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DIA Deputy Discusses Role of Women in Intelligence

By Christen N. McCluney
Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, March 31, 2010 – The deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency celebrated Women’s History Month by discussing the contributions women are making to the intelligence field.

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Letitia A. "Tish" Long, deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, talks with Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair. Long has been chosen to be director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Courtesy photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

“I am certainly aware of all the women who have come before me, all of the women who have accomplished truly remarkable things and have blazed the path,” Letitia A. "Tish" Long said during a Pentagon Channel interview March 26.

Chosen by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to be the next director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Long will become the first woman to lead a major U.S. intelligence agency when she takes office this summer. She emphasized that the intelligence and defense communities have gained a tremendous amount by incorporating not just women, but also more minorities, in the field.

Long started her career building intelligence collection systems for submarines and has more than 30 years of engineering and intelligence experience.

“Intelligence is crucial to good decision making. It’s been a good motivator for me,” she said, referring to a quote from George Washington that lines the DIA hallway. “There’s no issue too small or a problem too large that can’t be tackled. We may have to come at it from multiple directions and revisit it several times, but we need to solve those issues and bring opportunities to the table.

“When you have a more diverse population working on any type of intelligence problem,” she continued, “you are going to get a broader range of solutions. It’s not just cultural or ethnic diversity that produces success, but the cognitive diversity also.”

Long credits her success to hard work and having good mentors throughout her career, and she encourages other women blazing trails to do the same.

“It’s a part of giving back and a part of learning,” she said. “I know I’m succeeding if I can look around a room and see three people that can take my job, because it is about mentoring, training and bringing folks along.”

She also encourages more women to get involved in intelligence.

“If you are capable, challenge the norm,” Long said. “We need all members of our society contributing, and women bring different perspective, lots of great ideas and a lot of capabilities.”

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Related Sites:
Special Report: Women’s History Month

Related Articles:
Gates Picks Intelligence Official for New Post

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