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News | Sept. 2, 2014

NIU honors Nation’s First Woman to Head a Major Intelligence Agency

By the National Intelligence University

“The director of national intelligence, the senior leaders in your organizations and the leadership of the intelligence community expect you to apply your experience to drive intelligence integration forward,” said National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Letitia Long in her keynote address at the National Intelligence University convocation ceremony Aug.  25, marking the formal opening of the university’s academic year.   

Standing proudly in full-academic regalia befitting the newly awarded honorary Doctorate of Strategic Intelligence degree bestowed by NIU President Dr.  David Ellison, Long told the newly-matriculated NIU students that, “We expect you to seize this opportunity to become outstanding leaders in positions of greater responsibility.” In discussing what will be expected of them in those leadership roles, Long noted that great leaders “have the courage not only to proclaim a vision, they pursue it relentlessly.  They not only care about their people, they care for their people.  They not only set high standards, they live by them – openly and demonstrably.”

Long stressed that NIU plays a key role in preparing a new type of agile, adaptive leader who knows how to go beyond collaboration to embrace integration and drive the intelligence community toward the future of immersive, predictive intelligence that will allow the nation to anticipate and predict the activities of our adversaries so that national leaders have the decision space and time needed to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Long, the nation’s first female head of a major U.S.  intelligence agency, will retire later this year, after 35 years as an intelligence professional, including service as DIA’s first chief information officer; the executive director for intelligence community affairs for the director of central intelligence; the deputy director of naval intelligence; the first deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence (policy, requirements and resources); the deputy director of DIA; and the fifth director of NGA.  

Noting that NIU alumni have risen to serve as the director of national intelligence, as well as directors of CIA, the National Security Agency, DIA, commander of the Office of Naval Intelligence, and assistant commandant of the Coast Guard for Intelligence and Criminal Investigations, Long noted that, “NIU is renowned in the IC because it develops strategic thinkers, produces high-quality research on vital topics, and energizes global engagement.”
She challenged the NIU students to have the courage to ask “why not me?” whenever opportunities arise for stretch assignments to prepare themselves to give even greater service to our nation.   As leaders, she told students they should be role models of the change they want to see, put the good of the nation ahead of the good of your own agency or yourself, and to be a servant leader who makes it their personal goal to help others succeed. 
NIU offers its students “a unique opportunity to deepen your knowledge, understand the value of diverse cultures and points of view, and broaden your perspective to prepare yourself to serve the intelligence community and our nation better than you could ever have imagined,” said Long, as she congratulated the students for being “chosen from the ranks of tens of thousands of other intelligence professionals to spend a year among your peers focusing on thinking and learning.” 

NIU is the IC’s sole accredited, federal degree-granting institution.  Its main campus is located in Washington, D.C.   Its faculty consists of subject matter experts from around the intelligence community who bring a wealth of knowledge and practical experience, as well as academic qualifications, to the classroom.