A diverse workforce that represents the nation it’s serving is something a part of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion conversation as we tackle the issues of today. So what does utopia in the national security workforce look like?
“We want diversity of thought to be accepted,” says Lauren Buitta, the founder and CEO of Girl Security. “I don’t imagine kind of a peaceful national security space, but I think one in which difference of opinion is actually valued, both systemically and through institutional policy, is key.”
ClearanceJobs sat down with Buitta to discuss viewing our national security policies through an equity lens, so that leaders understand the decisions we make in the name of national security and all of the cascading effects that follow. How will these issues affect women, girls, or other marginalized communities? Because all of these issues aren’t siloed.
EMPOWERING THE NEXT GENERATION OF GIRLS IN NATIONAL SECURITY
“We do little talking and work create space for women’s voices in security,” Buitta notes.
Girl Security is preparing girls, women, and gender minorities for national security through equity-informed learning, transitional high school-to-college training, and relationship-based mentoring. The organization is engaging girls sooner, at a natural entry point when they are taking classes like civics, in hopes for them to learn about what security means.
By empowering girls to play a role in security girls forge an understanding of national security shaped by their lived experiences. Girl Security works across the U.S. virtually to ensure the most historically underrepresented and underserved populations, and under-resourced communities have access to financially-supported, cutting-edge programming through different modalities, so they can prepare themselves for a future workforce shaped by security challenges that require their leadership.
The long time obstacle to younger girls being interested in national security careers is similar to STEM: exposure. Girl Security utilizes the STEM modeling approach for women’s participation, because similarly between the two, we have not been achieving the gains that most would hope for, and this could be attributed to national security and the corresponding career fields lacking in schools or other community touch points for careers – national security is just not a part of it in the classroom.
The pillars in which Girl Security hopes to break through barriers to reach young girls and help them to explore security issues include learning, training and leadership, and placement in national security careers. Through specialized curriculum designed with women national security gurus, this community equips participants with key concepts, frameworks, and insights to provide a strong foundational understanding of the field, while also empowering them to challenge the existing norms that have long-defined the national security field, through pathways in cyber, law, policy, business, advocacy, and STEM.
Creating a pipeline for the next generation of leaders will have a knowledge deficit if we don’t reach the right people. This includes the bright minds of the next generation of women in the workforce.
There are a couple of different ways to consider what a national security utopia would look like. An easy one is just having a workforce that looks for more like more like the country is a good start.
Click here to register for the Intelligence and National Security Alliance’s The New IC: Empowering Women and Engaging Men, where Lauren Buitta will discuss how to empower the next generation of female leaders as a part of a larger panel, moderated by our very own Director of Content, Lindy Kyzer.
Looking for other women focused networking events? Register for the ClearanceJobs Women in Tech networking event.