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     EEO/EO Complaints
     Alternative Dispute Resolution
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     Elijah E. Cummings Act
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     Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and

     Department of Defense


Pedro “Pete” Nieto
Director, Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity
Cell: (410) 508-5081
Office: (301) 222-6843

Kia Gunter
EEO Specialist



Special Emphasis Programs

Special Emphasis Programs

DMA and Components areas supports several Special Emphasis Programs which focus special attention on specific groups as required by law, regulation or Executive Order, in addition to the employment related concerns of groups where a need for special emphasis or employment concerns have been demonstrated.

Part 191—The DoD Civilian Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Program
Authority: 5 U.S.C. 30110 U.S.C. 113.
​​​​​​​Source: 53 FR 30990, Aug. 17, 1988, unless otherwise noted.

§ 191.4 Policy.

It is DoD Policy to:

(a) Recognize equal opportunity programs, including affirmative action programs, as essential elements of readiness that are vital to the accomplishment of the DoD national security mission. Equal employment opportunity is the objective of affirmative action programs.

(b) Develop and implement affirmative action programs to achieve the objective of a civilian work force in which the representation of minorities, women, and people with disabilities at all grade levels, in every occupational series, and in every major organization element is commensurate with the representation specified in EEOC and OPM guidance. Such programs, which shall be designed to identify, recruit, and select qualified personnel, shall be coordinated with the cognizant legal offices.

(c) Ensure that Civilian EEO Program activities for minorities, women, and people with disabilities are integrated fully into the civilian personnel management system.

(d) Assess progress in DoD Component programs in accordance with the affirmative action goals of the Department of Defense.

(e) Prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, mental or physical disability, or age.

(f) Eliminate barriers and practices that impede equal employment opportunity for all employees and applicants for employment, including sexual harassment in the work force and at work sites and architectural, transportation, and other barriers affecting people with disabilities.

[53 FR 30990, Aug. 17, 1988, as amended at 54 FR 15752, Apr. 19, 1989; 57 FR 35756, Aug. 11, 1992]

​​​​​​​What are Special Emphasis Programs?

Special Emphasis Programs are employment related programs which focus special attention on certain groups that are not represented or have less than expected participation rates in specific occupational categories or grade levels within the agency's workforce. The programs are an integral part of the Equal Employment Opportunity and Civil Rights Program. Their purpose is to ensure that agencies take affirmative steps to provide equal opportunity to everyone in all areas of employment and eliminate discriminatory practices and policies. Through various initiatives, the programs address the unique concerns of specific groups in achieving diversity, inclusion, and equality of opportunity in recruitment, hiring, development, training and advancement.

The Special Emphasis Programs

The Special Emphasis Programs (SEP) were established in the Federal Government to remove barriers to equal employment opportunity for groups that were traditionally not represented or subjected to discrimination in the workforce. Special Emphasis Programs were strengthened by two Executive Orders. In 1969, Executive Order 11478, Equal Employment Opportunity in the Federal Government, established the Equal Employment Opportunity Program, and implemented the policy of the Federal government to provide equal opportunity in employment to all individuals regardless of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability, or age.

In 2011, Executive Order 13583, Establishing a Coordinated Government-wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce, enhanced several Executive Orders, including EO 11478, by establishing that as the Nation's largest employer, the Federal Government has a special obligation to lead by example in attaining a diverse, qualified workforce. Our Nation derives strength from the diversity of its population and from its commitment to equal opportunity for all. Therefore, a commitment to equal opportunity, diversity, and inclusion is critical for the Federal Government as an employer.

Federal Women's Program (FWP)
This program was established to implement a recommendation of the President's Committee on the Status of Women and was later integrated into the Federal EEO Program after the issuance of E.O 11478 (August 1969).  The activities of the FWP focus on employment needs and problems of women as they relate to Federal personnel policies and practices.

Hispanic Emphasis Program (HEP)
This program was established initially by a Presidential Directive in 1970 as a Sixteen-Point Program for Spanish-speaking Americans.  It was designed to assure consideration of the needs and problems of persons of Hispanic origin in all aspects of Federal personnel management.  Hispanics are persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.

Disability Emphasis Program (DEP)
Formerly known as the Selective Placement Program (SPP) for the Handicapped, this program contains organized action plans and procedures which promote the hiring, placement, and advancement of employees with disabilities.  The  SPP has its modern origins in P.L. 89-554, codified as 5 USC 7153, and Presidential policy statements and regulations issued pursuant thereto.  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued instruction (501) on affirmative action plans for persons with disabilities. For information on a range of topics to help supervisors achieve recruitment and hiring goals, visit the OPM site located here:  https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/disability-employment/.

Veterans Emphasis Program
This program is directed at assuring that all veterans, particularly Vietnam Era and disabled veterans, have the full measure of employment in the Federal service.  The legal basis for the program includes the Veterans Preference Act of 1944 (5 USC 2108); non-competitive appointing authority for 30 percent or more disabled veterans (5 USC 3114), the Veterans Readjustment Appointment (EO 11521); and the Vietnam Era Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (38 USC 2104).  

Non-legislated or Non-mandated Programs
DMA and Components areas can address the employment-related concerns of Asian American/Pacific Islanders, American Indian/Alaskan Natives, and African Americans.