Amy Dahm tried nine times to convince the government that her complaint was being taken seriously for over a decade.
The President of the United States was elected last year Joe Biden Dahm said that he sexually harassed his wife and threatened to kill her if she didn’t comply. This led her to lose her diplomatic career.
Dahm testified about the alleged incident in three State Department offices and before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (which approves high-ranking State Department appointments), since 2014. In July 2021, the State Department’s primary investigative bureau, the Office of Civil Rights, found Dahm’s claims to be “unsubstantiated and without merit,” and a source close to Dahm’s alleged harasser maintains that is true.
But that office at State still has not heard from at least two of Dahm’s witnesses, deeming them not “relevant” The Sunday Review learned that they did not hear their testimony. In November 2022, staff at the Senate committee said the State Department’s investigation into Dahm’s allegation was incomplete, and that the department should hear from three witnesses whom Senate investigators interviewed.
The Office of Civil Rights — which has the sole authority to determine what an investigation should involve and when one has concluded sufficiently — does not currently plan to speak with those witnesses, The Sunday Review has learned.
Biden has nominated the State Department official to the position.
A separate complaint Dahm submitted last year to the State Department’s inspector general ended up at the agency’s Management Bureau, according to emails reviewed by The Sunday Review ― but the department is citing procedure to argue that it cannot say what, if anything, happened with that complaint. And Dahm shared her concerns with the White House last August, leading a White House official to pass them on to State’s Diplomatic Security bureau. Diplomatic Security Investigator interviewed her shortly afterward. However, the bureau refused to disclose the status of the investigation to The Sunday Review. Dahm stated that it had not provided any additional information.
Biden In his first year of office, he stated that America’s national security staff at State, Pentagon, and other agencies were suffering from extreme unhappiness. These barriers and others to diversity, equity, inclusion made it difficult for the United States to pursue its interests and formulate effective foreign policy. He promised change. But it was only two years later. Biden’s presidency, current and former officials say the Culture These national security agencies drive talented people from key positions and that these agencies We still have no system for reporting mistreatment allegations..
According to the Wall Street Journal, 44% said that they were victims of harassment, discrimination, or bullying in an internal survey conducted by State Department employees last year. review Survey results are still unknown. Of that 44%, most said they did not report their experiences because they did not believe the alleged perpetrators would face consequences or because they feared retaliation, while many who did file complaints were not satisfied with State’s response. At the Defense Department, officials have only implemented six of the 18 changes for improving diversity, equity and inclusion that a congressionally mandated commission recommended more than a decade ago, the Pentagon’s inspector general reported last October.
There are many officials who Biden The Sunday Review has found that national security personnel have made Equal Employment Opportunity claims against those they claim were discriminators, harassers, and racists. In response to lawmakers’ inquiries about the placement of staff members from minority groups in foreign policy hierarchies and whether or not the administration would publish progress reports regarding boosting diversity, the White House and State Department have mostly ignored them. Even worse, Biden For those who are from groups that have been historically marginalized, he said he would help to support them so they could bring new perspectives to the table and influence multiple policies. Biden Appointees who challenge Washington’s orthodoxies are now out of the government.
In the meantime, Republicans preparing Their new majority in Congress will allow them to contest policies the GOP says are meant to create a. “woke military” And “discriminate against straight white men.”
Sunday Review interviewed 10 former and current officials, and reviewed eight complaints to better understand widespread dissatisfaction. Biden. For fear of professional reprisal and other personal problems, most requested anonymity.
“Many of the people affected by the actions of this administration are first-time appointees ― we are outsiders, heads of our household, veterans, BIPOC, women, queer, and living with disabilities,” ” Biden Appointment Who is regularly in contact with a group political appointees that felt marginalized by national security agencies Many The administration has fired or expelled members of this group.
“We were simply political props for this administration,” The Appointment added.
“We were simply political props for this administration.”
– A Biden Appointee speaking to The Sunday Review
A second official stated that it was jarring. Biden The president’s concern for diversity is often a topic of conversation with his aides.
“It’s actually a lot worse because people are like, ‘Well, we fixed it!’ Before, at least we never said we fixed anything,” According to the official. “Now we’re claiming to fix things we haven’t fixed, and that I think is even more dangerous.”
Biden’s teAm is “proud that we have built an administration that looks like America,” a The Sunday Review was informed by a spokesperson from the White House.
“This includes foreign affairs and national security agencies where many of these communities have historically been underrepresented. In these agencies, 54% of appointees are women and 47% are people of color,” The spokesperson stated. “Appointees of color in national security agencies have also been promoted at a rate comparable to their representation (46% of all promotions vs. 47% of all appointees). We are committed to continuing to build on this work to ensure our government is more representative and more inclusive so we can better serve people from across our nation.”
16 February Biden issued a new executive order on the government’s approach to underrepresented groups, directing agencies to establish “Equity Teams” and identify leaders to be held accountable for achieving the president’s stated goal of reducing discrimination and other barriers.
Meanwhile, Dahm is still waiting to see if her complaint against her alleged harasser will be further investigated, if the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will agree to hold a confirmation hearing for him regardless ― or if Biden Will withdraw the nomination.
Were The alleged harasser will assume the new position. Dahm claims that the implications for national security could be catastrophic.
“In my experience, sexual harassers show a disregard for the rules that makes them more likely to commit other kinds of misconduct,” The Sunday Review was recently informed by Dahm. “Watching harassers move up the ranks undermines morale and officials who commit sexual misconduct are also vulnerable to blackmail from America’s enemies. We can do better.”
The Convoluted Search for Justice
For Dahm, it all began more than a decade ago — with potato salad.
At a social gathering, her alleged harasser’s wife approached Dahm over the spuds and gave her a pointed message, according to a signed statement that Dahm provided to the Senate committee: Do not email my husband unless I’m on the chain too.
“At the time, I was offended because I thought she was questioning my integrity,” Dahm was the one who wrote this statement. “I now wonder whether she either was aware of or was warning me of her husband’s capacity for inappropriate behavior.”
Two years later, Dahm’s alleged harasser brought her into a high-profile office where he was a manager ― a coveted position. He singled her out, giving her a corner office and roles on major trips, according to Dahm’s Senate statement. Dahm said that he complimented her appearance repeatedly and brought up marital problems to her. Dahm wrote: “I began to feel increasingly uncomfortable.”
Dahm emailed him asking for her permission to go alone after work. She declined and wrote back. One day, she decided to visit his office and discuss a document. While she was standing behind him to examine the document, he reached for her back and touched the back of her leg.
“This did not feel like an accidental touch, but that he was testing me for a reaction or making an overture,” Dahm wrote. “He immediately knew by the terrified look on my face that he had violated a boundary, and he said ‘I’m sorry.’”
Afterward, Dahm’s harasser “began to frequently criticize me,” She wrote this in her Senate Statement. “and openly badmouthed me to my supervisor, by saying that staffing me on an upcoming trip would be ‘scraping the bottom of the barrel.’”
“After I did not accept his advance,” Dahm stated in an affidavit submitted to the State Department that she was put on probation for two weeks and her harasser. “could not tell me why or how to get out of it, except he would know it when he saw it.”
The State Department’s procedures for performance issues require written counseling sessions, but Dahm said she never received any. She was not happy with the process. “highly irregular,” Dahm wrote to Senator, within weeks of the harassment incident, she had been removed from the team.
“I was left reeling and scrambling for a position,” Dahm signed the affidavit. Dahm stated in the Senate statement that the abrupt removal had made it difficult to find another post. Her experience was bittersweet. “humiliated,” As she said, “colleagues overtly wondered about my unexpected departure from such a prestigious post.” Dahm stated that one person was interviewed for a job in a new field. “openly skeptical,” She cried during an interview.
“No one knew exactly what happened, but they knew it was not good,” Dahm wrote.
“Please note I have doubts as to the breadth of the investigation.”
Amy Dahm in a 2021 Letter to Senate Counsel
A source close to her alleged harasser disputed Dahm’s version of events, arguing that According to the source, the harasser didn’t have the power to remove Dahm unilaterally. A group of office managers also believed that her performance issues were a problem. Another source claimed that Dahm was transferred to a job that would allow her promotions.
The Sunday Review interviewed five State Department staffers who had worked closely with Dahm, her alleged harasser. One of them declined to comment for this article.
“She was not performing up to the standards needed by the office ― people bring different skill sets,” said the official, who was not on Dahm’s direct team but on an adjacent team. “It would have been a collective decision [to reassign her] … these decisions are not made lightly.”
The Sunday Review reviewed a draft performance evaluation pertaining to Dahm’s time in the role, in which managers in the office — including her alleged harasser — praised her as hardworking and noted that multiple officials outside the team, like a staffer at then-Vice President Biden’s office, had complimented her work.
Dahm eventually found work in another State Department Bureau. Three years later, in 2014, she reported the harassment and retaliation, naming the alleged perpetrator, in a signed affidavit to State’s Office of Civil Rights and in a conversation with an investigator at the office. The Sunday Review asked the State Department to not tell them if their report had led to action. Its regulations mean that Dahm, too, never heard about the result ― or lack thereof.
Dahm was fired in 2017 and became a prominent voice. Concerning its response to allegations of sexual harassment. She offered advice to other women trying to navigate the department’s reporting and accountability mechanisms. She provided information for independent probes by State’s inspector general in 2018 and by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights 2019 In 2019, she suggested improvements through the work on landmark legislation known as The SHAPE Act A high-profile Truman Center is also available National Politique report.
Dahm received in 2020 word that the State Department was planning to list her harasser as a promotion. Dahm then shared both her affidavit, and the fuller statement with an attorney at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“I am writing to protect other women,” Dahm wrote the Senate statement. The “misconduct had far-reaching consequences for me personally and for my career, health and financial well-being.”
Dahm discussed the topic with Dahm, and she interviewed her in 2020 as well as 2021. Emails reveal. Dahm received an email from a State Department attorney informing her of the launch of an investigation. “possible sexual harassment” And Per an email sent to The Sunday Review, she was asked to be interviewed.
Dahm sent the affidavit to her seven years ago from the civil rights department. Interview request “felt jarring after years of no contact with” In a statement made to Senate investigators, Dahm stated that the Sunday Review had been reviewed by his office.
Dahm had a conversation with the attorney, during which the attorney simultaneously transcribed Dahm’s testimony. An attorney called Dahm on July 9th 2021 to give her a draft transcript of their interview and ask her to return it. “suggested edits” Per an email sent to The Sunday Review, Dahm requested contact information of witnesses that she mentioned within three days. Dahm sent an email two days later to her attorney stating: “I’ve already seen some things that are not right … What’s the big rush with this investigation?”
On July 16, Dahm’s attorney wrote an email to the State Department attorney asking for an extension, because both Dahm and her lawyer were dealing with health problems. Hours later, Dahm’s attorney sent an email to the State Department asking for an extension. “This case has been pending at its initial stages for quite some time, and I really need to act on it.”
“I can give you until Monday 7/19. If I don’t receive edits … I will use the draft as the final,” The attorney closed. Dahm said to The Sunday Review that she was quick to meet the deadline and sent corrections to her draft to the attorney.
Dahm gave the attorney three possible witnesses, which she also wrote to Senate investigators. The Sunday Review was informed by two of the potential witnesses who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of professional reprisal that they were not interviewed by the State Department attorney.
On July 29, the civil rights office issued a memo to the alleged harasser ― later reviewed by The Sunday Review ― that said it found the claim unsubstantiated and would not be recommending further action.
Shortly thereafter, Dahm sent a letter to the Senate counsel. “It is not a complete surprise that State was unable to substantiate my harassment complaint, given the passage of time between my report and the investigation.”
“Please note I have doubts as to the breadth of the investigation,” Dahm continued, arguing that the State attorney’s “pressure” She was unable to access her records or speak with more witnesses.
Dahm learnt that 2022 was the year. Biden had nominated her accused harasser for an even higher position ― a revelation that she said made her whole body start shaking.
Again, she contacted the foreign affairs committee. This time, she also reached out to the White House, at least four senators’ offices and Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, the State Department’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, per emails seen by The Sunday Review. (Abercrombie-Winstanley declined to comment.)
Dahm spoke with two Senate counsels last summer and early fall, sharing with them her 2014 affidavit to the State Department, her previous statement to the Senate committee and the list of witnesses she’d provided to the State Department the previous year, according to an email shared with The Sunday Review.
By November, the counsels had interviewed Dahm’s three witnesses as well as an additional fourth witness. They held a call with Dahm and sent her a follow-up email in which one of them wrote that they planned to ask the State Department’s civil rights office to “investigate further, including speaking with those whose names you previously provided with whom they didn’t speak.”
Unable to provide more information, an aide from the Senate said that there were limits to discussing particular nominations. “We vet all foreign relations nominees rigorously but generally do not comment publicly on the vetting,” The Sunday Review was informed by an aide. In an email
Separately, Dahm’s outreach to the White House led a Presidential Personnel Office staffer to direct her complaint to the State Department’s Diplomatic Security According to an email sent by The Sunday Review, bureau was last August
Diplomatic Security Officer who investigated the allegation stated that the matter was “very time sensitive” An Aug. 26 email. According to emails reviewed and approved by The Sunday Review. He interviewed Dahm September 1, 2022.
Dahm stated that she had never heard any further information from Diplomatic Security. Diplomatic Security The Sunday Review declined to confirm whether the investigation was concluded by bureau
Dahm decided to use a third reporting mechanism: She submitted a complaint through the State Department inspector general’s hotline on Nov. 29, 2022, a screenshot of the online submission form shows. The inspector general responded to her in a Nov. 30 email that said State’s management bureau would “address your concerns.”
Today, Dahm is unsure of what has happened with her various complaints, and therefore without many avenues to appeal decisions that she’s not sure even exist.
“As a Department, we embrace and champion diversity, equity, and inclusion as a source of strength. The Department has no higher priority than the health, safety, and security of our workforce,” According to a spokesperson from the State Department, The Sunday Review was informed. “Although we cannot comment on individual personnel matters, we can confirm that allegations that an employee has violated a law, regulation, or Department policy are taken seriously. When such allegations are substantiated, the Department may take disciplinary action, up to and including separation, when appropriate. The Department does not take such actions lightly and must comply with all required procedures before doing so.”
It has been two weeks since Biden’s presidency, he issued a memo He directed U.S. diplomatic agencies to develop a new approach to their staff. He acknowledged in a State Department address the same day that many national security personnel felt marginalized or victimized, and that supporting staff was vital for restoring the U.S.’s international standing after Donald Trump’s presidency. “We want a rigorous debate that brings all perspectives and makes room for dissent. That’s how we’ll get the best possible policy outcomes,” Biden said.
Biden’s team urged international affairs experts to come aboard as appointees. Many were inspired and optimistic, and many of the career professionals felt more motivated by the opportunity to have their skills make an impact than being ignored or attacked.
However, national security agencies have multiple officials from the marginalized who say they were quickly confronted by resistance. Although problems resulting from systemic discrimination over a long period were bound to arise, many disillusioned former and current administration officials claimed that they have overcome them. Biden The administration made poor choices which exacerbate tensions.
“When we came in, the diversity was poorly placed,” The Biden Appointment Who is in touch and able to help dissatisfied coworkers “Most of it was placed in marginal positions, not in areas that had more power like Middle East policy, European affairs or East Asia and the Pacific.”
Many Appointees who are from communities that were underrepresented received titles such as “special assistant” Or “senior advisor,” Instead of traditional government posts such as deputy secretary
A White House official responded to criticisms on background by noting that Biden Among other members of historically marginalized groups, he appointed the first Black defense secretary as well as the first female director for national intelligence. “In key national security roles, we absolutely believe it’s imperative to have public servants that look like America,” According to the official.
But they It was acknowledged that, while 47% have been to people of colour in political positions, non-white staff are also at the forefront. “are represented at higher rates at the junior level,” Their proportion rises up to 51%. “We believe it’s incredibly important to build the pipeline,” According to the official.
Many Appointees of underrepresented communities had a difficult time getting hired “have the juice” Real power is possible only by using the Biden Appointment said.
“They’ll in a heartbeat give a person of color a racial justice or [diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility] position. If you go into [a policy area] where it’s all white, they cheaply accommodate it, then over time … a lot of people don’t get promotions ― but they’ll give you one or two if it’s communications or Africa policy or something that is not your priority,” The Appointment added.
Disputes over political sensitivities ― particularly the prospect of the Biden administration becoming more progressive ― helped create toxic environments for a range of officials.
An ex-national security appointee and a woman who is of color revealed to The Sunday Review that her colleagues dismissed her ideas as “disgusting”. “woke.” Her team’s work suffered as a result, she said: They spent hours debating whether the office should acknowledge Juneteenth, a federal holiday, and their boss made controversial public remarks about “woke” culture. A White House official pointed out that this allegation was presented to him. Biden’s 2022 remarks (Around Juneteenth.
A group of mostly white women had worked previously together in government and felt the appointee was singled out. “The ‘Becky bunch’ clique of white women has seized this moment,” The appointee requested anonymity out of fear of professional reprisal.
The former-appointee was subject to racial discrimination. “hostility” In a signed declaration, the doctor said that her illness had affected her mental as well as physical health. The Sunday Review reviewed her statement. The doctor stated that the appointment was still committed to her job duties, despite the challenges.
The Sunday Review was informed by the appointee that she had been “verbally accosted” A white male member of her team. Her team supported her harassment claim in a group conference call. She was frequently accused by her supervisor of taking unapproved time off in group email reviews conducted by The Sunday Review. She claimed that her office started a process to terminate her position.
An email that she sent to the top leaders of her agency was written by the appointee. She stated that her head office had treated her differently because of “unlawful race discrimination,” Create a “toxic, psychologically unsafe and unbearable work environment.” The treatment led to the then-appointee filing an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint, per the doctor’s treatment.
The former appointee stated that there was no reply to her email.
“They give you no resources, they give you no support, and their microaggressive behavior just mounts and mounts,” The appointee stated. She said that she was eventually affected by the incident. “daily attacks” That she started having panic attacks at work..
“I don’t want to hear any pandering commentary from any of these agencies while we’re on the heels of the murder of Tyre Nichols or at the onset of Black History Month when you are causing this kind of harm against people of color ― especially women of color and Black women ― that’s instigated by white women and perpetuated by others due to their own fear of retaliation,” The Sunday Review spoke with the former appointee.
The Sunday Review received an official from the White House: “We can’t comment on specific comments or complaints but … The Biden-Harris administration does not tolerate discrimination, bias or harassment of any kind.”
The appointee was informed by a third party about her job loss before being told that her appointment was ending. This was according to a message she sent White House officials and shared to The Sunday Review. The email stated that the appointee had previously shared with White House officials her experiences of harassment and that they had promised to support her. However, she never received a response from them again. The Sunday Review was informed by her that neither the message she had sent nor another two months later were responded to by The White House.
When asked about the claims made, I was told that a Biden An official from the administration told The Sunday Review “After an individual is hired, each agency is responsible for its own personnel matters and for ensuring their employees follow their agencies’ codes of conduct. Each agency is also responsible for maintaining an office culture that meets the high standards of this administration by ensuring it is welcoming, inclusive, and free from harassment and discrimination.”
Appointee terminated, and another appointee The Sunday Review has been informed by appointees who are of color that they have voiced frustration at David White, an African veteran who manages the Presidential Personnel Office’s national security portfolio. According to them, some appointees believe he is not supporting officials representing underrepresented communities. They feel that he pushes them into difficult work environments and moves to more powerful positions or leave the administration. The Sunday Review reviewed several email chains that White sent, where appointees sought his support when they were facing difficulties at work.
White received credit from a top administration official for his work to integrate people of colour in security-related roles.
“There is a difference between [White’s] role of identifying good candidates to serve in the administration and fill vacancies with highly qualified and capable individuals … and then someone who’s having a problem or issue at work that should be reported to their agency’s human resources department,” According to the official.
Staff members from the underrepresented community are represented across all agencies Biden Administration leadership attempted to give the impression of supporting diversity by elevating white women in foreign policies, as a result of a wider national trend. trend. You can describe the circle using different names. “the Becky bunch” To “the Madeleine Albright group,” You can point to examples like the Pentagon appointment of white women to fill the vacancy most of the senior roles This did not apply to white men.
Some employees who were subject to harassment or discrimination from their superiors have tried to push back but had no choice but to make a complicated situation work. Historically, it was flawed System to ensure accountability
An ex-appointee, a decorated veteran who asked anonymity in order to avoid professional reprisal, said that she had been harassed since the start of her employment at the Sunday Review Biden administration. In the beginning, she was a novice. “hazing” In an email to The White House Presidential Personnel Office, and during an interview with The Sunday Review, she stated that career staff had advised her. According to the appointee, she sought out advice from veterans who were in her position. Biden administration. “As first-time appointees, none of us really knew how to maneuver in this situation,” She said.
An official from the White House stated to The Sunday Review, “The administration opposes harassment.” “Any form of hazing is absolutely unacceptable.”
During one of the most tense points in her tenure ― as the U.S. government rushed to help Afghans after the Taliban took over their country ― The then-appointee was confronted aggressively by a colleague. She signed a discrimination complaint form that she shared with The Sunday Review.
The Sunday Review was told by her that she asked her colleague to quit a U.S. military base because he had violated protocol. The colleague, a man larger than her, launched into expletives, walked up so close to her she could feel his spit hit her face, and, fists shaking, asked how dare she transmit the commander’s message, the former appointee said. While she held her ground, he continued to ignore her request to keep out of her private space. She also asked to continue the conversation when he was more emotional.
A member of another team claimed she witnessed the moment when the former-appointee requested her colleague leave. According to the alleged attacker, she was “yelling and pointing” At the time-appointee creating “potentially a very aggressive situation,” Witness, not authorized to comment on record, said it.
Later that day, the former appointee said, she filed a complaint to her agency’s investigative office, which never told her whether the report led to any action.
Fear was the result of this experience. She said that her military service had aggravated her trauma stress.
The appointee was then fired five months later at a 4:30 pm meeting, without prior notice. She wrote her message to Presidential Personnel Office.
“There was no forewarning of this action, no counseling, no coaching, no indication from any of my leadership … I had expressed to [the White House] and my boss previously that I was being hazed and bullied by career staff, was excluded from meetings and was not given equal opportunity to work on policy ― with no action from them to rectify the situation,” Sie wrote. “The way I was treated … was disrespectful, undignified and not in line with the values that this administration purports to hold.”
More than a week after the appointee’s termination, a White House official told her via email that the Biden Administration was thankful for her services, but couldn’t conduct an interview to exit or give any additional information. She received her agency’s response. The White House official noted that the appointee could use channels for reporting harassment through the agency ― which the appointee told The Sunday Review she had already done.
“All appointees are held to the highest ethical and professional standards. While we cannot comment on the specifics of any case out of respect for the privacy of the individual, termination of employment is a step that agencies generally only take in the most egregious of circumstances and after multiple communications,” A spokesperson for the White House told The Sunday Review via email.
According to the ex-appointee, it was a difficult situation. “I felt a lot of shame and it’s caused real financial hardship,” According to The Sunday Review, she spoke out. “This shouldn’t have happened.”
She is still being governed by the man that allegedly intimidated and berated her.
The exodus Biden Administration officials with historically marginalized background contrast with Washington stalwarts Stay in powerful jobs despite public criticismThe current official stated that. The case of Brett McGurkAn alumnus of the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations, who organised Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia last summer and has since faced criticism. “Powerful people do not like him but he’s surviving,” McGurk’s official statement. “It tells you the privilege that he has.”
The frustration of personnel who believed that 2022 would be the year will come by 2022. Biden Community empowerment would be a major factor in bringing about change and little-heard perspectives began coming out into the open.
In May, Politico reported Staff were referring to the fact that many Black staff had quit White House. “Blaxit.” (Commenting at Politico. White House press secretary Karinejean-Pierre stated). Biden “is committed to continuing historic representation for Black staff and all communities,” adding: “This is a normal time for turnover across the board in any administration and Black staff have been promoted at a higher rate than staff who are not diverse.”)
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) held its August meeting. wrote State Department officials should note that Fritz Berggren was still employed by the agency, despite being fired more than one year ago. unmasked as the owner of an antisemitic website. More than 70 legislators had already signed the aforementioned petition by October. letter that called Berggren’s continued employment “beyond alarming.” (State declined to comment on Berggren’s case, citing privacy concerns.)
The Wall Street Journal published in the same month the results of the State Department survey. It showed continued low morale, fear of reporting misconduct and published detailed information. Recognize “the department’s shortcomings” In a Statement to The Journal, Tony Blinken, Secretary of State said that: “We’re facing them head-on and tackling this imperative with the urgency and priority it deserves ― and with the resources to back it up.”
The head of the Presidential Personnel Office, made a public appearance in November. This was something that current and past officials who were discouraged still refer to regularly. Appearing The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is also known as “America’s Black think tank,” Gautam Raghavan spoke Biden’s team prides itself on “building and maintaining a really diverse and inclusive team,” It appreciates the outsiders “holding us accountable.”
His focus for the next two-years is on “retention and supporting people once we hire them,” Raghavan stated that it is common for marginalized candidates to be hired in positions where they are not familiar.
“If we don’t support them from day one, and invest in their growth, we’re not going to be successful,” He went on. “That’s not a good look for us ― and it’s substantively bad for the American people.”
‘Keep Keeping It White’?
Watchdogs and lawmakers are working together to ensure that the rule of law is upheld Biden His promise to bring about progress. The Sunday Review discovered that the White House has not responded to two important letters sent from Capitol Hill.
First, a 2021 misive was previously not reported in which Rep. Joaquin Castro and his colleagues requested demographic data from Blinken about staff members selected to the highest ranks at the State Department. A spokesperson for the department told The Sunday Review that they were unaware of the contents of this letter. “As a general matter, the Department does not comment on congressional correspondence.”
A second letter from Congress, sent by the Democrats to Jon Finer, the deputy national security advisor in the House Intelligence Committee, sought updates. Biden’s working group on the national security workforce and suggested that the group’s quarterly reports be made available to the public.
Mark Hanis of Inclusive America, an advocacy group, said that the letter from 2022 was not reprinted. “any substantive engagement” With the inquiry. According to The Sunday Review, White House staff briefed Senate and House staffers about diversity initiatives following the letter. However, the quarterly reports have not been made public.
“If you talk to [the Presidential Personnel Office] or [the Office of Personnel Management] or various chief diversity officers, at the beginning they would say, ‘Our hands are full ― we’re working on it,’” Hanis spoke of the importance and benefits of inclusion. “While that’s obviously true at the beginning of the administration … two years in, it’s less valid because the dust has settled and the results are very clear.”
The White House did not respond to the criticism.
Hanis studies overall diversity within agencies such as State Department and Pentagon. He also tracks whether or not people from historically marginalized groups are promoted to the highest tiers of the agency.
“It’s the most diverse administration in history, but it’s not yet equitable,” Hanis stated that he was concerned about certain aspects of the Defense Department’s highest ranks, including outreach to religious minority groups and restricted promotion for people with intersecting marginalized identity, such as being both a woman and person of colour.
“It’s particularly important that there’s diversity, equity and inclusion at every level so it’s not the classic thing we see in corporate America with protected classes in the most junior roles. We see that a lot in the national security sector still,” Hanis said. “If we can’t see the outcomes … it takes away from their argument that they’re making progress.”
Bishop Garrison worked at the Pentagon. Biden for 18 months as the agency’s first-ever top diversity officer to hold senior executive rank.
Garrison stated to The Sunday Review, Biden deserves “an A- to a B+” When it comes to the retention of diverse talent, and improving accountability for misconduct. The Pentagon has seen significant improvements, including the creation of a committee on harassment and sexual assault in military and compiling an extensive report on violent extremism among soldiers and personnel. Howard is also part of the largest Defense Department-to-university partnership ever.
“They’ve taken so many of these different historic steps to help protect, support and uplift women and marginalized communities within the department,” Garrison added.
He said that attrition is a common problem in presidential offices. Most officials go through burnout, or look for other opportunities.
Garrison recognized, however that relationships with people are important in bureaucracies like Pentagon. It can also be challenging to build them for national security specialists who were previously excluded.
“Everyone is so busy … and a lot of members of marginalized communities often have not had the same opportunities at the outset of their careers,” He said.
Biden, who has worked in politics since the 1970s, has developed his own substantial network ― and, as a congressional aide who works on diversity issues noted, “people of color and women of color have not historically been part of that network.”
The aide also cited the administration’s choice to place many personnel from marginalized groups in posts “where you kind of have to figure it out for yourself… you have to navigate this environment where you’re starting at a disadvantage.” An aide compared the decision to the one made by the coalition. Biden depended on to secure the presidency: a diverse group of volunteers and the largely Black voters in the South Carolina Democratic primary who helped him become his party’s nominee in the first place.
Staff who feel stuck in making decisions regarding leaving the organization, coming out with their stories, or staying in the administration are trying to balance some of their lingering hopes in. Biden They are exhausted by the agencies they believe keep them out.
Some feel that internal fighting must go on for the next two year.
“I still want to not be pushed out completely,” One Biden appointee. “All they’re going to do is keep keeping it white.”
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