CIA Establishes New Diversity Procedures

Report found the agency’s culture insufficiently inclusive.

The CIA is implementing new diversity practices following a report released this week that concluded the agency “does not sufficiently prioritize the development of its officers, hold itself accountable for maintaining a diverse and inclusive workplace, or consistently promote an inclusive culture.”

Director John Brennan, in a June 30 statement, said the Diversity in Leadership Study led by civil rights leader Vernon Jordan left him “deeply concerned that the senior levels of CIA did not reflect the diversity of the agency workforce or of the nation we serve, and that this problem had persisted despite repeated efforts by agency leaders to address it.”

The cultural, management and organizational issues that keep some women and minorities from advancing also showed up in earlier studies, he noted. “Given our global mission, no government agency stands to benefit more from diversity and inclusion than does CIA,” he said. 

Brennan ordered a set of remedies to be implemented during the next 12 months. They include:

  • By Oct. 1, Senior Intelligence Service officers will be evaluated on their actions to create, maintain, and sustain a diverse and inclusive environment; and
  • Within the next year, every officer on the senior leadership team will attend diversity and inclusion training.

Steps already taken by senior leaders, Brennan added, include his own appointment of a senior agency officer to implement the agencywide diversity effort. Other steps underway include:

  • Requiring supervisors to participate in a 360-degree feedback program to raise their awareness of employees’ perceptions;
  • Engaging regularly with employee groups to “hear firsthand about their concerns and priorities and to support their initiatives;” and
  • Establishing a Talent Center of Excellence to maximize and develop talent within the agency.

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