Wounded Warriors Get Intelligence Job Opportunities
By Christina Cawley
Special to American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May. 20, 2011 The intelligence community is reaching out to wounded warriors, offering new employment opportunities through a unique internship program.
U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and retired Air Force Lt. Gen.James R. Clapper, director of national intelligence, welcomed dozens of wounded warriors to Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Md., May 18 to discuss these new career options.
Addressing the crowd of service members wounded in combat and now stationed in the Washington, D.C., region, Chambliss and Clapper encouraged them to continue to serve their country - this time out of the uniform.
“You have been through some very difficult challenges, and you’ve faced those challenges. You looked them in the eye and said ‘I'm going to overcome this,’” said Chambliss, vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “You’re here because you have an opportunity to see what the world has to offer for you and the world has the opportunity to see what you have to offer to it.”
The internship fair at the joint base was hosted by the Office of Naval Intelligence as a part of the wounded warrior program coordinated by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Started in 2009 by retired Navy Vice Adm. Mike McConnell, then-Director of National Intelligence, the wounded warrior intelligence community internship program holds semiannual career fairs to educate soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines wounded in combat about the intelligence field and potentially match their skills with community capability needs through short-term internships.
Intelligence careers have much to offer, Chambliss said.
“The intelligence community today is a world apart from where it was a decade ago or two decades ago, and the opportunities abound for where the intelligence community is going to be ten years from now,” said Chambliss. “The intelligence community has been somewhat of a bureaucracy in years past, but things are changing and things are changing fast. The situation involving the take-down of [Osama] bin Laden is a classic example of the changes we are seeing in the intelligence world today.”
Clapper echoed the senator’s sentiments, saying, “It’s hard to top the take down of Osama bin Laden as a great success story for intelligence and operations, and I know you all share in our pride there. It’s a great testament to the team work of the intelligence community.”
The agencies represented at the gathering extolled the value of the warriors’ experience as their motivation for participating in the event.
“Our managers and staff are committed to supporting wounded warriors and wholeheartedly provide internships to both build and utilize their military and nonmilitary skills,” said Virginia Cwalina, human resource specialist with the Defense Intelligence Agency. “We want to help the warriors find the best possible fit.”
DIA had four recruiters on hand throughout the day to discuss the agency’s missions, goals and needs and find wounded warriors with the right experience for the job. Representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and several other agencies and offices joined DIA in reaching out to the wounded warriors looking for their next career challenge.
“Our program is deliberately designed to use their skill sets in new and different ways,” said David Corey, Wounded Warrior Program Manager with the Office of the Director of Naval Intelligence. “The intelligence community is serious about helping the warriors and also recouping the benefits of their wealth of experience.”
In response to the increasing challenges facing the intelligence community mission, Corey explained, the number of internships offered at the fairs and through the wounded warrior intelligence community program has jumped exponentially from less than 25 when the program began, to more than 200 positions today.
Sgt. Annette Mann, who sustained injures to her back and knees, was appreciative of the opportunities available to her at the fair.
“Even though I have these disabilities, it would be an honor for me to get a job and to help out [my country] wherever I can,” said Mann. She said she hopes to bring her years of experience working in personnel administration to one of the agencies she talked to at the event.
“Even though I feel like I lost a lot, coming here to this [fair], made me feel like there is hope and I could see a little light,” said Mann. “This has given me a brighter future.”