NGA Facilities Operating Status »
Contact Us »

NGA News image banner

Intelligence and National Security Alliance 3rd Annual Achievement Awards Dinner and Ceremony

Untitled Document

As Delivered Remarks
Letitia A. Long
Director, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
Intelligence and National Security Alliance
3rd Annual Achievement Awards Dinner and Ceremony
December 6, 2012; 8:50 p.m. EST

Director Long: Thank you, Chuck, for that kind introduction.

INSA does so much to further intelligence equities and illuminate pressing issues.  I just want to say 'Thank You!' to all of INSA's members, especially those here tonight, for your important role as thought leaders and advocates on crucial topics of National Security.

Thanks also to the organizers of this event.  It takes a lot of planning and effort to make one of these happen successfully.  Well done!

Like Chuck, I won't recognize all of the notables and leaders with us today. As he said, "You know who you are."

Ellen McCarthy: There is one person I especially want to recognize Ellen McCarthy, former President of INSA and now NGA's Chief Operating Officer. She began these Achievement Awards three years ago. She has always mentored young intelligence professionals. And she has encouraged INSA to take a Community-leading role in developing the next generation to serve our Nation.

Tonight is a special event…an opportunity for us to honor three groups:

First, these six remarkable young professionals for their significant contributions so early in their careers;

Second, THEIR mentors, families, friends, and support structure who have encouraged their success; AND

Third, the icons of the National Security Community—these six Oliver Baker Award winners—for whom these awards are named.

These awards recognize young professionals from across the entire Community: government, military, academia, homeland security, and industry. We are all partners, we are all servants to one unified cause—that is, protecting the Nation from the diverse and demanding security challenges that we face. And it is important for all of the young professionals here this evening to better understand the amazing contribution that this unified Community makes to that cause.

I also want to share with you three things:
First, I'd like to talk about how NGA is a Community leader in mentoring our young talent and how we are developing our leaders.

Second, how critical it is for all of us gathered here to follow the examples of these six extraordinary Community leaders for whom these awards are named.

And third, I will challenge the young professionals to embrace the Values and Principles that the careers of these six pioneers demonstrate. And I will challenge you to make contributions greater than you have imagined.

NGA is a Community leader in developing talented young professionals. NGA has eight strategic initiatives and my Number One strategic initiative is Leader Development. We have a leadership culture change under way at NGA based on a concept I know many of are already familiar with—Servant Leadership. By Servant Leadership, I mean that true leaders dedicate their lives to a mission, a worthy cause greater than themselves. And they understand that they can achieve that mission by serving—nurturing and encouraging—the people they work with and the people they work for. 

At NGA, the ultimate success of our Vision and Mission depends on leadership—the idea that each person, as an individual and as part of the greater whole, can and does make a proactive contribution each day. We are taking practical steps to apply servant leadership concepts. During the next year, all 1,400 supervisors will participate in leader development training, AND they will undergo a 360-degree assessment. We are setting standards for, training toward, and basing our performance plans on leadership principles. We expect everyone to model positive behaviors that will set the best example for all of our employees.

Furthermore, we support a significant Mentoring and Job Shadowing Program. We have hundreds of formal and informal mentoring relationships. All of our Senior leaders—including me—encourage their staffs to take advantage of mentoring opportunities and mentor others. All of our Seniors also participate in active peer coaching groups, an effective form of group mentoring.

We meet in Triads of three for peer mentoring. My triad consists of myself, the Deputy Director, and the Chief Operating Officer. We meet for 30 minutes at least every week and mentor each other.

In September, we hosted the Ninth Annual Interagency Mentoring and Collaboration Program . Director Clapper was our keynote speaker.

We had 30 senior leaders from across the Intelligence Community and more than 250 members of the IC workforce come together on a Saturday. for 7 hours to talk about leadership and mentoring.

That reflects the passion and commitment of our Community to developing the best leaders we can. 

Numerous NGA employee groups also sponsor "speed mentoring" events.  I recently had the pleasure of participating in one.  If you are not familiar with speed mentoring, a senior leader meets with five, six, or seven juniors at a time and answer questions for 10 to 15 minutes, and then move on to the next Senior. I can tell you that they ask some interesting questions.  Frankly, I think I learned more from them than they learned from me.

I enjoyed the speed mentoring event because it reminded me of all of my mentors who have had a tremendous impact on my professional life. At each step along the way, every mentor helped me stretch—go beyond my comfort zone. There are a few of them in this room. They challenged me to do more than I thought I ever could. I also learned the value of honest feedback.  They prepared me for tougher jobs and increased responsibilities. Without their mentoring, there is no doubt in my mind that I would not be standing here tonight.  Thank you to all of my mentors.  You know who you are.

As the current leaders, we have a responsibility to nurture the young professionals in our organizations. We must give back to them, because like the fine award winners here this evening, they will have many opportunities in their careers to make a decisive difference. Perhaps they will make an essential scientific discovery or create a new analytic technique that turns the corner on a hard intelligence problem. Perhaps they will just choose to do the right thing in a complex and difficult situation.  And they will look to us for guidance as role models of how to respond in these critical circumstances.

So tonight, I urge everyone here to participate—and to urge all of your leaders to participate—in opportunities that facilitate cross-generation dialogue, education, and networking.  INSA and similar organizations offer opportunities which may certainly further this goal.

These opportunities allow us Seniors to practice what we preach. They are important because, frankly, as anyone with children and grandchildren knows so well, what we do is far more important than what we say. True leaders live by their deep values and the high standards they set. At NGA, since we are an agency that studies the world, we have a simple acronym that expresses our Core Values: That's EARTH.

  • E for excellence
  • A for Accountability
  • R for Respect
  • T for Teamwork
  • H for Honesty.

Additionally, NGA's Core Values correspond well with the seven Principles on which these Achievement Awards are based: leadership, influence, proficiency, values, team-building, excellence, and personal skills.

These Values and Principles have been the solid foundation on which the six Community leaders for whom these Awards are named built their careers. All of them have made—and continue to make—lasting contributions because they have embodied these Values and lived their lives as true Servants to our Community and our Nation.  Let us briefly consider the exceptional ways each has exemplified these Values and Principles.

The late Edwin Land – I'd like thank my friend Scott White for representing Mr. Land this evening.  This extraordinary innovator—the inventor of the Polaroid process—founded two major industries. He believed in his vision when he established his first laboratory as a young man and founded the Polaroid Corporation. He fostered an innovative, risk-taking organization that attracted the best optical and imagery scientists of his generation.

They created hundreds of products that revolutionized cameras, optical devices, and motion picture processes.

On top of these remarkable accomplishments, Land performed an extraordinary service for national security. During the Cold War, he led the Intelligence Subcommittee of the famous Project 3 panel that created overhead reconnaissance—the U-2 project and the first reconnaissance satellites. He helped lay the groundwork for what has become the NRO and the NGA and the remarkable technology we use today.

Former Sen. John W. Warner–I want to thank my friend Caryn Wagner for representing the Senator this evening. During his 30 years in the Senate, Sen. Warner was—and of course, remains—a man of great integrity who often took controversial stands for what he believed was best for the country rather than for partisan advantage.  

He exemplified political courage as Chair of the Armed Services Committee and a senior leader on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

ADM William O. Studeman, Retired – Hello Admiral! Your 35 years of service has blazed the trail for intelligence integration and joint operations. ADM Studeman served as Director of Naval Intelligence, Director of NSA, and as the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence. Now, Sir, you continue to serve as one of our most dedicated servants and a keen advocate for the Community's improvement. I'd also like to thank you for your six years of service to NGA as a member of our NGA Independent Advisors. Your career serves as a role model for Senior leadership, cross-Community integration at every level, and the essential need to constantly challenge and improve our processes. Thank you for your service to NGA and the nation.

Richard J. Kerr – Dick, throughout your 31-year career with the CIA, as Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, and since your retirement, you have served as one of the most prominent thought leaders about the critical issues facing the discipline of intelligence analysis. Your model career demonstrates that steady dedication and constant commitment can enhance the creativity and the deep insight needed to solve serious problems. Thank you for your exceptional example and the impact you have had on the CIA and intelligence analysis.

Dr. Sidney D. Drell – I want to thank Allan Sontesby (pronounced Sons-teh-bee) for presenting this award on behalf of Dr. Drell. Dr. Drell is a truly exceptional academic and public servant. He has been one of the most important high-energy physicists of our time.

Dr. Drell has served 10 Presidents, the CIA, and the Intelligence Community for 40 years as a premier expert on nuclear weapons and arms control. And he was a founding member of the JASONs, a most prestigious group of scientific advisors to the President. His exemplary career demonstrates how academia can serve the country not only through scientific discovery, but as importantly, with honest, informed advocacy.

Joan A. Dempsey – Joan, you have been a friend, mentor, and personal role model for me for many years. You began your career as a Department of Defense Presidential Management Intern. Since then, you have enjoyed a varied career. You fought the budget battles of the 1980s and 1990s. Do you want to come back and help us now?

You served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communication and Intelligence, and as the first Deputy Director of Central Intelligence for Community Management.

You also served as the Executive Director of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. You have conducted your career by the highest principles and served as a professional compass for a generation of women. Your compass has allowed this generation to follow the path of sustained excellence in public service.  Thank you for all you have done for me personally and for the Nation.

I think we owe all of these extraordinary servants a heart-felt round of applause.

These six role models have set a high standard that the young professionals we honor here tonight have begun to meet by their early contributions. To all of the young professionals here—you have only begun to make your mark.  I challenge you not only to follow the example of, but also to exceed the contributions of, these superior leaders.

We Senior leaders will demand even more of you in the future. We need your knowledge, your courage, your creativity, and your passion, so together we can continue to fulfill our mission to protect the Nation. There is no higher calling.
To quote a great man—Winston Churchill: "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give."

Every successful leader— every one of you her tonight—has dedicated your life to service to our Nation, giving of yourselves to your missions, making sacrifices that cannot be measured.  We must have an equal dedication to giving our experience, our insight, our knowledge to the next generation.

I strongly believe INSA and all of you here tonight have essential roles to play in nurturing that next generation. As you all are keenly aware, we face a challenging budget environment while at the same time, the security challenges become ever more daunting. 

For the Community to continue to succeed in our mission, we must lead and be led by these young, innovative professionals.

Thank you for inviting me to speak with you this evening. It has been a true honor to be with the groundbreaking leaders of today and the trailblazers of our bright tomorrow.

Public Release # 13-096