Posted on July 12, 2021

Diversity in U.S. Spy Agencies Ticks Up, Report Finds

Warren P. Stroebel, Wall Street Journal, July 8, 2021

Racial minorities and women continue to be underrepresented at the upper echelons of U.S. spy agencies, even as the percentage of minorities working in the vast U.S. intelligence community edged up slightly last year, according to a new government report.


Current and former intelligence officials argue that, in addition to issues of fairness, a workforce comprising people of diverse backgrounds, cultures and languages is critical to spy agencies’ mission of interpreting an increasingly complex world for the president and other top policy makers.

“Promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion is fundamental to our democratic values and critical to meeting the IC’s mission,” Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said in a statement accompanying the study. {snip}

In recent years, the ODNI, Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and other agencies have undertaken multiple initiatives to attract and retain minority candidates, including outreach to historically Black colleges and universities. Fostering a diverse work culture is now a factor in managers’ performance reviews at some agencies.


As in previous years, the study found that the share of minority employees working in the U.S. intelligence community, 27%, was well below minority representation in the overall federal government workforce, 37.7%.