She will be the highest-ranking Black woman in the intelligence community!
Stacey A. Dixon has been named by President Biden as the No.2 U.S. intelligence official. This would set her up to make history as the highest-ranking Black woman in the sector and the first Black person to serve in a senior post, The New York Times reports.
Dr. Dixon graduated with a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, getting her start at the C.I.A. before transitioning to the National Reconnaissance Office, overseeing the nation’s spy satellites. She led research and development for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, eventually joining the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity in 2016, quickly being promoted from deputy director to director. She currently works as deputy director of the Department of Defense’s Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
“Dr. Dixon possesses a deep knowledge of the intelligence tradecraft and understands the critical work intelligence professionals perform every day, said the director of national intelligence, Avril D. Haines.
Now, President Biden has nominated Dixon to become principal deputy director. This position would cement the intelligence expert in history as the first Black person to serve in a senior role within the intelligence community. If confirmed by the Senate, Dixon would support the Biden administration in making tech intelligence innovation its top priority while pushing for new investments in technology and research to help the U.S. keep up with China’s data collection.
The principal deputy director position, the No. 2 post, has been without a Senate-confirmed official since Sue Gordon was ousted in 2019 by the Trump administration. Gordon spoke about Dixon’s nomination, saying, “This is a technical world, and she’s got the technical chops to deliver...She delivers inclusive leadership based on ensuring equal access and equal opportunity.”
It will be a challenge for Dixon, convincing Congress to approve research and development funding. Still, she is experienced, having served as the Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s head of congressional affairs and as budget director of the House Intelligence Committee from 2008 to 2010.
Adam B. Schiff, Democratic California Rep and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, also spoke about the nomination, saying, “[Dr. Dixon] did outstanding work [with the committee]. I hope she will be confirmed quickly.”
Congratulations, Dr. Dixon!
Update: Dixon was confirmed on August 3, 2021.
Photo Courtesy of Brian Murphy/Defense Intelligence Agency