The IC details its struggles with diversity

Shutterstock imag (by Benjamin Haas): cyber coded team.

The intelligence community lags behind the federal workforce overall when it comes to diversity, according to a report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

For the first time ever, the ODNI released its annual workforce demographics report. It showed that there are proportionately fewer women, minorities and people with disabilities working in the intelligence community than in other federal agencies or in the U.S. workforce as a whole.

In a June 10 blog post, the ODNI announced that it was releasing the report as, "the latest in a series of steps shedding light on the IC's struggle to recruit talented officers who mirror the diverse country they serve."

According to FY2015 data, 24.6 percent of intelligence workers were minorities, 38.5 percent were women and 7.9 percent were identified as people with disabilities. The percentage of minority workers has increased 1.4 percent since 2011, a slight gain in five years. However, the percentage of women in the intelligence community has remained about the same.

Women earned 43.9 percent of promotions and 46.8 percent of honorary awards, a rate above their representation in the IC workforce.

While ODNI has made slight gains, officials said they must do more to keep pace with the federal workforce. In the intelligence community minorities are less represented in promotions and awards and they make up only 12 percent of the senior pay level. Women are well-represented through GS -12, but taper off at the higher levels.

"While we have made progress, the data indicates greater work needs to be done to create a more diverse workforce," said Rita Sampson, Chief of the ODNI’s Equal Employment Opportunity & Diversity office, which coordinates inclusion efforts across the IC.

In 2015 intelligence agencies initiated programs aimed at diversity training, including unconscious bias workshops, and promoting diversity and inclusion as part of effective leadership. The CIA, the National Security Agency and the U.S. Air Force adopted inclusion performance objectives as part of performance evaluations for senior executives. The IC also has hosted summits for women, people with disabilities, and the LGBT community.

In a May ODNI summit on diversity, Director James Clapper announced plans both to release the demographic report and to improve the diversity situation on his watch.

"I’ve got 240 days left in my tenure," he said at the May 26 event. "I expect the outcome of today’s summit will include bringing something to me that I can act on, something I can take to the intelligence community component directors, something we can implement within 90 days."

About the Author

Bianca Spinosa is an Editorial Fellow at FCW.

Spinosa covers a variety of federal technology news for FCW including workforce development, women in tech, and the intersection of start-ups and agencies. Prior to joining FCW, she was a TV journalist for more than six years, reporting local news in Virginia, Kentucky, and North Carolina. Spinosa is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Writing at George Mason University, where she also teaches composition. She earned her B.A. from the University of Virginia.

Click here for previous articles by Spinosa, or connect with her on Twitter: @BSpinosa.


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