Historically, the talent pool of women has been underutilized in the national security sector. While women are making up a larger and more visible portion of the national security establishment, they still remain the minority of leadership positions. At the same time, the U.S. national security apparatus faces a vast set of threats to U.S. national security, to include recent challenges from China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and dispersed forms of terrorism from around the globe. The demand for the best talent in national security, the means to build and grow gifted, diverse teams, and the need for unique approaches to long-standing challenges, has never been higher. But what that means in practice is harder to define.
CNAS initiated this project to bring discussions of gender and inclusivity to national security audiences that do not typically embrace them. Weaving in the experiences and priorities of women into our broader work was a critical facet to this effort. But equally important was engaging women – and men – directly at all levels in national security about their experiences, what they think of the current conversation, what they need from allies in the field, and what they want to be asked.
Through podcasts, surveys, interviews, and events, we heard from those in uniform from the junior officer through Flag and General Officer ranks, and officials from the Department of Defense, the State Department, the intelligence community, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Security Council, staff from Capitol Hill, and many more.
Our research on Women in National Security details the experiences of women who have served or are currently serving through a collection of stories, survey results, podcast episodes, events, and publications, including a relaunch of our Voices from the Field series. To meet a growing demand signal in the field, we are also piloting networking and training platforms for both junior and senior women in national security. Going forward, we will occasionally release new content featuring women from all levels and expertise in the national security community. Join the conversation at #womeninnatsec, and join our mailing list.