NDU Special Observances Calendar


The Department of Defense (DOD) celebrates several special observances and awareness months annually in support of Joint Congressional Resolution, Presidential Proclamation, and achievements of all groups that comprise the society of the United States. Since 1968, the Department of Defense (DOD) has supported ethnic observances through the development of local programs of recognition and many diverse activities. Activities are designed to enhance cross-cultural awareness and promote harmony among all military members, their families, and the civilian work force. These activities are extensions of the equal opportunity education and training objectives. They are set aside to recognize the achievements and contributions made by members of specific minority groups, women, and individuals with disability in our society. The focus of the observance should be directed towards encouraging interaction and not just recognition. For more information about DoD special observances and awareness months, please visit DEOMI's website

Women’s Equality Day, August 26, is a time to acknowledge the importance of the Women’s Suffrage Movement and its impact on the ratification of the 19th Amendment of the United States Constitution. It is also a time to raise awareness to challenges that may adversely affect the careers and advancement of women. Learn about this month's poster.






2023 Theme / Link to DoD Official Memo

Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday

16 January 2023

Public Law 98-144

Remember! Celebrate! Act! A Day On, Not a Day Off!

National African American/Black History Month

1-28 February 2023

Public Law 99-244

Inspiring Change

Women’s History Month

1-31 March 2023

Public Law 100-9

Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

1-30 April 2023

DoD Directive 6495.01

Step Forward. Prevent. Report. Advocate.

Bonus: Read the FY22 SAPR Report 

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Days of Remembrance

18 April 2023

16-23 April 2023

Public Law 96-388

Behind Every Name A Story: The Women

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

1-31 May 2023

Title 36, U.S. Code, Section 102

Advancing Leaders through Opportunity

Pride Month


1-30 June 2023

Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (USD P&R) Directive

Equality Without Exception: Pride in All Who Serve

Bonus: Read Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III's Statement on Pride Month 2023


19 June 2023

Public Law 117-17

Celebrating Freedom!

Women’s Equality Day

26 August 2023

Public Law 93-105

Continuing to Make History

National Hispanic Heritage Month

15 September-15 October 2023

Title 36, U.S. Code, Section 126


National Disability Employment Awareness Month

1-31 October 2023

Title 36, U.S. Code, Section 121


National American Indian Heritage Month

1-30 November 2023

Public Law 103-462



PLEASE NOTE: NDU lists only observances directed by the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (USD P&R) and as established by law, bill, or resolution of Congress. Nothing precludes an organization from creating their own theme or using previously published themes. Organizations are not required to limit their special observances to just those reflected here. Organizations are reminded that special observances are conducted to recognize the continuous achievements of all Americans to American culture and to increase awareness, mutual respect, and understanding. They are designed to enhance cross-cultural and cross-gender awareness and promote harmony among all military members, their families, and the DOD civilian workforce.