Although the majority of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees come from “underrepresented racial and ethnic groups,” the agency is hiring a Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the recommendation of a special Inclusion Action Committee (IAC) created after George Floyd’s death. The head of the Homeland Security agency created after 9/11 to protect the nation’s transportation system says the new Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer will report directly to him and will help drive cultural change, establish a new leadership principle focused on supporting and sustaining an inclusive culture and ensure that performance plans for TSA executives focus on inclusive leadership. Despite a 55% racial and ethnic minority staff, the agency with 60,000 employees will work to ensure it is inclusive and that diversity is reflected at all levels, according to an extensive report published by the inhouse IAC.
The effort is part of a robust movement by the Biden administration to incorporate racial equity across all federal agencies. The plan was launched back in January 2021 when the president issued an executive order to advance racial equity and support for underserved communities through the federal government. The president’s document claims that “entrenched disparities” in laws, public policies, and private institutions have denied equal opportunity to individuals and communities and that the health and climate crises have exposed inequities while a “historic movement for justice has highlighted the unbearable human costs of systemic racism.” Therefore, the order states, the federal government should pursue a “comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.” It further says that “by advancing equity across the Federal Government, we can create opportunities for the improvement of communities that have been historically underserved, which benefits everyone.”
In the last year many key federal agencies have implemented racial equity plans as per Biden’s order. The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued an Equity Action Plan to advance equity for marginalized and underserved communities. The Department of Labor dedicated $260 million to promote “equitable access” to government unemployment benefits by addressing disparities in the administration and delivery of money by race ethnicity and language proficiency. The Treasury Department named its first ever racial equity chief, a veteran La Raza official who spent a decade at the nation’s most influential open borders group. The Department of Defense (DOD) is using outrageous anti-bias materials that indoctrinate troops with anti-American and racially inflammatory training on diversity topics. The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) created an equity commission to address longstanding inequities in agriculture. The nation’s medical research agency has a special minority health and health disparities division that recently issued a study declaring COVID-19 exacerbated preexisting resentment against racial/ethnic minorities and marginalized communities.
The TSA’s case is different because the agency already has plenty of racial and ethnic diversity, making a Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer seem like overkill. Nevertheless, the agency created the IAC, a “coalition of diverse TSA leaders” tasked with devising a strategy to enhance current programs, introducing innovative solutions toward achieving a positive culture and ensuring that the agency is a fair and equitable organization built on trusted relationships. In its report the IAC writes that that “the current climate around racial inequality requires us to think differently about inclusion in the workforce.” Besides hiring a new diversity and inclusion chief, the IAC made a number of recommendations to meet the TSA’s new diversity and inclusion goal. Among them are establishing an annual “Year of Inclusion” campaign with themes ranging from “Belongingness” to “Equity” and “Empowerment.” The panel also recommends starting a new podcast series to “broadcast powerful, positive reflections involving TSA’s diverse workforce.” A Diversity Index should be created to measure how the TSA is building and balancing diversity at the middle and upper management levels, the IAC writes. It will help measure the level of diversity in a group, with a higher number indicating a more diverse workforce. “It considers different racial and ethnic groups and includes gender ratios across and organization,” the TSA diversity and inclusion panel writes in its report.