Secrecy News

ODNI Workforce Profiled in Human Capital Plan

Demographic information concerning the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Intelligence Community as a whole is provided in a newly-released ODNI Strategic Human Capital Plan, 2012-2017.

As of 2012, the total Intelligence Community workforce was 76.6% white, and 61.6% male, both higher than the overall federal workforce (which was 65.6% white and 55.9% male).

Intelligence agencies need to do better, wrote Damien Van Puyvelde and Stephen Coulthart of the University of Texas at El Paso in a recent opinion piece. (The ODNI Human Capital Plan was obtained under FOIA by Prof. Van Puyvelde.)

“To properly understand a wide world of actors and adversaries, the U.S. intelligence community needs a diverse workforce. The good news is that the IC understands this; the bad news is it’s still largely white and male. It’s time to pay more attention to the various barriers that keep members of some key demographics from joining up,” they wrote. See “The Intelligence Community Must Remove Barriers to Minority Recruitment,” DefenseOne, January 25, 2016.

The ODNI Plan does affirm the value of diversity. However, it uses the term in two distinct senses: ethnic or racial diversity (“We strive to have a workforce that is representative of the U.S. labor force”), and diversity of backgrounds, skills and perspectives related to the intelligence mission (“ODNI requires a diverse workforce with a deep, collective understanding of global political, economic, social, scientific, technological, and cultural developments that affect U.S. national security”). While there is undoubtedly overlap between the two types of diversity, they are not the same.

“The average age of the ODNI workforce — cadre and detailees — is 44 years, and 37 percent are age 39 or under,” the ODNI document¬†also states. (“Cadre” employees are those hired by ODNI, while “detailees” were hired by other agencies.)

Employee job satisfaction within the Intelligence Community is comparatively high, according to a recent survey publicized by ODNI.

“The IC finished in first place in national security and second overall — up from fourth place in 2014 — among large agencies that employ more than 15,000 full-time permanent employees,” the ODNI news release said.

The survey did not distinguish among the member agencies of the Intelligence Community, some of which are bound to be more satisfying than others.