Intelligence Community Could Suffer Major Brain Drain
One of the big challenges facing the next administration will be retaining qualified individuals to serve in all areas of government. There's special concern about the large number of baby boomers set to retire in the coming years, since they will take with them much of the government's institutional knowledge.
A loyal reader alerted The Eye to some statements made at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on Thursday that raise such concerns about the government's intelligence workforce. Members of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission told the committee that a terror attack involving weapons of mass destruction is likely to occur somewhere in the world by 2013. But the Commission's written statements also said this:
With regard to the intelligence community, the Commission recommends that the Director of National Intelligence accelerate the integration of effort among the counterproliferation, counterterrorism, and law enforcement communities to address WMD proliferation and terrorism issues; strengthen expertise in the nuclear and biological fields; prioritize training and retention of people with critical scientific, language, and foreign area skills; and ensure that the threat posed by biological weapons remains among the highest national intelligence priorities for collection and analysis. We also call on the President and Congress to build a national security workforce for the 21st century; we need to attract and retain people with critical scientific, technical, cultural and linguistic skills in all agencies.
A 2003 report by the Partnership for Public Service sounded an early alarm on the matter of recruiting and retaining qualified individuals in the homeland security and intelligence fields. The report reads in part that:
"federal employees responsible for our defenses against bioterrorist attacks constitute a civilian 'thin blue line' that is retreating both in terms of capacity and expertise. While the federal government employs a number of highly educated, high-performing employees committed to our biodefense, it is commonly the case that the current state of our civil service frustrates attempts to field an effective corps of biodefense experts."
The report also suggests that "We say that we are fighting a war against terrorism, but
the contrast between our military and our civilian systems could hardly be starker."
Keep these reports and statements in mind as we wait to hear who President-elect Obama picks to lead the nation's intelligence agencies and wait longer still to see if recruitment and retention issues arise during the inevitable confirmation hearings.
| December 12, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Administration, Agencies and Departments, Revolving Door, Workplace Issues
Save & Share: Previous: Issa: ‘No Limit’ to What Oversight Committee Will Investigate
Next: Eye Opener: Dec. 12, 2008
Posted by: realtimer | December 12, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: wevans11 | December 12, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Samson151 | December 12, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: syoung29 | December 12, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: arnoldz1 | December 12, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: ChasRyder1 | December 12, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: rwyoung | December 12, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: tunatofu | December 12, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.