A new plan aims to retain and recruit diverse experts.
By Corri Zoli & Brian Holmes
(AFCEA Signal | March 1, 2021) For many in the U.S. intelligence community, choosing the profession was neither a career goal nor even a consideration until later in life. Few set out to join the agencies that comprise the community while in high school or college. This pattern—usually based on a knowledge gap—needs to change immediately to meet the United States’ national imperative for a talented and diverse workforce.
Because the U.S. intelligence community’s federal workforce is responsible for a disproportionate impact on the country’s security and has global implications, leaders must take a more proactive stance, driven by their external academic engagement programs, to meet their own staffing strategies. The 2019 National Intelligence Strategy clearly expresses this imperative. In addition, the need for a workforce of experts also requires using innovative engagement solutions for intelligence community advisers to understand better and even drive technology advances in real time to broaden their own knowledge base.
The reasons for the current makeup of intelligence community employees are many. Historical unfamiliarity with the community can produce a schizophrenic public perception, resulting in an overly homogeneous workforce. In addition, a deficiency of education about a potential career in the field creates an inherent barrier to entry for many potential employees; therefore, a smaller pool of candidates for the agencies to draw on.
Unfortunately, this paradigm is counter to research that shows intelligence community agencies would benefit from socially diverse groups, which are more innovative and better at solving complex nonroutine problems, a typical environment for an intelligence officer …