DOD does away with diversity training modification for contractors

Pentagon photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ned T. Johnston 

The Department of Defense is no longer enforcing parts of a fall executive order about diversity and inclusion workforce training after a California judge blocked parts of the order last month.

John Tenaglia, the principal director of Defense Pricing and Contracting within the Office of the Secretary of Defense, issued a class deviation memo that revises and overrules an earlier memo that put the executive order's policies into place for defense contractors.

The executive order had targeted aspects of diversity and inclusion training it labelled as "destructive ideology," but a U.S. district judge blocked the parts of the order that had to do with grant recipients and federal contractors late last month.

The DOD memo negates changes to contracts made across the department to put the policy in place.

The order had included the threat of suspension or cancellation of contracts, as well as the rendering of organizations as ineligible for future contracts, but the new memo removes any threat of sanctions for noncompliance. It also instructed officials not to include the clause enforcing the executive order in new contracts and to remove it from existing contracts and replace it with the modification included in the new memo.

So far, the agency hadn't been fully complaint with the order's provisions about contracting, according to a report by the DOD's Office of the Inspector General.

The executive order had included instructions for the Inspectors General at agencies to review their agency's compliance with the executive order by the end of last year and then annually. On New Year's Eve, the DOD Inspector General released their evaluation.

Nineteen of the 21 contracts reviewed for the report didn't include a clause enforcing the executive order like the order required for contracts issued on or after Nov. 21, 2020. The reviewed contracts were issued between Nov. 23 and Dec. 1, according to the report, which also included recommendations to remedy that lapse.

"Representatives from the Military Departments and DoD agencies stated in writing that the contract provision was inadvertently omitted from the 19 contracts," the report stated. "They will issue contract modifications to incorporate the contract provision."

The Defense Department was more in line with the executive order's mandate on training within the agency and the uniformed services, however. The report stated that all diversity and inclusion training has been suspended in the military departments and Defense agencies, "pending review and approval by OPM," an approval required by the order. The Inspector General's report stated that the department is scheduled to submit the training materials to the personnel office by Jan. 15.

About the Author

Natalie Alms is a staff writer at FCW covering the federal workforce. She is a recent graduate of Wake Forest University and has written for the Salisbury (N.C.) Post. Connect with Natalie on Twitter at @AlmsNatalie.


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