Biden's director of national intelligence says intel agencies need to 'do better' on diversity, equity, and inclusion

"I think there is no question that we have to do better on diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility," DNI Haines said.

Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal QC

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines emphasized the importance of "diversity, equity, and inclusion" for intelligence agencies during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on March 9, a meeting that was convened to discuss global threats.

Representative Andre Carson raised concerns about workforce development, demanding that Haines and other panelists explain how they plan to ameliorate the underrepresentation of minorities in American intelligence communities.

“What are your organizations doing to improve diversity when it comes to recruiting and retaining your workforces?” Carson asked the panel and Haines. “Does the IC need to devote more resources to professional development? How do you all plan on tackling those very apparent issues?”

“I think there is no question that we have to do better on diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility,” Haines replied.

Haines noted that there was a need for increased diversity, and highlighted recent budget requests aimed at boosting the presence of minorities in the intelligence community.

“I think you’ll see in our budget requests and our proposals in all of the work that we’re doing that … we see this as an area that we need to focus more intense resources and efforts,” Haines said.

Hispanic and Latino representation in in senior leadership positions in particular was one area that Haines said intelligence agencies lacked, and stressed the importance of reliable data to ensure accountability for diversity and inclusion efforts.

“In the senior leadership [of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence,] I look at the percentage of Hispanic and Latinos for example,” Haines said.

“It is, as you know, a little bit more than three percent, and that clearly does not reflect the country... We are also working across a range of other issues that we’ve seen to promote recruiting across the country in a variety of different communities to ensure that we’re reaching folks that don’t normally come to the IC or know about the IC,” she continued.

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