First woman to head major US intelligence agency

August 9, 2010 18:42

The United States has had three female secretaries of state — but until now has never had a woman lead one of its 16 major intelligence agencies.

Letitia A. Long, 51, was praised by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, as the right person for the job, as she took up her post as director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in a ceremony Monday at the agency's half-built, high-tech campus in Springfield, Virginia.

Long, in turn, saluted what the NGA work force has already accomplished, from aiding troops on the battlefield, to helping draw together intelligence from across the national security spectrum.

"I have never seen an agency as young as the NGA do so much in so little time," she said of the organization, which was established in 1996.

Long's 32-year career has led to a series of senior management positions: deputy director of Naval Intelligence, deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence and, most recently, second in command at the Defense Intelligence Agency.

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