President Barack Obama has called for greater diversity in the national security workforce which includes the departments of State, Defense, Justice, Treasury, Homeland Security, the Intelligence Community and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Obama said in a presidential memorandum published Wednesday that the national security workforce is less diverse than the rest of the federal government based on data from associated agencies.
The memorandum’s guidance aims to encourage a data-driven approach to address transparency and accountability as well as the consideration of practices, research and experience from private and public sectors.
The guidance also seeks to support ongoing diversity and inclusion efforts under Executive Order 13583 and through the leadership of the Diversity and Inclusion in Government Council which includes actions on gender, race, ethnicity, disability status, veterans, sexual orientation, gender identity and others.
The memorandum aligns with government efforts to boost diversity in the national security workforce such as EO 13714, Foreign Service Act of 1980, Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 and the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.
Obama directed agencies to publicly disclose the state of diversity and inclusion in their workforces; collect and analyze more voluntary applicant flow data to help agencies assess the inclusiveness of their recruitment process; and determine additional categories for voluntary employee data collection.
National security workforce entities shall also conduct stay and exit interviews or surveys; expand opportunities for professional development and career advancement; and form a review process for security and counterintelligence factors that cause assignment restrictions.
The memorandum also urged agencies to create a reward system for leaders and supervisors that support diversity and inclusion efforts; collect and distribute voluntary demographic data of external advisory committees and boards; and support training on unconscious bias, inclusion and flexible work policies.
Obama also required the assistant to the president for national security affairs to report on the national security workforce’s progress 120 days after the date on the memorandum and on an annual basis afterward.