Guidehouse and #NatSecGirlSquad Analyze State of Diversity in National Security

Survey highlights perceptions of the national security sector and examines barriers for women and minorities from participating in the field

Washington – A new study released by Guidehouse and #NatSecGirlSquad, “What It Looks Like vs. What It Is: Building Competent Diversity in National Security,” revealed that approximately 56% of respondents do not consider national security careers a welcoming environment for women and minorities, among other key findings.

The results shared in the report are the voices of more than 800 members of the #NatSecGirlSquad community, a for-profit social impact business revolutionizing how to recruit, retain, promote, and support a competent and diverse national security workforce.

“The intent is for this research to serve as a further catalyst for the conversation about what we, collectively, can do to overcome diversity challenges, both on the part of those working or interested in working in national security and the organizations that employ them,” said John Saad, partner and national security sector leader at Guidehouse.

Respondents reported significant barriers to entry, namely the computerized HR screening process, getting a sponsor for and information on the security clearance process, and identifying opportunities with sufficient salary and benefits.

 “It is deeply gratifying to have quantitative evidence in support of what our members have told us over the last several years. I am hopeful that as our community grows and capabilities scale, we will be able to continue being part of the solution,” said Maggie Feldman-Piltch, founder and CEO of #NatSecGirlSquad.

Broadly focused on securing and defending the country from foreign and internal threats, the U.S. national security field encompasses jobs in the federal government, military, research, media, technology, general contracting, and beyond.

The report surveyed three broad categories: Applying for Jobs in National Security; Working in National Security; and Leadership and Promotion in National Security Careers. Respondents were asked about experiences, general attitudes about diversity and equality in the national security field, personal experiences on the job, mentorship, and demographics.

Among the additional, notable findings:

“It is our hope that this initial survey will not only provide further context for one of the most significant national security challenges of our time, but also enable and support ongoing work to address it and encourage greater collaboration going forward,” added Saad. “Moving the needle on diversity will require continued conversation and collaboration, as well as additional research and programming within the government, and across the rest of the national security apparatus.” 

For more information, please visit to download a full copy of the report and view the online resource center with additional commentary from national security experts.

About Guidehouse
Guidehouse is a leading global provider of consulting services to the public and commercial markets with broad capabilities in management, technology, and risk consulting. We help clients address their toughest challenges with a focus on markets and clients facing transformational change, technology-driven innovation and significant regulatory pressure. Across a range of advisory, consulting, outsourcing, and technology/analytics services, we help clients create scalable, innovative solutions that prepare them for future growth and success.  Headquartered in Washington D.C., the company has more than 7,000 professionals in more than 50 locations. Guidehouse is led by seasoned professionals with proven and diverse expertise in traditional and emerging technologies, markets and agenda-setting issues driving national and global economies. For more information, please visit:

About #NatSecGirlSquad
#NatSecGirlSquad builds and supports competent diversity in national security and defense through its professional development community and strategic advisory services. To #NatSecGirlSquad, competent means a more resilient, capable, and agile national security and defense workforce. And that translates to a more resilient, capable, and agile national security enterprise. Our work focuses on building expertise, confidence in that expertise, and institutionalizing opportunities for success within existing systems. We want to ensure each individual has the information, ability, and support required to define professional and personal success for themselves, alter it as their priorities evolve, and achieve it over and over again. For more information, please visit:

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