The National Security Agency (NSA) had a banner year in 2022, with their efforts to build a sustain a diverse workforce. Meeting the Agency’s missions in foreign signals intelligence and cybersecurity, all while building a workforce that better represents the U.S. population is a major undertaking. But the NSA reports that 15.6% of their new hires this past year self-identified as a person with a disability.

“We are proud of our strong hiring program, but that is only the first step in an employee’s journey,” said Teisha Anthony, Chief of Talent Management. “We need to be equally committed to inclusion and accessibility to fully support the people we bring on board.”

NSA Works on Hiring and Retention

The NSA has upped the hiring ante lately, sending out an all call to the public to try to get more talent. But it’s not enough to just try to hire people – you have to work to retain them too. NSA had the People with Disabilities Employee Resource Group (PWD ERG) recently collaborate with the Cybersecurity Directorate (CSD) by hosting a panel discussion about ways to boost accessibility to help retain the best and brightest to support NSA’s mission.

When it comes to making sure every employee has what they need to be successful at their job, it’s been challenging for the NSA to keep both security measures and employee support balanced. A representative from the Office of Physical Security said that medical devices have grown increasingly smarter in recent years, which has posed a security challenge that the team is working hard to address: “We’re actively engaged with medical device users, the PWD ERG, Research Directorate, and technical subject matter experts from across the Agency to identify and implement new mitigations while providing the greatest possible accommodation for affiliates who rely on these devices for their health and well-being.”

Other Efforts to Support People with Disabilities

In a separate effort, CSD launched a new corporate initiative that offers many printed materials in braille to benefit Agency employees with disabilities. Other NSA organizations have undertaken similar campaigns, heeding the call to ensure reasonable accommodations for every employee.

“Providing support to the PWD population is absolutely critical to the success of NSA’s mission,” said the chair of the PWD ERG. “There’s been a lot of improvement in this space, but there’s still room to grow.”

“We won’t be able to maintain an up-to-date understanding of our adversary without continuing to hire the best and brightest disabled employees.”

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Jillian Hamilton has worked in a variety of Program Management roles for multiple Federal Government contractors. She has helped manage projects in training and IT. She received her Bachelors degree in Business with an emphasis in Marketing from Penn State University and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.