by Thomas Catenacci
A top House panel approved the 2022 intelligence community funding package, including a provision requiring officials to brief Congress on their diversity initiatives.
The Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) — passed by the House Intelligence Committee in a bipartisan voice vote on Thursday — would require the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to periodically issue reports with “demographic data and information on the status of diversity and inclusion efforts of the intelligence community,” according to the bill’s text.
“The bill passed out of the committee today is a strong bipartisan package, and I would like to thank all of our Members and staff on both sides of the aisle for working diligently to contribute to and shape this legislation,” Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the committee’s chairman, said in a statement after the committee greenlit the IAA.
Previous IAA packages have ordered the ODNI to report on diversity demographics, but the bill passed Thursday appeared to be the first to require information on inclusion efforts.
For example, the IAA approved by the GOP-controlled Senate Select Committee on Intelligence mandated an ODNI report on hiring practices employed “to assure quality and diversity in the workforce of the intelligence community.” It also ordered the ODNI to “establish standards for collecting data relating to attrition in the intelligence community workforce across demographics.”
However, the language on “diversity and inclusion efforts” in the bill approved by the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday wasn’t included in last year’s version of the IAA.
The ODNI has also published multiple diversity reports, and its most recent report highlights the improving diversity efforts within the intelligence community. A January 2017 report from the ODNI — ordered by the Intelligence Community Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity office – contained 36 findings and recommendations for how the intelligence community could improve its diversity efforts.
“Across all grade levels, the need for a more diverse and inclusive (intelligence community) workforce was viewed as imperative, while at the same time, disappointment was expressed that the issues of bringing a more diverse workforce together in the (intelligence community) were still pervasive,” the 2017 report stated.
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Thomas Catenacci is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.