Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations Honor Guard Team compete during National Police Week in Washington D.C. (James Tourtellotte/CBP)

Lawmakers Want to Encourage Diversity in National Security Hiring

Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, and Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), vice ranking member of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, introduced the National Security Diversity and Inclusion Workforce Act of 2018 in order to encourage diversity in U.S. national security hiring practices.

This bill, a companion to legislation introduced in the Senate by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), would ensure the collection of data on workforce diversity, help expand opportunities for minorities in both entry-level positions and for career advancement, and promote accountability for department or agency leadership, according to Ros-Lehtinen’s office. In March 2011, the Military Leadership Diversity Commission demonstrated that women, Hispanics, and African-Americans are underrepresented in leadership positions at the Department of State, the intelligence community, and in our nation’s armed forces.

“Our nation is strengthened by diverse points of view and a workforce that reflects our country’s identity. I’m proud to introduce this bill with my colleague, Gerry, in order to promote diversity in our national security workforce,” said Ros-Lehtinen. “The threats our nation faces require that we think creatively and take varying experiences into account to protect our fellow citizens. This bill will help ensure that more women and minorities have a seat at the table when some of the most crucial decisions our country grapples with are being made.”

Connolly called “diversity is a unique source of strength for American society, our economy, and our national security.”

“We must ensure that our federal workforce reflects the American people it serves,” he said. “I have collaborated with federal employee groups to promote diversity within federal agencies, and I welcome this opportunity to partner with Rep. Ros-Lehtinen to take a comprehensive approach to enhancing diversity in our national security workforce.”

The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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