Press Releases

House Intelligence Committee to Hold Open Hearing on Diversity and Inclusion in the Intelligence Community Thursday

Washington, May 21, 2019

Washington, DC – On Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 9:00 am, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence will hold an open hearing about diversity and inclusion in the Intelligence Community. This is the first open hearing the Committee has held on the subject in more than a decade.

While there has been some improvement in recent years, the demographic profile of the IC workforce still does not mirror that of the wider population and the IC is lagging in attracting the best and the brightest from all walks of life. Fully taking advantage of the diverse intellect, innovation, and experiences here at home better prepares the IC, and our Nation, to address tomorrow’s most pressing challenges and analyze an increasingly complicated and integrated world. The Committee will also explore what the IC can do to increase the hiring and retention of people that represent varied economic, religious, cultural, ethnic, gender identity, and regional backgrounds.

Among other issues, the Committee will seek testimony about:

  • Practices already in place to address diversity challenges;
  • Current employee demographics and what should be done to create opportunities to hire more persons of diverse backgrounds into core mission positions;
  • Major inhibitors to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce;
  • Promotion rates of diverse employees; and
  • Best practices in engaging U.S. academic institutions and other workforce pipelines about careers that individuals can pursue at all 17 agencies.

The Committee has invited the following witnesses to attend:

  • Kari A. Bingen, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence
  • Rita Sampson, Chief of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity, Office of the Director of National Intelligence
  • Harry Coker, Executive Director for the National Security Agency


What:              Diversity and Inclusion in the Intelligence Community (Open Hearing)

When:              Thursday, May 23, 2019; 9:00 am

Where:             Rayburn 2318

All media wishing to attend this hearing must be credentialed through the House Radio & TV Gallery at (202) 225-5214. All TV camera crews should RSVP to the House Radio & TV Gallery. Media seating will be first come, first serve.

Witness Biographies

The Honorable Kari A. Bingen – Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence

The Honorable Kari A. Bingen was nominated by President Trump as the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (PDUSD(I)) and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate in May 2017.

As the PDUSD(I), Ms. Bingen is the deputy to the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (USD(I)), the Honorable Joseph D. Kernan, who is the principal intelligence, counterintelligence and security advisor to the Secretary of Defense (SecDef), and the SecDef’s principal representative to the Intelligence Community. The USD(I) is also dual-hatted as the Director of Defense Intelligence in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and reports to the DNI in that capacity. The USD(I) exercises authority, direction, and control on behalf of the SecDef over the National Security Agency/Central Security Service, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the Defense Security Service. The USD(I) establishes policy and priorities; and oversees the Defense Intelligence Enterprise, consisting of more than 110,000 component employees, and an annual budget of over $54B. This includes the Military Intelligence Program, the Defense portion of the National Intelligence Program and the Battlespace Awareness portfolio.

From 2013 to 2017, Ms. Bingen served as the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Policy Director. Beginning in 2006, Ms. Bingen served in support of the Strategic Forces subcommittee of the HASC where she advised members conducting oversight of military intelligence programs, military space operations, missile defense, and the nuclear security enterprise of the DoD and Department of Energy. Prior to entering government, Ms. Bingen was employed with SRA International’s Adroit C4ISR Center as a space systems analyst. She also served as a senior space policy analyst at the Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Space Policy and Strategy. She is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics and a 2002 NRO Technology Fellow.

Rita Sampson – Chief of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity, Office of the Director of National Intelligence

Ms. Sampson is the Chief of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity (EEOD) within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). She is the principal advisor to the Director of National Intelligence on all matters relating to diversity within the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC). Ms. Sampson also oversees compliance with the federal EEO laws, policies, and directives that impact the ODNI workforce and the IC. She serves as the Chair of the IC EEOD Council (comprised of senior EEOD leaders from all 17 IC elements), and leads the implementation of strategic diversity initiatives aligned with the IC EEOD Enterprise Strategy (2015-2020). Promoting greater transparency outreach, and awareness of opportunities for employment and advancement within the IC is one of Ms. Sampson’s key priorities. She advances the IC’s commitment to hire, promote, and maintain a highly-skilled, diverse, and including IC workforce, and engages key stakeholders through partnerships that enable innovative approaches and leverage best practices for achieving EEOD objectives.

From 2010 to 2013, Ms. Sampson served as a Senior Civil Liberties Advisor in the ODNI’s Civil Liberties and Privacy Office. She supported efforts to ensure that the IC maintained effective safeguards to protect the civil liberties and privacy rights guaranteed by the Constitution, Executive Orders, and federal laws. She also led IC initiatives to provide greater public transparency into IC programs and activities, evaluated compliance, and served as the lead for intelligence oversight reporting.

Prior to joining the ODNI, Ms. Sampson served in various capacities within the U.S. Department of Justice. As an Assistant Director within the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA), she served as the Agency’s EEO Officer, and led all aspects of the Agency’s EEO program covering 94 offices. Ms. Sampson also served as an Assistant General Counsel within EOUSA, specializing in government ethics and employment litigation. Before joining EOUSA, she worked in the Office of the General Counsel at the Federal Bureau of Investigation where she litigated a range of civil matters, including complaints related to excessive use of force, Federal Tort Claims Act, and Title VII civil rights violations. Ms. Sampson was an Assistant Attorney General in the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Office of the Attorney General, where she litigated complex civil litigation matters.

Ms. Sampson is a member of the Virginia State Bar, National Bar Association (NBA), and served as Special Counsel and Executive Board member of the NBA. She formerly served as President of the Greater Washington Area Chapter of the NBA, Women Lawyer’s Division. She earned her juris doctorate degree from Wake Forest University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Government from the College of William and Mary.

Harry Coker – Executive Director for the National Security Agency

Mr. Harry Coker, Jr. is currently serving on a joint duty assignment as the Executive Director of the National Security Agency (NSA). In this capacity, he works with NSA's Director and Deputy Director to provide leadership in all areas of the enterprise and to represent NSA's interests both internally and externally.

Mr. Coker began his career in the civilian federal service in December of 2000 when he joined the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as a Program Manager/Systems Engineer. During his CIA tenure Mr. Coker served in key leadership roles, to include Director, Open Source Enterprise; Deputy Director, CIA Office of Public Affairs (OPA); and as Director and Deputy in various components within CIA's Directorate of Science & Technology (DS&T).

Prior to joining the civilian ranks, Mr. Coker served twenty years in the United States Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer and an Engineering Duty Officer, retiring as a Commander. His Navy assignments included Gunnery and Missiles Officer, USS INGERSOLL (DD-990); Flag Lieutenant and Aide to Commander, Amphibious Group Two; Communications Engineer, Defense Communications Engineering Center (DCEC); Advanced SATCOM Officer, Navy Space Systems Division, Navy Staff; Deputy Director, Navy EHF SATCOM Program (NESP), PEO for Space and Communications Systems; and, Program Manager/Systems Engineer, National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).

In 2016, Mr. Coker was awarded the Presidential Meritorious Rank Award for sustained accomplishments. He was also recognized by the CIA with the Don Cryer Award for Diversity & Inclusion Leadership in 2017.

Mr. Coker is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy (B.S., Resources Management, 1980); the Naval Postgraduate School (M.S., Computer Science, 1987); and Georgetown University Law Center (J.D., 1992). He has also completed the National Defense University's CAPSTONE Fellowship and the Kennedy School's Senior Executive Fellowship.