aware of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's requirement for federal agencies to establish a benchmark of achieving 12% representation of persons with a disability among the T5 workforce, as well as a 2% representation of persons with a targeted disability.

Please direct any questions or concerns regarding the above to CPT Scott Detweiler, VTNG Equal Employment Manager: 802-338-3148 or john.s.detweiler.mil@mail.mil.

2017-2018 Joint Policy Memorandum Equal Employment Opportunity


Created with images by Kevin Wiegand - "Taken on top of Scrag Mt. in Northfield, VT." • Patrick Bald - "On Top of the World" • Justin Cron - "Instagram: @justincron" • Sonder Quest - "untitled image" • Kevin Wiegand - "Little Cabin On the side of a mountain." • Kevin Wiegand - "Captured in the at a mountain house in Northfield,VT."