Col. Todd Dyer, 99th Air Base Wing commander, expressed his commitment to eliminating racial bias at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., during his first interview since taking command on June 11, 2020.
“We, like the rest of the nation I think, have a problem that we need to address,” said Dyer. “I’m proud to be part of an Air Force that is willing to address it.”
Dyer’s direction for the 99th ABW when it comes to systemic bias is in line with Air Force senior leaders’ directive to the Air Force inspector general to conduct an independent examination of racial disparities in discipline and advancement opportunities across the service.
“We are not immune to the spectrum of racial prejudice, systemic discrimination and unconscious bias,” said Gen. David Goldfein, U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff, in a message to commanders. “We see this in the apparent inequity in our application of military justice. We will not shy away from this; as leaders and as Airmen, we will own our part, and confront it head on.”
While the Air Force IG conducts their investigation across the service, Nellis leadership is beginning what they believe must be the first step in the process—listening.
“We need to begin the dialogue internally at the wing to discuss these issues and understand each other,” said Gen. Robert Novotny, 57th Wing commander, in a letter to Airmen in early June. “We need to capitalize on the fact that we have two ears and one mouth, and really listen. These conversations will be difficult, but necessary.”
Similarly, Dyer emphasized the importance of honest communication.
“I will tell you it starts with open dialog and that’s kind of where we’re at now,” said Dyer. “I don’t have all the answers, but we will be part of the solution.”
Dyer’s commitment to finding answers is part of his assurance to Airmen after taking command.
“I want to establish a command climate where my Airmen feel protected, respected and connected within their units,” said Dyer. “I’m proud to be part of a team that is going to get after trying to solve this.”
Nellis leadership’s pledge to stopping racial injustice and the Air Force IG’s investigation are necessary steps the force is taking to ensure the self-evident truths of the United States Declaration of Independence are granted to everyone.
Anonymous surveys will be available on www.af.mil for anyone who wants to provide feedback or wants to communicate with the IG team.