Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Letitia A. Long became director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency on Monday, becoming the first female director of a major intelligence agency in US history.

Long has been in government service for over three decades, and her former positions include second in command at the Defense Intelligence Agency, deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, and deputy director of Naval Intelligence. Long was sworn in at the NGA’s under-construction Springfield, Virginia campus, where she hailed the recently created NGA’s accomplishments. She also said that “I have never seen an agency as young as the NGA do so much in so little time.” The NGA was created in 1996 and collects and analyzes overhead imagery and geospatial information. The agency’s motto is “Know the Earth, Show the Way.”

Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee, said that a woman director at a major intelligence agency was a key milestone, and she also said that “this is an important appointment, and I hope that she will bring a new and determined management ability to this agency.” Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director Leon Panetta said that Long’s appointment was an “outstanding choice” and that “having served in so many important roles over the course of her distinguished career, she will undoubtedly exercise strong leadership at NGA and help identify new ways to meet those challenges.”

Though women have served in as second in charge in the National Security Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office and at the NGA, they have not served in the No. 2 position at the CIA.

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