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NGA director opens NIU academic year with keynote, receives honorary degree

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Letitia A. Long opened the 2014-2015 National Intelligence University academic year Aug. 25 with a keynote address to more than 300 students, staff and faculty at the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Tighe Auditorium located on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C.

Prior to her remarks, Long received an honorary doctorate in strategic intelligence presented by NIU President David Ellison. He introduced her by noting that "every true leader has an insatiable desire to be a servant and is committed to unwavering integrity; and Ms. Long stands before you as the consummate example of a servant leader."

NIU is a federal degree granting institute that focuses on the profession of intelligence and is dedicated to integrating the IC, one student at a time.

Long kicked off her keynote by noting that NIU will be transitioning to a Bethesda campus which previously housed NGA and its predecessor organizations.

“This relocation will allow you to significantly enhance your role as the center of academic life for the entire intelligence community,” said Long.

Long, who will retire later this year after a 36-year career in federal service, admitted to being a little bit introspective as she addressed the group and shared leadership lessons learned from her tenure.

“Everything we could say about leaders comes down to one simple phrase: Have courage,” said Long. “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.”

NIU graduates include Michael McConnell, former Director of National Intelligence; Michael Hayden former director of both CIA and NSA; Navy Rear Adm. Elizabeth Train, commander, Office of Naval Intelligence; and Richard Ledgett, deputy director of NSA. NIU offers two master’s programs, a bachelor’s degree completion program and specialized graduate certificates in intelligence topics. More information at

Read the director's full remarks here.

Photo Credit: Kevin Clark, NGA Office of Corporate Communications