Amanda Park is a self-proclaimed workaholic. She won the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s Analyst of the Year in 2014 but insists she was “just doing her job.” When asked about her professional accomplishments, she prefers to change the subject and boast about her two Chihuahuas, Biskit and Brady, and her wife, whom she says she rarely sees due to her work.
Park was born in Sevilla, Spain, and raised in northern California outside of Beale Air Force Base where her father was stationed and where her interest for the U.S. military was born.
“At the time, Beale was home to the [Lockheed SR-71] Blackbird and the U-2. When I was 17, my father took me to the 9th Reconnaissance Technical Group and I was able to see an actual roll of SR-71 film. From then on, I was hooked,” said Park.
After high school, Park graduated from photo interpretation school and served seven years in the Air Force. Her last assignment was to the United States Central Command in Tampa, Florida. When she separated from the service, she was immediately hired by the National Imagery and Mapping Agency as one of the original 117 analysts deployed to support teams around the world. She has been with NGA for the last 20 years and now serves as a senior GEOINT analyst.
Jose “Joe” Estrada-Rivera, deputy chief of the NGA Support Team to CENTCOM, said Park’s knowledge base is impressive.
“Her military experience helps her put things into operational context, and her guidance is highly valued by the command,” said Estrada-Rivera.
Park’s primary role is to understand and influence the analytical effort and direction of the NST and to advise analysts and managers at all levels on GEOINT tradecraft, said Park’s supervisor, Patrick Holden.
“In this role, she researches internal and external production, level of effort and requirements, and provides unbiased information to NST leadership so they can ensure the proper employment of our limited resources,” Holden said. “Park is that person you want in the conversation before making decisions that could make or break an NST mission.”
Because of Park’s subject matter expertise, last summer she was called on by NST leadership, flag officer leadership within the Director of Intelligence office, and people at the Director of Operations level for critical mission support.
“Park also provides substantive awareness of regional issues throughout the Middle East, Near East, and South and Southwest Asia,” said Holden. “Most importantly, she is charged with mentoring analysts across the NST due to her vast knowledge, experience, and being well-liked and respected here.” According to Holden, Park has mentored hundreds of analysts in her 20 years and various roles with CENTCOM.
“She has helped developed some of the best analysts in the community due to her selfless service and mentoring abilities, as evidenced by the five NGA analysts that were either quarterly or yearly award winners under her mentorship,” Holden said.
Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Joshua M. Didier, an intelligence specialist, is a product of Park’s mentorship. They worked together for four years at CENTCOM, both in Tampa and overseas.
“Amanda Park is my friend, boss, mentor, leader, manager and subject matter expert,” said Didier.