Melvin Gamble | October 19, 2020
On October 19, Professor Tim Nichols was joined by Melvin Gamble, a retired Senior Intelligence officer with the CIA, in a conversation about diversity in the intelligence community. The discussion began with Mr. Gamble’s reflections on his time in the intelligence community; he spoke about how the majority of the job is evaluating people, building relationships, and developing and recruiting agents. He noted that the process of relationship-building and recruitment that culminates in receiving intelligence for the government was the highlight of his career. In assessing some of the current issues that the intelligence community is facing, Mr. Gamble spoke about organizational culture and artificial barriers, as well as the impact of different presidential administrations on the role of the intelligence community. He highlighted the importance of a non-partisan intelligence community, and the necessity to persevere and fulfill the mission of the organization. The discussion then turned to his perspective on diversity in the intelligence community and in the CIA. Mr. Gamble shared reflections on his time abroad and how diversity (or the lack of diversity) perceived by other countries. He also spoke about the need to recruit with an eye toward diversity and inclusion, noting that people deserve a chance to be successful.
The discussion then shifted to a Q&A, where Mr. Gamble addressed the question of how to fulfill the mission of an organization when there is a potential impact on marginalized communities, and questions on interagency cooperation and communication. He also spoke about the line between politics and intelligence, and how officials in the intelligence community are able to draw the line between reporting on intelligence and politics and policy. Mr. Gamble also answered questions about the differences between civilian and military intelligence, the potential relationship between the intelligence community and a Biden administration, and how the intelligence community can increase diversity in recruitment and in senior officials.