James Rodriguez, the deputy assistant secretary of defense talks with a wounded warrior at the Intelligence Community Wounded Warrior Outreach Fair, March 24. At the event, Rodriguez stressed the responsibility to take care of our wounded, ill and injured service members and their families, calling it a “national priority.”
By Amelia Cohen-Levy, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
NGA opened its doors to wounded warriors as part of the DOD internship program Operation Warfighter at the Intelligence Community Wounded Warrior Outreach Fair, March 24.
These service members, many of whom had traveled from treatment centers in the National Capital Region, Virginia Beach and North Carolina, came to the event to network and learn more about the internship opportunities available to them.
In attendance were recruiting and outreach personnel from sister agencies and other IC stakeholders, including the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Homeland Security and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
James Rodriguez, the deputy assistant secretary of defense and a former Marine, provided a keynote address to attendees. He stressed the responsibility to take care of our wounded, ill, and injured service members and their families, calling it a “national priority.”
Rodriguez’s remarks, focused on something that he had personally experienced—the difficulty of making the transition from the military world to the civilian workforce. He understood the fear of losing one’s identity, of building one’s brand, and thinking of life beyond the barracks.
“Sooner or later, we all have to transition,” Rodriguez said. “Don’t look at it as ‘leaving the service.’ Look at it as ‘continuing to serve.’”
Since 2010, NGA has hosted 74 wounded warrior interns in almost every agency work unit. Three of the interns returned to duty with a new military occupation and 46 were direct hires using special appointing authorities. These direct hires serve in a wide variety of work roles, including Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act contract specialist, imagery analyst, human resource specialist, staff officer, source strategies analyst and tactical response police officer.