The Diversity and Inclusion Office at the CIA just launched a strategy for both recruiting more transgender individuals and making sure existing employees don’t put up a fuss.
The three-year plan is the CIA’s chance to “weave diversity and inclusion deep into the fabric of our Agency,” which reflects the Obama administration’s priorities.
“We will continue to enrich our workforce by targeting diverse communities across the United States to meet our talent needs, with dedicated programs for citizens of African, Asian, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Native American descent; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Individuals; Persons with Disabilities; Veterans; and Women,” the CIA wrote in its plan, according to The Free Beacon.
From 2016 to 2019, the goal is to increase the presence of marginalized demographics in the agency, though it’s not clear what unique skills transgender individuals bring to the table, in comparison to ethnic groups, who usually have valuable linguistic skills in high demand.
For CIA Director John Brennan, the point of LGBT recruitment is to enable the agency to draw from a wide variety of perspectives.
“Embracing and leveraging diversity through an inclusive culture fosters innovation, news ideas, and new insights which is at the heart of what we are charged to do and is what will drive mission success,” Brennan wrote at the beginning of the strategy.
Not only must diversity, inclusive and equality feature heavily in the agency, but all voices must be “heard, respected, and valued.”
To make sure goals are met in an appropriate time frame, the CIA pledged to hold itself accountable so it can attract and retain top talent.
The CIA will implement training efforts to emphasize the importance of diversity and inclusion in leadership and development programs and will establish a pipeline to funnel diversity hires to top positions. Any barriers to this effort must be eliminated.
A key barrier will likely be the reaction of employees to the new hires, which is precisely why the CIA is set to unfold “unconscious bias” training, in order to “deepen diversity and inclusion awareness and expertise among all officers through corporate-wide unconscious bias training, speaker series, and other learning opportunities.”
The Obama administration has also pushed inclusion for transgender individuals in the military. Although gender dysphoria is still grounds for discharge from the military, the services have elevated discharge authority for this diagnosis to the highest levels, making it nearly impossible to separate transgender individuals from the military. A transgender work group review is currently underway, with the assumption that unless compelling reasons are presented to keep transgender individuals out of the military, the ban will be removed.
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