DIA aims for a strong, skilled and satisfied workforce
Cybersecurity is a hot hiring category, and broad tech opportunities exist for both entry-level and experienced pros at this critical intell agency
The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), a Department of Defense (DoD) combat support agency, is an essential member of the United States intelligence community. With more than 16,500 military and civilian employees worldwide, the DIA is a major producer and manager of foreign military intelligence. The DIA deploys globally alongside warfighters and interagency partners to defend America’s national security interests.
Established in 1961, the DIA has been instrumental in shaping significant events in U.S. history, from the first major challenges faced during the Cuban Missile Crisis to current threats from terrorist movements, insurgencies and arms proliferation.
“Our CIO seeks degreed and/or experienced IT professionals,” says Deborah Hartman, director of human resources at DIA. “We’re currently looking for individuals with skills and experience in cybersecurity, systems administration, network administration, data center management, network engineering, enterprise architecture, application engineering and telecommunications.” Cybersecurity is the current top focus, she notes.
Rigorous recruitment efforts
According to Hartman, the DIA CIO participates in DIA-sponsored recruitment events and job fairs at colleges. “While visiting colleges, we meet with career service representatives and host information sessions,” Hartman reports. “The information sessions have been extremely valuable in our recruitment efforts. We’re able to inform students about our agency’s mission and how their degrees translate to actual jobs. We can have a focused discussion with students. We also use these sessions to promote our student internship programs.”
The DIA’s recruiting team finds and hires both experienced and entry-level diverse professionals through career fairs, outreach events and diversity-focused professional organizations. DIA employees who are subject matter experts in the major occupations often work with DIA recruiters to address specific field-related questions.
In addition to traditional vacancy announcements to fill positions, DIA recently added a new tool to recruit and hire qualified individuals: the DIA talent pool. “Under the DIA talent pool, qualified candidates can be identified, interviewed, screened, and in some instances processed for hire even before a position is identified,” Hartman says. “This pool allows the agency to have candidates ‘on the shelf,’ decreasing the amount of time it takes to fill vacancies.”
Vacancy announcements, marketing and branding campaigns, and the efforts of the DIA recruiting staff are all important tools, but the greatest recruiting resources are employees themselves, Hartman says. “DIA employees are encouraged to identify potential future employees. Employees can encourage their friends, family and colleagues to seek employment with the DIA.”
The DIA has an active program to fill entry-level positions as well, which includes traditional university-based recruiting at campus job fairs. “Campuses are chosen not only for particular backgrounds and majors such as IT, foreign languages, international relations and other subjects, but also for the diverse nature of the student bodies,” she says.
In addition, the DIA is building long-term programs with select universities under the auspices of the agency’s academic outreach program. “The agency is the executive agent for the intelligence community’s Centers of Academic Excellence,” Hartman says. “Universities selected as part of the DIA’s academic outreach become ‘feeder schools’ for the future workforce, supporting the ‘seeds to trees’ concept.”
Equal opportunity, affinity groups and mentoring
The DIA’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) office provides training to raise awareness of the government’s and agency’s commitment to uphold EEO tenets and create an environment that allows individuals to reach their full potential. “The agency has six special emphasis programs,” she says. “Programs are conducted by collateral duty program managers and managed by the EEO office’s leadership. In tandem with several DIA affinity groups, they support EEO initiatives and provide essential feedback to agency leadership.”
The DIA’s support/affinity groups include Federally Employed Women (FEW), Blacks in Government (BIG), Women in Intelligence (Wii), Asian Pacific American Council (APAC), 1st Nation (for Native Americans), Deaf in Action, Global Equality (for LGBT employees and allies), and Hispanic Americans Committed to Excellence (HACE).
In addition, the DIA recently completed the annual Management Directive 715 required by the EEO commission, Hartman says. This policy guidance is used by federal agencies in establishing and maintaining effective EEO programs. “We use it to continually evaluate the state of the agency as it relates to promotion, succession planning and career advancement for all employees, especially those from underserved groups,” she says.
“The DIA also has an outstanding mentoring program; it is diversely populated and supported throughout the agency,” Hartman adds. “New employees learn about this opportunity during their on-boarding process. The agency created a website, videos and literature to market the positive effects of mentoring. Feedback has been very positive and the program continues to grow.”
Provisions for family
Several DIA programs are designed to help employees achieve a better work/life balance. “We provide flexible workplace arrangements that include telework, part-time employment and job sharing. We have partnered with the child development center at the Joint Base Anacostia Bolling military installation in Washington, DC to give our employees nearby access to child care.”
Nursing mothers rooms are equipped with hospital-grade breast pumps for nursing mothers who have returned to work. “The DIA was a pioneer in the intelligence community in providing reserved parking for expectant mothers in their last month of pregnancy,” Hartman says. “We call this our ‘stork parking program.’ These initiatives support the DIA’s commitment to its workforce.”
Defense Intelligence Agency
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