A Black woman is on track to make history twice over in the country’s intelligence sector.
Last Wednesday, President Joe Biden nominated Stacey A. Dixon — technology, research and development expert — to serve as the nation’s No. 2 intelligence official, a historical feat for a Black woman of her caliber, the New York Times reports.
According to the news outlet, if the Senate confirms Dr. Dixon for this position, she will become the “highest-ranking Black woman in the intelligence community and the first Black person to serve in one of its most senior posts.”
“Dr. Dixon possesses a deep knowledge of the intelligence tradecraft and understands the critical work intelligence professionals perform every day,” Avril D. Haines — the director of national intelligence — shared.
Dr. Dixon’s position, if and when it’s confirmed, will include being responsible for convincing Congress to approve funding research and developing new technologies to help the U.S. keep up with China’s data collection.
Moreover, in support of the Biden administration, she’ll be tasked with ensuring that tech intelligence innovation is the sector’s top priority.
In regards to her work for the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam B. Schiff said Dr. Dixon “did outstanding work” and added that he hopes “she will be confirmed quickly.”
The No. 2 principal deputy director position has been a vacated spot since the Trump administration pushed Sue Gordon out of the job back in August 2019.
According to the New York Times, Gordon described Dr. Dixon as “a really nice combination of an intelligence practitioner with deep technical skills,” and said, “this is a technical world, and she’s got the technical chops to deliver.”
Dr. Dixon has proved to have a long, decorated history in which she’s worked to diversify the intelligence ranks. As stated by Gordon, she’s also been fiercely instrumental in pursuing talent development.
“She delivers inclusive leadership based on ensuring equal access and equal opportunity,” Gordon adds. “What I think she would say is you want to create a place where anyone with the drive and talent can succeed.”
Dr. Dixon — a Stanford University alum — earned a doctorate degree in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology before she started her career at the Central Intelligence Agency, according to Because of Them We Can. From there she transitioned to the National Reconnaissance Office, where she oversaw the nation’s spy satellites.
She has also led research and development for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and went on to join the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity in 2016 where she quickly moved up the ranks from deputy director to director.
As she awaits confirmation of her new appointment, Dr. Dixon currently works as deputy director of the Department of Defense’s Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.