The dramatic economic and political challenges defining the 21st century for the United States call for a deepening commitment to our shared values and dedication to expanding the diversity of thinkers, leaders, and policymakers. Those values and ideals are enshrined in our founding documents: the belief that we are all created equal, endowed with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They are more than a pinnacle to strive for; they are the values that millions of Americans are sworn to uphold. Living those values is what draws nations together. Openness to all Americans is one of the things that ensures enduring US leadership.
The next generation of Americans—our future leaders, strategists, diplomats, and innovators— are more diverse, open, and tolerant than ever. It takes decades for leaders to grow and develop. In the 21st century, the United States cannot afford to close ourselves off from anyone. By reaching out to previously marginalized and underutilized groups and deliberately incorporating them into our talent development pipelines, we can build bridges within the United States and around the globe. Including these groups requires focus and strategic human capital planning across the whole of the national security enterprise.
The government agencies, contractors, non-governmental organizations, and other groups that comprise national security and foreign policy enterprises have been some of the least diverse and most hostile to growing diversity, especially toward LGBTI Americans. Nonetheless, LGBTI Americans make up 10 percent of all US veterans and continue to serve, often at a greater rate than the nation as a whole.
As part of the Atlantic Council’s commitment to constructive leadership and engagement, it is important to elevate the voices and the profiles of these LGBTI Americans to meet the global challenges we all face. Together, Out in National Security and the Atlantic Council take great pride in recognizing the caliber of talent LGBTI Americans offer their country. At a time when LGBTI Americans’ rights remain under threat, recognizing the rising generation of LGBTI Americans dedicated to the security of the nation and foreign policy is an important step in expanding US leadership and engaging the country in a positive dialogue. Their dedication to leading the United States today and into the future makes that future more secure and helps to ensure the rights of all LGBTI Americans. Together, we honor the contributions of twenty-five LGBTI American professionals in government, think tanks, academia, the military, and non-governmental organizations. They were selected on the basis of their professional contributions and service to their communities.
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