From Denny: There are a few good things going on in our federal government. OK, not much, but it should still be celebrated, especially when it involves breaking through the glass ceiling for women in the work place.
Finally, back about 1995, part of the intelligence community realized how stupid it was to not aggressively recruit women for development in the intelligence field and maybe eventually grooming them for positions higher up in the organization. At the time the CIA only felt women should "get the privilege" to ascend to middle management - and never higher.
The natural go-to first line of recruitment started with the children of CIA officers. As the child of a CIA officer, it was about then the CIA tried to recruit me yet again and again and again. Of course, they had all the bullying finesse of stinking billy goats and I would have none of their toxic organization. Clearly, they were seriously clueless as how to recruit smart women. It would take a lot of time before they got it right.
Usually, the CIA quits trying to recruit you once you reach age 35 but they persisted with me long after, probably because I never have looked my age. Even after I was married ten years strangers would ask me what high school I was attending. It's really annoying - until you get older and people half your age ask you about a music group of which you have never heard. I've learned to just play along rather than give them the Big Speech of true age disclosure that shocks them. Awkward.
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No one has ever succeeded at dominating me and no one ever will. Nor have I ever been interested in dominating others. That is the lesson I took away from growing up in the intelligence community. It's also where I developed an iron discipline and mental toughness that rarely occurs outside of combat war experience. Adversity - and violent abuse - really can make you stronger if you are determined to keep getting back up time and time again, refusing to "ring the bell" as they do in the Navy Seal's brutal training of Hell Week.
Of course, my Hell Week lasted for many years not a mere week. After several years I developed the delicious fun exercise of enjoying the apoplectic furious and frustrated look on the adversaries' faces when they could not best me no matter what they tried to do as physical harm. No one can break you mentally, emotionally or spiritually - unless you are foolish enough to give it away to them. Yet another lesson I took away from a tortured Navy Korean War POW who mentored me when I was only five years old.
With recruitment difficult among the younger generation of men, the CIA finally came to the obvious conclusion they would need to rely upon women to fill the positions men were no longer keen to sign up to do. Yes, even men have trust issues. Slowly, women who thought they had no hope at higher positions in their careers, found themselves propelled up the ladder - much to their amazement.
After almost 30 years there is finally a real cultural change at the CIA, certainly long over due. Women in the intelligence community have never been given their respect due them for the quiet jobs they have done faithfully and competently - while clueless bosses who were not half as talented or skilled took the credit (of which my father was one of them). Hopefully, the women in today's management will not make the same arrogant sexist mistakes of their male bosses, disrespecting those who work for them, be they women or men.
The current CIA Director John Brennan, a former analyst, is one of President Obama's better choices in government that has worked out well. I always had this good vibe about the guy but was waiting to see how he developed in his job before commenting. Certainly, he is not the political disaster former CIA Director Gen. Petraeus was. Petraeus was one long running "Cluster 'F'" typical of what the Pentagon offers as their idea of "leadership."
One thing notable about Director Brennan is that he does not easily take the word of some bombastic blowhard without personally taking a look at more than just the report analysis. He often tracks back the raw data with his own eyes when something just doesn't gel with him about the situation. That's a man after my own heart: thorough and not easily fooled, willing to roll up his sleeves and do his own work.
But that was not enough for me to write a post on Director Brennan or the currently improving CIA culture that has finally hit and is sliding up its exponential curve of reform. Recently, Director Brennan elevated a competent woman, Avril D. Haines, educated as both a physicist and an attorney, to the highest post ever in the CIA, his Deputy. What took so long? Well, at least Brennan has the emotional maturity to not feel threatened by a woman and can work with women - unlike the Wimp Chimps over at the Pentagon. It didn't hurt any that his boss, Mr. President, also wanted her.
Of course, Ms. Haines has NO real life experience inside the intelligence community as an analyst so there is plenty of hand-wringing going on over at the agency. It will be interesting to see if she goes to legalistic parsing or uses her creative inner physicist to look at developing situations. Well, you know what? Sometimes, you just have to shake up things with a Wild Card, a term my father's colleagues were found of naming me since I scared them so much. I think I'm going to like this woman just because she terrifies everyone else. :) Hopefully, she will do well. She certainly has an uphill climb.
From Director Brennan who peeked out as a bit sexist, as well as incredulous, said: "I am surprised at how perceptive and insightful women can be about how a man is acting. They have an opportunity to see the world through, I think, the very important eyes of a woman." Think of it this way, Director, women are accustomed to being stalked, hunted and wooed. Why wouldn't we have developed an intuitive ability to separate fact from fiction after all these centuries? Duh, it's built into our DNA.
In fact, the CIA almost reflects the general U. S. population with close to half of the CIA are now women. Five of the top eight jobs are held by women. It only took 30 years but better late than never. Someone send Brennan over to the Pentagon to reform their sorry asses.
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Currently, the Wimpy Pentagon Chimp Chiefs are whining about how President Obama should not place a civilian in the position of NSA Chief to replace Not Soon Enough outgoing NSA Chief Gen. Alexander. Now there's a mentally unbalanced and emotionally immature guy who should have already been immediately fired and locked out of the system months ago. Alexander is the biggest national security risk for America right now.
You see, the Pentagon has controlled the NSA since 1952. For some reason, they consider it a tradition not to be broken. The military chiefs believe they own the NSA leadership, culture, direction and control of that lavishly spending budget that is highly coveted. How dare a civilian be privvy to what they have really been doing? How dare this President install a mere civilian to take over their corrupt territory? Obviously, a lot would come to light as to just how corrupt this NSA organization truly is - and how much money they are wasting on the taxpayers' dime.
Well, Mr. President, take a stroll on over to the CIA and talk to your pal Brennan. I'm sure he could easily recommend several competent women to take over what should be separated into two jobs: the NSA and then the U. S. Cyber Command unit. Oh, look, and the Pentagon won't even have to provide you with former 2012 Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney's famous Binders of Women to inform you of your possible choices.
The women who could easily slide into Alexander's job yesterday are staring you in the face: they are at the CIA. And these women? They could hit the ground running. Get busy vetting them, Mr. President. You can resolve this NSA mess quickly because it sure is dragging down your poll numbers domestically and your international cooperation and trust.
Think of it this way: it's the Lioness who rides point, sights the target and goes hunting more successfully than the males, often in packs. The Lioness is quick enough to run down, wound and weaken the prey. Then, at the end of the hunt, she brings in the larger male Lions to help her to finish taking down the prey since the males are heavier and stronger. It was CIA women who led the teams hunting down many of the name terrorists on your list like Osama bin Laden. Then the male hunters were sent out to dispatch them all. It's the ultimate in yin and yang balance. It's the ultimate in "bipartisanship." Need I say more?
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