December 08, 2021

CNAS Launches Future of Government Service in National Security Project

Washington, December 8, 2021—Nearly 1.4 million civilians serve in national security-related departments and agencies across the federal government, but efforts to better understand and improve recruitment and retention within the field have been limited. Today, the Center for a New American Security is launching the Future of Government Service in National Security project— a two-year long research effort that will inform how the government can better attract a diverse array of civilian talent to serve in America’s critical national security sector.

Led by CNAS’ Military, Veterans, and Society Program, the project will conduct original research, surveys, and focus groups to generate new data on the current state of the civilian national security talent pipeline and the challenges, barriers, and opportunities associated with the recruitment and retention of civil servants in national security departments and agencies.

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“This initiative is an incredibly important step towards providing the federal government with a better picture of the national security workforce and the potential talent available to solve the nation’s most pressing national security challenges,” CNAS Senior Fellow and Military, Veterans, and Society Program Director Katherine Kuzminski said.

The project seeks to examine data and perspectives associated with individuals’ decision points regarding government service, including education, opportunities for entry into government service, promotion rates among career government employees, and avenues for senior leadership. The research will further examine the role of factors such as compensation and benefits, professional development opportunities, and diversity and inclusion efforts.

“The U.S. government must ensure that it draws on the best America has to offer throughout the public service ranks,” said CNAS CEO Richard Fontaine. “This new project will examine the current state of national security civilian employment and propose ways in which the federal government can access the talent necessary to compete in today's world.”

This project would not have been possible without the support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.


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