Spy agencies disproportionately white, male

Spy agencies disproportionately white, male
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Employees at U.S. intelligence agencies are overwhelmingly and disproportionately white and male, according to internal figures.

A recent “strategic human capital plan” shows that employees at the nation’s 17 spy agencies are 77 percent white and 62 percent male. The country at large, meanwhile, is 62 percent white and 49 percent male, according to the latest Census data. 


The report also showed that the workforce was fairly evenly split between staffers in their 30s, 40s and 50s. Just 15 percent of employees were either younger than 30 or older than 60. 

The employment data, which is from fiscal year 2011, is likely to trouble officials and critics who have pushed for more diversity throughout the U.S. government.

Intelligence officials “strive to have a workforce that is representative of the U.S. labor force,” they wrote in the plan, which covers the years 2012 through 2017.

The two national security professors who uncovered the intelligence community document — Damien Van Puyvelde and Stephen Coulthart — warned that the government was not doing enough, especially when it comes to Hispanic workers.

The intelligence community “has some catching up to do lest it fall even further behind,” they wrote in a Defense One op-ed this week. 

Among other factors, the two professors at the University of Texas at El Paso wrote that financial demands on new immigrants can make it harder for them to get coveted intelligence jobs. Close ties to foreign family members can also turn into roadblocks when new workers seek to gain security clearances.  

“This all means that our students possess backgrounds and experiences and linguistic skills that simultaneously offer great potential value to the [intelligence community]—and keep the [intelligence community] from hiring them,” Van Puyvelde and Coulthart wrote.