By Suzanne Kelly
Nada Bakos used to go work with a Glock strapped to her thigh. The former targeting officer for the CIA started her intelligence career as an analyst in 2000. But then September 11 happened.
"Everybody's life changed," said Nada Bakos, who, like many other women who were serving as analysts prior to 9/11, moved to the counterterrorism and eventually made the switch to the operations side, which meant she wasn't just analyzing the data on the bad guys, she was going after them.
She didn't yet have a family when she accepted her assignment as a targeting officer in Iraq, working alongside special forces in the hunt for the now-deceased terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. She won't share the details of exactly what she did to help find him, but she saw definite advantages to being a woman in the arena, noting that she sometimes had a very different experience than her male counterparts when it came to working within the norms of the culture.
"I got a completely different response than the men did," said Bakos, describing one particular effort to gather information. "How is a 26-year-old white male gonna walk up to a woman in the Middle East and say 'Hey, why don't you talk to me?' "
After a couple of years, Bakos realized that she knew more about Zarqawi than she did about many of the other men in her life. That, in part, was a wake up call to do something more: She wanted to start a family. But she was deep into her career on the operations side. That was a problem."The difference between men and women is that it's really hard for women to live the lifestyle of a case officer," said Bakos. "If you have a significant other, it's hard for you both to be employed. I was 37 then and I can't really say, 'Hey, let's interrupt your career and you can carve out what you need."
At least 160 other women feel her pain. Women from the CIA, the National Security Agency, Naval Office of Intelligence and dozens of other agencies met last week in a hotel conference room in McLean, Virginia, to try and find a better way.
The "women in national security" conference was sponsored by Working Mother Media. Carol Evans, president of that group, noted the unique environment in which these women compete.
"These women work in a very unusual industry," said Evans. "National Security is still a very heavily male industry and many of these women as they will say throughout the day, are oftentimes the first in their field to be a woman - the only person in the room who's a woman. So when we bring women together in an industry like this, they just feed off of each other, they catch each other's energy, and they build relationships."
And relationship-building while navigating a career in intelligence and national security is key, according to Letitia Long, the only female director of any of the 16 intelligence agencies that make up the intelligence community in this country.
Long, the director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency spoke at the conference. She insists that work-life balance is something she has to work at every day.
"I'm passionate about what I do, so I often want to stay to do that last e-mail or sign that last memo, or ensure that I'm prepared for the next day. But we do have to remind ourselves that if we are going to be at the top of our game, if we are going to be rested and ready to lead, we have to take that step away and ensure we are keeping that work life balance," Long said in an interview with Security Clearance. "These are some of the stressful, some of the most stressful positions that are in the work force and if we are able to balance this, then perhaps there are some secrets that we can share with others so that they can balance also."
Long said that part of the stress is dealing with a culture at the agencies that needs to change.
At the agency Long heads, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, women make up about 31% of the workforce, and the attrition rate is slightly higher than that of men. As director of the Agency, Long feels that balance has to change if the country is going to build a stronger, more diverse, national security workforce.
"I do notice that women bring a different perspective when we're talking about the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and our core mission, of GEOINT, as men and women are looking at imagery, they see things differently," said Long. "We all are a product of our background and our upbringing and women will just tend to notice different things in an image than men will. Or if we're looking at pattern of activity, they might notice something that a man might not and vice versa. A man will notice something that a woman will not, because they don't see it as important or they don't see it as relevant, yet something that's not relevant today, might be relevant tomorrow."
The Deputy Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, David Shedd, agrees. With women making up close to 35% of his employees, he sees the distintive advantages of finding a workforce more in balance when it comes to women.
"Women as a rule tend to have stronger intuitive skills and in the world of intelligence, where you are often dealing with less than perfect information, that intuitive nature is important," said Shedd. "Men tend to be more fact-based."
Shedd also offered advice to the women attending the conference. When a woman from the NSA stood up and told him that she personally struggles with how effective she is at her job because when she makes an unpopular decision, instead of being seen as a strong leader, she is referred to as a word that rhymes with 'witch,' he agreed that some misperceptions still exist.
"As a man, I can tell you when no women are around, men still say that type of woman, you used the 'witch' word, but the man, he's just strong-willed and strong-minded," said Shedd. "I am very familiar with that. Changing the culture is critical."
Shedd advocates for women in intel to build a strong team of mentors and then to call on them often and to set clear goals, not being afraid to show their ambition in finding what comes next in their careers.
Bakos, the former spy mom with the Glock, is on that path now. She retired from the Agency and is looking for consulting work.
She still feels like she has much to offer. "I think there has to be a better way," said Bakos, who advocates for changing the culture within the intelligence community, to help allow women to live both lives.
Its good as your other content : D, thankyou for posting . "The real hero is always a hero by mistake he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else." by Umberto Eco.
A great read. I'll definitely be back.
Thanks for the information.
Keep this going please, great job!
carry on, dont stop
Iím impressed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog thatís both equally educative and amusing, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something which too few people are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy that I stumbled across this during my search for something relating to this.
Thanks for the information.
Hi, I do believe this is a great site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will return yet again since I saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.
such a great information for blogger i am a professional blogger thanks
nice information for a new blogger. it is really helpful
Hi there! This article couldnít be written any better! Reading through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept talking about this. I most certainly will send this article to him. Fairly certain he'll have a very good read. I appreciate you for sharing!
Can you tell us more about this? I'd want to find out some
Great, thanks for sharing this blog.Really thank you! Keep writing.
PG SLOT สล็อตออนไลน์ SLOT PG
สล็อตออนไลน์ PG SLOT สมัครเล่น เว็บสล็อต ได้เงินจริง เกมส์สล็อตบนมือถือ ยอดนิยมให้เลือกเล่นมากมายไม่ว่าจะเป็น เกมส์สล็อต เกมส์ยิงปลา ไฮโล ไพ่แคง ป็อกเด้ง สมัครเล่นฟรีโบนัส กับสุดยอดเว็บไซต์สล็อตอันดับ1 สนุกสนาน เพลินเพลินกับการเล่นเกมส์
สล็อตออนไลน์ฟรี ทางเข้าเล่น SLOT Online บนมือถือ ดาวน์โหลดฟรี ได้เงินจริง
สล็อตเกมส์ที่สร้างเงินให้กับผู้เล่นเป็นจำนวนมาก สมัครสมาชิกโดยไม่มีขั้นต่ำ พร้อมโบนัสสมาชิกใหม่ สล็อต Slot Free Credit ต้อง
Good post! We are linking to this particularly great article on our website. Keep up the great writing.
I could not resist commenting. Exceptionally well written!
Hi it's me, I am also visiting this website daily, this web page
is really fastidious and the users are actually sharing pleasant thoughts.
Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this article and also the rest of the website is also really good.
bookmarked!!, I really like your site!
Iím amazed, I must say. Rarely do I come across a blog thatís equally educative and entertaining, and without a doubt, you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is something which too few people are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very happy I came across this in my hunt for something regarding this.
UFA 5T เว็บแทงบอล
UFABET เป็นเว็บเดิมพันกีฬาทุกชนิด ไม่ว่าจะเป็น แทงบอลออนไลน์ มวย บาส เป็นต้น และยังมี คาสิโนออนไลน์ที่ใหญ่ที่สุด รวมมาไว้ที่เดียว
เราคือบริษัทแม่ บริหารจัดการ ทุกอย่างในเครือข่าย ยูฟ่าเบทufabet
Your style is unique in comparison to other people I have read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this web site.
I visited many blogs but the audio feature for audio songs present at
this site is really marvelous.
Having read this I believed it was extremely enlightening. I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this informative article together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worth it!
Pretty! This was a really wonderful article. Many thanks for providing this information.
After I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the same comment. Is there a means you are able to remove me from that service? Thank you!
Wonderful beat ! I wish to apprentice whilst you amend your web site, how
can i subscribe for a blog web site? The account helped me a appropriate deal.
I were tiny bit familiar of this your broadcast offered brilliant transparent
That is a good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate infoÖ Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!
If you wish for to take much from this piece of writing then you have to apply such methods
to your won website.
Hi, I do believe this is an excellent website. I stumbledupon it 😉 I may revisit yet again since i have book marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.
Авторская садовая мебель из массива дерева
This blog was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Many thanks!
Itís nearly impossible to find educated people in this particular subject, but you sound like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks
Подать бесплатное объявление
I'm very pleased to discover this site. I wanted to thank you for ones time due to this wonderful read!! I definitely appreciated every part of it and i also have you bookmarked to look at new things in your site.
When I initially commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I recieve four emails with the exact same comment. Is there a means you can remove me from that service? Kudos!
Everything is very open with a precise explanation of the challenges. It was definitely informative. Your website is useful. Many thanks for sharing!