Letitia A. Long, of Arlington, Virginia, the first woman to lead a major U.S. intelligence agency, will receive Virginia Tech’s University Distinguished Achievement Award for 2017.

The award recognizes achievements of national distinction in any field of enduring significance to society. It is presented at University Commencement each year. This year's event is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. May 12 in Lane Stadium.

Long directed the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency from August 2010 until October 2014, culminating a career that spanned all aspects of organizational leadership, business functions, and global operations at the agency.

Long’s distinguished service as a civilian in the Department of Defense  and the intelligence community started even before she earned her bachelor’s in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech in 1982. She began as a civilian intern with the U.S. Navy in 1978, transitioned to the Office of Naval Intelligence, and served in multiple leadership positions, including deputy director of naval intelligence.

Long served as the first deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence (policy, requirements, and resources), was the first chief information officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency, and later became deputy director of that agency.

Long has received numerous awards, including the Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Executive, two Presidential Rank Awards of Meritorious Executive, two Department of Defense Medals for Distinguished Service, and three National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medals.

She has been decorated with the Medal of Merit by the King of Norway, appointed to the rank of chevalier in the National Order of the Legion of Honor of France, and awarded the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland.

Long has served on numerous boards, including those of the School of Public and International Affairs within Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies, and Virginia Tech’s Ted and Karyn Hume Center for National Security and Technology.

She sits on the board of Raytheon Company, Urthecast Corporation, Noblis Inc., and D-Wave Government Systems, and chairs the board of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance. She is on the board of the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation and is an executive in residence with Brookings Executive Education.

Long earned a master’s in mechanical engineering from the Catholic University of America and was awarded an honorary doctorate of strategic intelligence by the National Intelligence University.

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