My Way to NGA: Carlos Montenegro
Get an inside look at the career trajectory of one of the members of NGA’s world-class workforce, Carlos Montenegro. Carlos is currently part of NGA’s Support Team at the Office of Naval Intelligence where he manages a team of analysts. His career at NGA has taken him from the White House Situation Room to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and beyond. Read more about his “way to NGA.”
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Q&A with Carlos Montenegro
Q: How did you hear about NGA?
A: My story is not that different from many folks coming from South Florida. I’m a Latino immigrant who graduated from Florida International University and was hired by NGA after an on-site interview.
Q: When did you become a NGA team member?
A: I joined NGA back in 2003 and began my career monitoring a traditional account focusing on foreign order of battle developments. Since then, NGA has provided me the opportunity to pursue my goals and impact national security at some of the highest levels. I’ve gotten to advocate for a groundbreaking NGA engagement with a non-traditional partner in the White House Situation Room and advise the director of national intelligence on engagements with our Commonwealth partners -- Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. I’ve deployed abroad and directly supported counternarcotic and counterterrorism operations. In my current role, I’m entrusted with the growth and development of a group of analysts as a branch chief.
Q: What made you decide to work for NGA?
A: One of the things about NGA that caught my eye was … a focus on the combination of technical skillsets with traditional intelligence mission. It wasn’t just writing intelligence reports, but also leveraging a technical skillset by exploiting imagery sources.
Q: What has been your favorite memory during your time at NGA?
A: Some of my fondest memories at NGA are those where I developed a close bond with colleagues. Whether working together in a deployed setting, brainstorming on how to help other analysts overcome a challenge or celebrating the completion of a significant accomplishment.
For instance, in August, I worked closely with the agency’s recruiting team to help spotlight FIU. To prepare, I helped my alma mater understand the importance of using their programs to effectively equip students with key Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, skillsets across the intelligence community. The end result was very rewarding. FIU was able to highlight compelling examples of their STEM talent and showcased how they are educating students on viable IC career options.
Q: Do you have any advice to those who are curious about working for NGA?
A: What I like most about NGA is the opportunities we have to leverage the entire intelligence spectrum and provide a comprehensive picture of what’s going on based on our unique tradecraft, to both policymakers and the warfighter.
Also, know that NGA makes a significant investment in its people - from helping them learn their tradecraft to facilitating their growth as leaders. For example, I had the opportunity to participate in an executive leadership development program where I learned to push through fear and make change happen, whether for yourself or for the organization. This experience helped me to overcome challenges and achieve my professional and personal goals -- like skydiving!