BENS Offers Fresh Approach for Managing National Security Talent

Talent Management Report 2020 Page 01

May 13, 2020


James Whitaker

Washington, D.C. – Business Executives for National Security (BENS) today released
Talent Management: A Strategy for Great Power Competition, a report offering best
practices for developing and implementing a talent management strategy across the U.S.
national security enterprise (NSE).

The complexity of today’s threats requires national security leaders to build a workforce
with the skills suited for the modern threat environment, as articulated in the National
Defense Strategy. Innovative, private sector approaches to managing talent, the report
argues, can support the NSE in overcoming the challenges of today and hedge against the
challenges of the future.

“Increasing strategic rivalry between the United States and near-peer competitors has
become a central national security challenge,” the report’s contributors posit. “People –
both military and civilian – are at the core of this challenge, requiring national security
agencies to develop effective talent management strategies to maintain U.S. competitive

The report emphasizes the imperative of committing to a talent management strategy that
focuses on recruiting the best talent, developing leaders, and retaining top performers. The
contributors offer recommendations to build a business case for a talent management
strategy; refine recruitment and retention processes; adjust promotion processes; and
enhance mentorship and professional development, among others approaches.

Implemented collectively, these recommendations can help national security leaders
attract the most qualified individuals in the U.S. and drive their organization’s mission

BENS members with extensive careers in human resource management contributed their
expertise to the report. Since 2018, senior leaders throughout the NSE have engaged
BENS to address gaps in talent management. “BENS has recognized that the
recommendations provided to agencies have broad application across the National
Security Enterprise,” explain the report’s contributors. “In this report, BENS distills the
common themes and insights from these efforts to help national security leaders develop
and implement a talent management strategy for their organization.” Read the full report.


Business Executives for National Security (BENS) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit comprised
of business leaders throughout the nation who volunteer their time and expertise to help
address the national security community’s most pressing challenges. For more
information, please visit:

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