Stacey A. Dixon has been nominated to the second highest-ranking intelligence post by President Joe Biden. If confirmed, she would become the first Black person to serve in a senior intelligence post.
Dixon, who was nominated by the President on Wednesday, is currently the deputy director of the Defense Department’s National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. If confirmed by the Senate, she would support the Biden administration as the office's principal deputy director and work to prioritize innovations to intelligence technology while also pushing for new investments to develop tech to help America keep on par with China’s data collection, The New York Times reports. She'll also become the highest-ranking Black woman in the intelligence field.
“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, said.
The position of principal deputy director, the No. 2 ranking post, has been without a Senate-confirmed official since Sue Gordon was removed in 2019 by former President Donald Trump’s administration. Gordon said Dixon has the technical savvy and leadership intangibles to succeed as an excellent nomination.
Met with Stacey Dixon, Deputy Dir. of @NGA_GEOINT. The NGA is building a 1.7 billion faculty in St. Louis and will soon have a high demand for trained workers.
We need to focus on growing a geospatial “ecosystem” in the St. Louis region — preparing for the jobs of the future! pic.twitter.com/OVYfZezqoR
— Governor Mike Parson (@GovParsonMO) August 22, 2019
“She delivers inclusive leadership based on ensuring equal access and equal opportunity,” Gordon said. “What I think she would say is you want to create a place where anyone with the drive and talent can succeed.”
Last year, Dixon spoke at Harvard’s Kennedy School Belfer Center about the need for diversity among intelligence agencies. Dixon has a wealth of experience in Congress to rely upon, having served as the Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s head of congressional affairs and as the 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 glowingly about Dixon’s nomination, saying that she “did outstanding work [with the committee],” and that he hopes “she will be confirmed quickly.”
Dixon graduated with a doctorate and master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, according to a release from the White House. She was also named as a chemical engineering postdoctoral fellow at the University of Minnesota. Additionally, the accomplished intelligence official serves as a presidentially nominated member of the Board of Visitors to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, an appointed NGA Liaison to the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation Board of Directors, and an appointed NGA Liaison to the Spelman College Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM Leadership Advisory Board.
To begin her intelligence career, Dixon started out with the CIA before accepting a position at the National Reconnaissance Office, overseeing American spy satellites. Later, she helmed research and development projects for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and quickly shot up the ranks, according to The Times.