As the Intelligence Community (IC) calls for more diversity of thought to address an increasingly complex, diverse, and dynamic threat landscape, the cognitive differences observed in neurodistinct groups such as those with autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and dyslexia can be advantageous for intelligence work. Individuals with these neurodistinct conditions bring exceptional strengths in areas such as visual processing and cognitive originality, comprise a considerable and growing portion of the general population, and remain underemployed compared to their neurotypical counterparts. In other words, the neurodiverse community represents a potentially valuable and largely underappreciated source of new talent for the IC.
We recommend the IC pursue an intentional and purposeful neurodiverse talent program to support the intelligence mission. This includes better understanding the composition and needs of the IC’s existing neurodistinct workforce; increasing awareness and acceptance of neurodiversity within IC organizations; and increasing recruiting, hiring, and retention of neurodistinct talent.
Read more research and analysis for the Intelligence Community in our Intelligence After Next paper series.