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December 22, 2020

Congress Passes Thompson Legislation to Establish a DHS Intelligence and Cybersecurity Diversity Fellowship Program

(WASHINGTON) – Yesterday, Congress passed the omnibus spending bill which included H.R. 8993, the Department of Homeland Security Intelligence and Cybersecurity Diversity Fellowship Program Act, legislation sponsored by Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security. The legislation is expected to be signed by the President imminently.

The Department of Homeland Security Intelligence and Cybersecurity Diversity Fellowship Program Act establishes a new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program for eligible college students – including from historically Black colleges or universities and minority-serving institutions – to participate in a paid internship focused on cyber and/or intelligence within DHS and, upon successful completion, an offer of employment.

“While the representation of minorities, women, and people of other diverse backgrounds in the intelligence and cybersecurity professions have increased over the years, there is still much work to be done. In 2019, women only made up about 38% of intelligence positions across the Federal government, and minorities, a mere 26%. With respect to cybersecurity at DHS, minorities make up 31% and women account for 21% of the cybersecurity workforce. We must do more to ensure that these critical national security subfields better reflect our nation’s growing diversity,” said Chairman Thompson.

“I am pleased that, with the support of Intelligence Committee Chairman Schiff, Congress approved legislation I authored to direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish an intelligence and cybersecurity diversity fellowship program for eligible college students – including students at a historically Black college or university or minority serving institution – to get experience in cybersecurity and intelligence while enrolled in school and, for successful participants, likely job offers from DHS upon graduation. This program has great potential to create a talent pipeline that will not only benefit DHS, but the homeland security enterprise.  I look forward to working with the incoming Biden Administration to stand up this program and stand ready to support efforts to build a more diverse and inclusive intelligence and cyber workforce at DHS to address the wide variety of national and homeland security challenges we face.”

H.R. 8993 bill text

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