Blinken announced Wednesday that he will appoint a chief diversity and inclusion officer for the department who will report directly to him, will soon release a ‘Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan,’ and will create a “D&I Leadership Council.” In his statement, the secretary also said he will require each of the State Department’s regional bureaus to designate an existing deputy assistant secretary to focus on creating more diversity in a department known for its “pale, male and Yale” workforce.
“The State Department has the honor of representing the American people to the world. To do that well, we must recruit and retain a workforce that truly reflects America,” Blinken said. “And our diversity gives us a significant competitive advantage on the world stage. This is something that the President, the vice president, and I firmly believe.”
The statement did not say when Blinken will appoint the diversity and inclusion officer.
State Department data underscores the challenge Blinken faces.
Just over 70% of the full-time permanent State Department staff — civil servants and foreign service officers — are White. Foreign service officers literally represent the face of America at consulates and embassies around the world. More than 72% of foreign service specialists are White, while 10.7% are Hispanic, 10% are Black, .8% are American Indian and 7.2% are Asian. More than 80% of foreign service generalists are White, while 6.5% are Hispanic, 6.2% are Black, .5% are American Indian and 7.5% are Asian.
In his statement, Blinken said his goal “is to incorporate diversity and inclusion into the department’s work at every level.”