Propelled by the civil rights movement of the 1960s and to counteract a national policy of segregation and inequality, the Department of Defense (DoD) mandated race relations training in 1971. The violent and nonviolent disorders of the late 1960s were the catalyst that convinced military leaders that race relations education must be provided to every member of the Armed Forces.
An inter-service task force examined the causes and possible cures of these racial disorders within the military. The task force, chaired by Air Force Major General Lucius Theus, resulted in Department of Defense Directive 1322.11. This directive established the Race Relations Education Board and in 1971, created the Defense Race Relations Institute (DRRI), the original name for DEOMI.
Today our education and training programs in human relations, equal opportunity, equal employment opportunity, and diversity remain the foundation in the building of leadership. Several courses and seminars have been added along with our core Equal Opportunity Advisor Course, to provide Service members in command or leadership positions with some level of equal opportunity and human relations awareness training. In addition, we advise DoD and other organizations on equal opportunity matters, conduct an extensive and progressive equal opportunity, equal employment opportunity, diversity, and human relations research program, and serve as a clearinghouse to monitor and disseminate research findings to interested agencies.
Since its inception in 1971, the Institute has enhanced mission readiness by fostering positive human relations throughout the DoD. That mandate has been carried to the Services by over 50,000 DEOMI graduates. DEOMI's graduates maximize organizational cohesion and maintain the highest degree of mission readiness while maintaining the DoD reputation as a place where all individuals have infinite dignity and worth.