National Intelligence Director Dan Coats told Congress on Tuesday that he and his colleagues are still trying to convince Republican lawmakers to back proposals in the Intelligence Authorization Act that would enhance their ability to attract and develop talent from diverse backgrounds.
“I want to convince people that diversity and cross-cutting knowledge and expertise are absolutely essential for success and we have to be very resourceful and creative in order to bring together those folks,” Mr. Coats said during his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Sen. Richard Burr, the North Carolina Republican who chairs the committee, recently acknowledged that GOP lawmakers’ efforts to increase diversity in the intelligence community had been “frustrating.”
“One of the realities I think that when I look at a program like the Defense Department’s DREAM program is it tends to attract more African-American, Hispanic students, as well as Asian-Americans, people that are more likely to be married or be parents,” Mr. Burr said at a hearing in March. “Those seem to be counter-parts of what people think of as intelligence.”
James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, said that Republicans seem to be placing most of their efforts on recruiting nontraditional candidates when working with the Department of Defense, rather than the Executive Branch, which they control.