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NSC Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs Curtis Ried Speaks to ODNI LGBTQ+ Employees

NSC Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs Curtis Ried Speaks to ODNI LGBTQ+ Employees

IMPACT, ODNI’s LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group, held its first event in a speaker series on April 18 featuring National Security Council Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs Curtis Ried. Ried has been in the Foreign Service with the U.S. Department of State for nearly 20 years. He served all over the world, including posts in Algeria, East Timor, Indonesia, Iraq, and Israel, and developed a specialization in the Middle East before serving as a political advisor to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York. Currently detailed to the NSC, Ried’s office works to coordinate U.S. engagement with the UN, including oversight of the refugee admission program. During the IMPACT event, Ried discussed his experiences at DOS and the challenges of being out in the national security workforce. He also provided career advice for less-tenured federal employees.

 

 

 

NSC Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs Curtis Ried Speaks to ODNI LGBTQ+ Employees

 

By Erica Turner, ODNI Office of Strategic Communications

 

IMPACT, ODNI’s LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group, held its first event in a speaker series on April 18 featuring National Security Council Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs Curtis Ried. Ried has been in the Foreign Service with the U.S. Department of State for nearly 20 years. He served all over the world, including posts in Algeria, East Timor, Indonesia, Iraq, and Israel, and developed a specialization in the Middle East before serving as a political advisor to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York. Currently detailed to the NSC, Ried’s office works to coordinate U.S. engagement with the UN, including oversight of the refugee admission program. During the IMPACT event, Ried discussed his experiences at DOS and the challenges of being out in the national security workforce. He also provided career advice for less-tenured federal employees.

 

Three lessons learned from a discussion between IMPACT co-chair, Michael Friel, and Curtis Ried:

  1. In response to a question about issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community in the national security workforce, Ried explained that it remains a rather traditional environment. His biggest concern is over misperceptions that national security agencies are not welcome to do not appear accepting to potential LGBTQ+ applicants, particularly younger applicants. This misperception could stop young applicants from submitting that first application. He urged participants—to the greatest extent possible given security restrictions—to talk to young professionals in their college alumni networks or to participate in agency-sponsored public affairs events to increase the public’s awareness of the diverse national security workforce. This is particularly important outside of the Washington D.C. area. Specifically regarding the challenges of navigating the clearance process and related interviews as a LGBTQ+ applicant, Ried stressed that the protections are on the applicant’s side. While it can be uncomfortable to discuss your gender identity or sexual orientation with a background investigator, applicants do not have to worry about putting their personal life on display during that process.
  2. In response to a question about the role of LGBTQ+ allies in the current environment, Ried explained that, in his experience, the most meaningful way to be supportive is to help carry the water for the LGBTQ+ community in meetings. Having straight allies raise the importance of building LGBTQ+ policies or protections into broader foreign policy initiatives can be a powerful way to ensure that protections become integrated into the system. Once something gets baked into the system, it carries on beyond any one policy or project.
  3. When asked what career advice he would give to LGBTQ+ employees or their allies that he wishes he could give a younger version of himself, Ried urged participants to decide at the beginning of their careers to be their full selves. He explained that only part of that is the personal decision of when and how to come out in the workplace. He urged participants not to alter mannerisms at work or change the way they behave for a professional environment. He explained that people are at their most effective when they are being themselves. Jobs in national security and in the Intelligence Community (IC) are intense and deal with critical issues. If a person is genuine and good at their job, co-workers will accept them for that.

ODNI works every day to promote a “One IC” culture that values diversity across organizational boundaries to accomplish a common mission, and the ERGs are one tool for fostering inclusion from under-represented communities. ERGs, including IMPACT, are led by employee volunteers and regularly work with ODNI Strategic Communications to amplify events or Heritage Month activities to the ODNI workforce and the IC. ODNI is committed to cultivating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for current and future intelligence personnel.

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