Engineering Design for Policy: Generating Value-Focused Diversity and Inclusion Strategies at West Point

Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)

Systems Engineering

Publication Date


Publication Title

Proceedings of the Annual General Donald R. Keith Memorial Conference

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


In 2015, the United States Military Academy (USMA) published a five-year Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan (DISP) to help achieve a key organizational objective: to prioritize diversity and inclusion throughout USMA. Between 2015 and 2020, the DISP contributed to significant progress in the institution’s diversification efforts, but it still left much to be desired in areas of equity and inclusion. To leverage the power of their increasingly diverse student-faculty population, USMA must establish strategic level, policy-driven directives that provide a greater level of organizational focus on equity and inclusion. This approach not only helps redress existing structures of inequity and exclusion within USMA, but also provides cadets with opportunities to develop into inclusive leaders of character who are more prepared and more inspired to lead a diverse Army organization. This research applies a rigorous engineering design method—the Systems Decision Process (SDP)—to identify instances of inequity and exclusion, design and evaluate policy alternatives, and present seven stakeholderdriven policy recommendations that foster more inclusive and equitable conditions. These recommendations call for increased data collection and internal organizational assessments, heightened levels of subordinate empowerment, and an integration of diversity, equity, and inclusion into key areas of cadet academic and professional development to better enable their growth into leaders of character.

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