- Dr. Alyssa Ayres, Dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University
- The Honorable Gilbert Cisneros, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness
- Dr. Nola Haynes, Academic, Policy-writer and Advocate, Truman Security Fellow ‘23
- Akbar Shahid Ahmed (moderator), Senior Foreign Affairs Reporter, HuffPost
The "Diversity in National Security" panel at TruCon 2023 demonstrated Truman's ongoing commitment to diversifying the national security workforce. It focused on the progress made in building a military and national security workforce that reflects America's diversity, as well as the challenges that still need to be addressed, nearly two years after President Biden's Executive Order on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce.
Moderated by Akbar Shahid Ahmed, Senior Foreign Affairs Reporter for HuffPost, the panel featured the Honorable Gilbert Cisneros, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness at the Department of Defense. Cisneros acknowledged that there is much work ahead, but he stressed that the Department views diversity and inclusion as a strength. He emphasized that the Secretary of Defense prioritizes diverse and qualified individuals over mere names when considering appointments.
The discussion also delved into the barriers that people from historically marginalized groups face when entering the national security field, with a particular focus on exclusionary systems. Dr. Nola Haynes, an academic, policy-writer, advocate, and Truman National Security Project member, highlighted the additional challenges that individuals from communities of color encounter, specifically citing the security clearance process as a significant obstacle.
Dr. Alyssa Ayres, Dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, also participated in the panel, sharing efforts undertaken by the university to address entry barriers for students from diverse backgrounds. One key aspect of their focus is providing students with access to networks that can shape their future opportunities.