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News | Nov. 7, 2013

Alabama native retired Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess honored at DIA for his service

By DIA Public Affairs

WASHINGTON — Current Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, defense attachés, and former agency leaders came together Nov.7 to honor former director and Alabama native retired Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess in the unveiling of his official portrait which will hang in the DIA Headquarters of Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling.

“Ron led DIA at a critical time for this agency and for the nation,” Flynn said as he introduced Burgess. “We were in the midst of two wars on the other side of the world. And for the first time, DIA was right in the thick of both, deploying thousands of employees into harm’s way for the safety and security of our nation.”

As DIA director, Burgess maintained DIA’s intense operational focus in support of civilian policymakers and forward-deployed military commanders through the formal end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq and during the surge of combat troops into Afghanistan. Early in his tenure, he established priorities for the agency that included combating terrorism, preventing strategic surprise, and support to operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. Under his leadership, the agency also continued its long-time support to humanitarian issues, including playing a crucial role in the recovery effort in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. In 2012, Burgess retired after three years at DIA and 38 years of service to the nation.

“Almost everyone who works here today will tell you that Ron leaves an enduring legacy with the men and women he shaped to lead this agency well into the future,” said Flynn before presenting Burgess with his official portrait.

Following the unveiling, Burgess said, “I was fortunate to be the leader of a great group of folks. The 16,000 plus is the real strength of this agency. It’s the people that make this agency what it is – people who have a common purpose, a common focus, and want to serve the nation. It’s an honor to be associated with this group.”

Burgess was commissioned in military intelligence through Auburn University’s Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program in 1974. From there, he went on to earn a master’s in education in 1980 and a master’s of military arts and science in 1986. After 35 years in the U.S. Army, Burgess received his final assignment as the 17th director of DIA.

Closing with an update on his and wife Marta’s current activities, he said, “We are enjoying life down at Auburn University. War Eagle! You’re always welcome down to the great state of Alabama any time.”