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First Woman to Head US Intelligence Agency

Letitia Long will become Director of the National Geospatial Intellingence Agency (NGA) today, making her the first woman to head one of the government’s 16 major intelligence agencies. The NGA works with satellite technologies to create three dimensional maps of every location on Earth. Their work serves to support the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community (IC). Long’s 32-year-long federal service career began in the 1978, when she worked with the Navy as a Project Engineer. She has also served as deputy Director of Naval Intelligence, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense and, most recently, as Deputy Director of Defense Intelligence Agency, reports the Associated Press . Long holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a masters degree in mechanical engineering. Long has received multiple awards, including the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service, according to the NGA. Former Deputy Director of the CIA, John McLaughlin, said, “A woman at the helm of one of our major intelligence agencies is a long overdue step recognizing that the contribution of women to intelligence success has long been equal to that of men,” and that Long is an “outstanding choice,” according to CNN . Long told CNN, “The ability to contribute to our nation’s safety and security is a superb lifelong calling. Above all, understand the serious nature of our mission and stay focused on doing your best to support that mission. I’ve found that when you do that, whether you are a man or a woman, you will have a rich and rewarding career of accomplishment and service to the nation.” Women make up 38 percent of all federal US intelligence employees. Currently, 27 percent of senior officials at the six most reputable intelligence organizations are women.

Sources:

Associated Press 8/9/10; CNN 8/9/10; NGA "Key Officials"

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