Action Plan 2021

LCWINS Action Plan to Address Institutionalized Racism in 2021 Initiatives (Updated)

LCWINS is committed to addressing the institutionalized racism that has historically held back Black women, indigenous women and other women of color. Efforts to improve gender diversity in national security leadership will not directly benefit people of color generally, or women of color in particular, without concerted attention. LCWINS takes an intentional approach to including women of color in its staff, volunteers committees and leadership.

We reaffirm our support of the Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security’s Standing Together Against Racism and Discrimination Statement and the commitments we made by signing that document. LCWINS has taken on a leadership role within the WCAPS OrgsinSolidarity movement, committing significant time and resources to its important work. LCWINS also commits to explicitly incorporating specific actions in every organizational initiative to ameliorate or address the effects of racism and the specific concerns and issues faced by women of color in our field.

In the summer of 2020, LCWINS released its first Action Plan: Action Plan to Address Institutionalized Racism in 2020. This document guided our work and served as an important means of holding ourselves accountable. LCWINS Action Plan to Address Institutionalized Racism 2021 is the second in the series, ensuring that we continue to pay specific attention to the needs of women of color as we embark on new initiatives to lift up all women in our field. With the completion of our five year strategic plan in the summer of 2021, we will be updating this action plan to reflect our commitments for 2022 and beyond.

In 2021, we have four major initiatives that will improve the chances that women will ascend to national security leadership positions in record numbers in the Biden Administration. In the planning and implementation of these initiatives, we will pay particular attention to addressing and including women of color and their concerns. If we see record numbers of women in senior leadership positions next year, but do not see representation that reflects the diversity of the United States, then national security policy will not be at its best and we will have failed.

Planned LCWINS Initiatives for 2021:

Overall Organization Goals

LCWINS seeks to impact the face of senior leadership in a broad range of areas including the executive branch (political appointees, the foreign service, civil service, military, intelligence, federal law enforcement, and others), the legislative branch, think tanks, academia, industry, and nonprofits. We are for anyone interested in supporting sound U.S. national security policy-making.

To encourage an inclusive environment, we commit to the following:

  • We will develop and disseminate guidelines on how to be involved with LCWINS and ensure that we think through and account for possible barriers to ensure that black women and other women of color are included.
  • We will be sure that all our work takes an intentional approach to ensure all perspectives are considered and fairly represented.
Database 2.0

In 2020, LCWINS assembled a database of over 900 women who are well-qualified and ready to serve in senior national security leadership positions. Our database was 37% (self-identified) women of color, of whom14% identified as Black.

Currently, LCWINS is transitioning its database initiative into an effort to lift up these women and bring in new women for opportunities in the media, in conferences, and to speak, brief and testify. With the affirmative consent of each woman in our current database, we will move her information over to this new initiative. We will also perform additional outreach to further populate the database.

In order to ensure that Black women and other women of color are sufficiently represented in this effort, we commit to the following:

  • We will undertake consistent gap analysis as women come into our Database 2.0 to identify whether we are achieving our goal of including Black women and other women of color in numbers that reflect our nation’s diversity. As needed, we will undertake additional outreach to address identified gaps.
  • We will continue to partner with diversity affinity groups (e.g. WCAPS, Diversity in National Security Network) to ensure their membership and leadership are represented in our database.
  • We will specifically reach out to Black women and other women of color in our database to obtain nominations from them of other talented women who should join our database, emphasizing our commitment to inclusion.
  • We will undertake concerted outreach to academics in relevant fields at HBCUs and other institutions and organizations with concentrations of Black talent in our field.

LCWINS will continue to host a series of webinars to support women in leadership by demystifying the process and providing other useful tips and skills for advancing as a leader in national security. LCWINS makes the following commitments for its webinar series:

  • Multiple Black women will participate as speakers and/or moderators in our webinar series;
  • Women of color will be represented among the speakers for every webinar panel;
  • Every webinar will expressly address questions of how the topic of the session intersects with race, gender, and intersection of the two.
Tracking Nominees and Accountability

As the new Administration nominates political appointees, LCWINS will be tracking the positions targeted by the database initiative (roughly 190 Senate-confirmed positions), Ambassadorships (roughly 224 positions) and Deputy Assistant Secretary/Administrator-level appointments within the Department of Defense, Department of State, and U.S. Agency for International Development. We will feature our tracker on our website. Although the tracker will be focused on gender, we make the following commitments:

  • For every position tracked, we will seek to track gender and race of the person inhabiting the role.
  • Our advocacy and public reactions to the composition of the Biden Administration national security leadership team will address gender and race.
Support for Women Through the Political Appointments Process

LCWINS is seeking to support women through the political appointment process.  As women are publicly nominated for Senate-confirmed positions, we will reach out to them to offer support.  We are developing a suite of resources to provide to women in this process, including assembling a team who can “murderboard” Senate confirmation hearings.  In the course of this initiative, we commit to the following:

  • We will track how many women we help, and the race of each woman.
  • Our plan is to advertise help for women below the Senate-confirmed level, and to reach out to nominees for Senate-confirmed positions. If we are not reaching sufficient Black women and women of color through these initial approaches, we will adjust our approach to ensure we are sufficiently helping Black women and other women of color.

There is, of course, more that we can do and will do to fulfill the imperative of building a diverse national security workforce that is fully inclusive of Black women and women of color. Contact LCWINS with ideas at!


To view our 2020 Action Plan, click here.