"Seven Point Communication: CNO Explains Navy's Intensified Race Relations Policies."
Commander's Digest. Vol. 13, no. 4. Washington, D.C.: GPO, November 30, 1972. P. 14.
SuDoc No.: D2.15/2
Excerpts from a November 10, 1972 speech by Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr., Chief of Naval
Operations, detailing his ideas towards eliminating racism in the military. Realizing that
the military may one day become all volunteer, he stressed that it was even more important to
"return to our oldest and most proven tradition. Command by leadership."
Seven Point Communication: CNO Explains Navy's Intensified Race Relations Policies.
On November 10, Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr., Chief of Naval Operations, explained the Navy's
intensified race relations policies to a number of ranking Washington-area flag officers.
Following are the concluding salient points of his remarks:
I am now directing, via this speech and in a communication to all Flag Officers, Commanders,
Commanding Officers and Officers-in-Charge, that every effort be made to:
In addition, I intend to use the Inspector General of the Navy as an "on-the-scene"
examiner of these problems on a continuing basis.
- Create an environment within their command that makes equal opportunity a reality and
discrimination, for any reason, an unacceptable practice;
- Ensure that NAVMINS and all other message and letter directives setting forth equal
opportunity policy, and race relations programs, be disseminated to, and discussed with,
every man and woman under their command;
- Place equal opportunity and race relations training at the same priority level in their
training programs for officer and enlisted personnel as professional performance in the
operational billet tasks assigned;
- Seek out and take appropriate action, either punitive or administrative, against those
persons who are engaging in or condoning discriminatory practices or who have violated either
the spirit or the letter of our equal opportunity policy;
- Similarly, seek out and reward those people who are particularly effective in assisting
them with programs to comply with the spirit of our policy in this area;
- Ensure that their minority affairs assistant has established a meaningful dialogue with
the minorities in their command, use him as an advisor, take measures to ensure he has ready
access to them, and initiate action as they deem appropriate based on his recommendations
utilizing the force of their office and subordinate chain of command, and
- Implement additional policies and programs to achieve within their command the concept of
Equal opportunity is a stated goal of our Commander-in-Chief, President Nixon, and the Human
Goals program of the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Navy and Chief of Naval Operations.
Equal means exactly that. Equal.
Having, I hope, made my positions clear on these several points, let me now speak on what I
believe is the key to addressing our racial difficulties.
No program promulgated by any Chief of Naval Operations can really change an attitude. Nor
can any CNO know every incident, or even respond to each incident. You cannot run a Navy, or
any large organization, if the top must provide all the solutions.
Nor can you bring about real change by obeying the letter and not the spirit of a program.
Uncomprehending response or response which lacks commitment from the "heart" –
no matter how correct – is essentially obstructionist. Just as obstructionist is a man
who puts an order in a drawer and forgets it.
What I am asking for, and what this Navy must have if it is to continue to fulfill its mission
– especially in an all-volunteer environment – is something more than programs.
We must not administer programs; we must lead men and women.
The even-handed leadership of men is what it is all about.
And it can only come with every senior leading every junior.
It is not a push to the far edge of the untried I am suggesting, gentlemen. It is a return
to our oldest and most proven tradition.
Command by leadership.