Diversity Is America’s Untapped Competitive Advantage
This article was published at www.inkstickmedia.com
The United States is fortunate to possess one of the most diverse, creative, and well-educated populations on the planet. Yet regardless of this great reservoir of talent and in spite of the appeal for fresh perspectives and new ideas from our leaders, we’ve essentially asked the same old national security workforce to come up with them, and failed to take advantage of this competitive edge, largely due to structural constraints of our own making.
One thing national security leaders from both parties agree on is that the United States has entered a renewed era of great power competition. America finds itself, they say, in a three-way scramble for the 21st-century that places our security and prosperity very much at risk, and that requires the smart application of every aspect of our national power to win.
They’re right. A bitter and emboldened Russia seeks to knock the United States off its pedestal and a risen and ambitious China intends to replace it on that pedestal outright. Over the last six months, the failures of a decrepit national security apparatus remarkably unsuited for contemporary challenges has been placed in high relief. Serious bi-partisan studies warn the United States may lose its next war.
But today a fundamentally broken human capital system makes bringing young people into national security positions far more difficult than it needs to be. An archaic background investigation process built for a bygone age was designed precisely to keep most Americans out and to let only the right ones in. The security bureaucracy favors those who already hold security clearances (such as veterans, who are predominantly white and male and who mostly hail from a handful of states), and is either discouraging or outright disqualifying for many Americans who have badly-needed outsider perspectives.
AN ARCHAIC BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION PROCESS BUILT FOR A BYGONE AGE WAS DESIGNED PRECISELY TO KEEP MOST AMERICANS OUT AND TO LET ONLY THE RIGHT ONES IN.
Together, the last century’s creaky governing mechanisms have proven unable to deliver on the promise of…