- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Saying that the national security workforce isn’t as diverse as the rest of the federal government, President Obama directed leaders at the CIA and other agencies to try to attract more minorities, women and workers of different sexual identities.

In a memo, Mr. Obama said national security agencies must “draw upon the talents and skills of all parts of our society.”

“In broad comparison with the wider federal government, the federal workforce dedicated to our national security and foreign policy is — on average — less diverse, including at the highest levels,” a White House fact sheet stated.

The president cited research that diversity aids problem-solving, and said the government should be hiring a workforce at the Pentagon, State Department and intelligence agencies that reflects the nation’s differences in gender, ethnic and sexual identity.

“Policies that promote diversity and inclusion will enhance our ability to draw from the broadest possible pool of talent, solve our toughest challenges, maximize employee engagement and innovation and lead by example by setting a high standard for providing access to opportunity to all segments of our society,” he said.

The memo requires the assistant to the president for national security affairs, the directors of both the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management, to report to the president on the progress in implementing the “requirements of this memorandum” within 120 days, which would be after he leaves office in January.

White House national security adviser Susan E. Rice said the U.S. national security workforce “has not yet drawn fully” on the strength of the nation’s diversity.

“Minorities make up less than 20 percent of our senior diplomats and 15 percent of senior military officers and senior intelligence officials,” Ms. Rice said in a blog post, adding that “nearly 40 percent of the approximately 320 million people in the United States are minorities.”

“The leadership of men and women who may not share similar backgrounds lends much needed diversity of thought and creativity to our responses to some of the world’s toughest problems,” Ms. Rice said.

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