Intelligence Community Held 12 Diversity and Inclusion Seminars Last Year

Took Google’s ‘unconscious bias training’

Diverse group of professionals
Diverse group of professionals / AP
June 29, 2016

The intelligence community held 12 seminars on diversity and inclusion last year, including "unconscious bias" training and a women’s summit that focused on "emotional intelligence."

An employee resource group on "Islamic Culture" is also offered for employees of the National Security Agency to provide "cultural sensitivity."

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released its annual demographics report this month, which detailed the number of community-wide events the intelligence community held during fiscal year 2015.

One event, last September, was run by the former "Global Diversity and Talent Program Manager" for Google, Judith Williams.

Williams, who is now the "first global diversity chief" for Dropbox, talked about "Google’s journey in developing unconscious bias training" during the seminar.

"Dr. Williams was impressed by the similarities between the [intelligence community] and Google both being focused on diversity as a mission imperative," the report said.

Unconscious bias training rests on the theory that "everyone is a little bit racist or sexist." The training "encourages people to feel comfortable calling out and being held accountable for unconscious bias."

Williams trained J.J. Abrams and his production crew before they filmed Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Google has used the training to expose "biased culture," such as conference rooms named after male scientists. The training also led to senior executives yelling "unconscious bias!" after a man asked two employees who were sharing an office, "Which one of you does the dishes?"

The Justice Department is also using "implicit bias" training, announcing Monday that over 30,000 agents will undergo training to prevent "unconscious bias from influencing their law enforcement decisions."

In addition to learning how "unconscious bias" affects their spying abilities, the intelligence community held numerous other events on diversity.

An intelligence community career fair used "online diversity booths" to answer diversity questions, and the government held a summit for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Allies.

"More than 260 IC employees, including many senior executives, participated in person and through video teleconferencing," the report said of the summit. The theme was "Advancing Diversity and Inclusion by Telling Our Story."

The government recently held its Fifth Annual Intelligence Community Pride Summit, where employees participated in breakout sessions on "Getting Inclusive," "Building Trans Inclusivity," and "Boots to Rainbow Suits."

The intelligence community held two women’s summits, including one that included sessions on "The Perception of Parenthood in the Workplace, and the Retention of Women."

Another women’s summit "focused on recognizing supervisor and employee perceptions of women in the workforce, taking ‘stretch’ assignments, emotional intelligence, incorporating transparency in career growth, and establishing strategies to career success."

The report also lists employee resource groups that are available to intelligence community employees. At the top of the list are the Agency Network of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Officers and Allies (ANGLE), and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Officers and Straight Allies (IMPACT).

Other groups available to FBI and CIA employees include "Life Inclusion for Everyone" and a group on "Islamic Culture."

The Islamic Culture group is offered to employees of the National Security Agency, a spokesperson for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence told the Washington Free Beacon.

"Although there is not an Intelligence Company-wide Islamic Cultural employee resource group, the NSA does have such a group for personnel with four main goals: mission education; cultural sensitivity; recruitment; and retention," the spokesperson said.

"It is through leveraging diverse perspectives that we draw strength, increase engagement, unleash creativity, and solve difficult challenges inherent to the IC’s mission," Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a release announcing the report.

The report found that the number of minorities in the intelligence community increased from 21 percent to 25 percent in four years, but remains lower than the rest of the government, of which 35 percent are minorities. Only 12 percent of senior members of the intelligence community are minorities.