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Intelligence After Next: Enabling Neurodiverse Talent in the Intelligence Community

By Maria Redman , Teresa Thomas

2023 NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE STRATEGY

Goal 2: Recruit, Develop, and Retain a Talented and Diverse Workforce that Operates as a United Community

The Intelligence Community (IC) should pursue an intentional neurodiverse talent program to support the intelligence mission, including better understanding the composition and needs of the IC’s existing neurodistinct workforce and increasing recruiting of neurodistinct talent.

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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.

About Intelligence After Next:

MITRE strives to stimulate thought, dialogue, and action for national security leaders developing the plans, policy, and programs to guide the nation. This series of original papers is focused on the issues, policies, capabilities, and concerns of the Intelligence Community’s workforce as it prepares for the future. Our intent is to share our unique insights and perspectives surrounding a significant national security concern, a persistent or emerging threat, or to detail the integrated solutions and enabling technologies needed to ensure the success of the Intelligence Community.

MITRE has published more than 20 Intelligence After Next papers since 2020. Read them here.

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