Women well-qualified to serve in national security and foreign affairs
LCWINS maintains a database of over 900 women who are well-qualified and ready to serve in senior national security positions. This database was provided to the Biden Transition and Trump White House and will be continued to be provided to the Biden administration.
Over 100 women from the LCWINS Database now serve in the Biden Administration.
The most recent database provided to the administration included:
1) Over 900 women
2) Over 15,000 years of work experience
3) 5% LGBTQIAA+
4) 37% women of color
5) For about 200 Senate-confirmed positions, LCWINS provided at least 4 different well-qualified women for consideration
6) Sourced from over 150 individuals and 50 organizations
Beginning in the spring of 2020, LCWINS researched and reached out to over 50 organizations and 150 individuals ("connectors") we thought could help us find qualified candidates. We asked them to begin compiling lists of women who were well-qualified for national security appointments to Senate-confirmed positions. During these conversations, we stressed the seniority associated with these positions and our emphasis on diversity. We also asked our Leadership Council and Honorary Advisory Committee to reach out through their networks and contacts. In addition, we researched top women in national security and foreign policy and nominated them ourselves for inclusion in the database.
It was important to LCWINS that we reach beyond “the usual suspects” in the Beltway, and find partners across the country. We had over 1500 women nominated throughout this process, including candidates from government, academia, think tanks, nonprofits, and the private sector.
Inviting Women into the Database
Invitations to join our database were sent out to nominees via email explaining the initiative and including a link to a Google Form. We employed multiple outreach methods to make sure candidates didn’t miss our request because of a technology issue, including direct individual encouragement via email, as well as MailChimp, YAMM Mail Merge via Gmail, and LinkedIn.
Defining the Scope of the List
By cross-referencing the 2016 Plum Book
and a 2017 Congressional Research Service report on Presidential Appointments
, we put together a list of Senate-confirmed positions across the federal government. Using our expertise and some discretion, we narrowed this list down to 190 national security-related civilian political appointments. Military appointments were not included for a variety of reasons. We then organized these positions into clusters, and each woman was asked to choose up to 3 clusters that matched her experience, expertise and interest.
We asked the women in our database about ambassadorships as well. While all 200+U.S. ambassadorships are technically all Presidentially-appointed and Senate-confirmed, the large majority of ambassadorships have historically been held by career Foreign Service Officers. LCWINS does not take a position on how many ambassadors should be sourced through external political appointments.
We also chose to draw specific attention to non-Senate-confirmed positions such as Presidential Personnel, Chiefs of Staff, and White House Liaisons by asking each woman about these roles. While some of these appointments are not as senior as the roles reserved for this list, it is imperative that the teams making decisions about who is politically appointed are diverse as well.
Confidentiality and Security
As a national security-minded organization, we believe our lists could be of value to our adversaries, and therefore we have taken significant precautions to ensure the security of this information. There is limited access to the database within the LCWINS staff and we consulted with senior members of Google’s security team throughout to ensure our process was as secure as possible and that the database in our Google Workspace was protected to the fullest extent possible.
The relevant portions of the database were conveyed to the Biden-Harris and Trump-Pence teams through secure means (each woman indicated whether she wanted her name forwarded to Biden-Harris, Trump-Pence or both). The lists will not be released to anyone else. An addendum to the Biden-Harris list was forwarded in November after the election results.