When the Air Force established an Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI), senior leaders chose Tawanda Rooney to lead it in an acting capacity. Rooney has a wealth of experience in the Air Force dating back to 1988. After receiving a bachelors degree at The Virginia State University, she earned an M.B.A. at the University of Maryland University College and began her Air Force career in 1988 as a budget and program analyst in the Management Support Office (a division of the Directorate of Space Programs, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition). In one of her many roles, Rooney served as Deputy Director for an information engineering and assessment laboratory with the ISSO, where she was responsible for the development of information management technologies that addressed critical intelligence priorities. She kept advancing in the Air Force ranks, eventually landing her most recent position in 2015 as Deputy Director of the Concepts, Development, and Management Division. According to her military profile, in that role Rooney advised the Director on the management and oversight of assigned organizations, programs, and developmental activities.
Concerning Rooney’s new role, it helps to get some background on the new Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
ODI was developed following the creation of the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force by former Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett in June, preceded by a review of racial disparities requested by Air Force Leaders. Following the review from the Air Force Inspector General, specifically targeting racial disparity, the Office of the Secretary of Defense recommended the creation of the ODI. The goal of the office is to promote equality across the entirety of the Air Force, and advance measures in “removing barriers and other practices that may have an unfair effect upon underrepresented Airmen and Guardians.”