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Gen. Nakasone Visits NMIC for AAPI Month

May 23, 2023



Army General Paul Nakasone, Commander, U.S. Cyber Command and Director, National Security Agency/Chief, Central Security Service visited the National Maritime Intelligence Center for a “Fireside Chat” in recognition of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month on May 23, 2023.


Rear Adm. Mike Studeman, Commander, Office of Naval Intelligence, in collaboration with the Naval Intelligence Activity Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (NIA DEIA) Office and the Asian American Pacific Islander Community (AAPIC) Employee Resource Group (ERG) hosted the chat.


“The Office of Naval Intelligence was honored to host General Nakasone and hear his life story and experiences as an Asian American,” said Studeman. “The Intelligence Community needs leaders like General Nakasone to share their passion and perspective about the diversity of gender, race, ethnicity and thought in America that makes us truly great.”


The United States celebrates AAPI Heritage Month during the month of May to commemorate the vital contributions of Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and native Hawaiians to the American story and to recognize some of the challenges they have faced along the way. The Department of Defense’s theme for this year’s cultural observance is “Advancing Leaders Through Opportunity”.


During the chat, Nakasone discussed his heritage as an Asian American and the impact it has had on his career and leadership. From his own experiences, his family history, and learning from the struggles of others who have experienced bias taught Nakasone the importance of creating an inclusive environment for all.


“At the end of the day, as a leader, I think it’s my responsibility to set that framework, that culture, that environment of dignity and respect,” said Nakasone.


Nakasone is the son of second-generation Japanese American and retired Army Colonel Edwin Nakasone who served in the Military Intelligence Service during WWII as a Japanese linguist. His extended family served with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, one of the most decorated units in the history of the U.S. military. His strong family background during a time where Japanese Americans were under constant scrutiny following the events of Pearl Harbor and subjected to racial bias gave Nakasone the perspective and drive to forge his own career.


“It’s important for all of us to understand that we all have heritage to draw on,” said Nakasone.


As the senior Asian American within the U.S. military, Nakasone has taken advantage of his heritage to provide unique, mission-critical perspectives to some of the most challenging issues facing our nation. He describes the wide range of diversity within the armed forces alone as a critical asset.


"From that diversity, I found that we always got better solutions,” said Nakasone.


Throughout his years of service, Nakasone has advocated for more diverse leadership that better represents the demographics of our nation and can recognize the strength of a culturally diverse fighting force. His emphasis on the importance of strong mentors and leaders provides a blueprint for career development at all stages in all communities. For Nakasone, the value in mentorship and leadership lies in having alternate perspectives, learning to actively listen to the stories of others and developing a strong sense of empathy. These tenets are critical to improving the intelligence community.


“This idea of being able to have a series of mentors that provide you the ability to see yourself because we’re only as good as our ability to see ourselves 360,” said Nakasone. “That’s one of the things that has really been able to help me.”


Nakasone expressed his appreciation for ONI’s mission and commended the establishment of the AAPIC ERG as a great opportunity to ensure the press forward with greater inclusivity and opportunity for all.


Following the chat, Studeman thanked Nakasone for sharing his time and story with the workforce as well as Ronald Rose, the NIA DEIA Officer, Carrie Buckles, senior executive champion of the AAPIC ERG and event co-host, and the AAPIC ERG members for organizing the event.


Also in attendance was the Honorable Franklin R. Parker, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Manpower and Reserve Affairs), Sandra Brown, Assistant Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence and Deputy Director, Naval Intelligence Activity, and Jing Deng, Information Workforce Division Director and Intelligence Chief Human Capital Officer at Deputy, Commandant for Information, Headquarters Marine Corps. 


The NIA DEIA Office collaborates with and supports seven ERGs.  Each ERG provides employees with a particular commonality to share a space, support each other, and spread awareness throughout the naval intelligence enterprise.


NIA’s AAPIC ERG was founded in early 2023 when Yuwen Michelson, along with her colleague Connor Akiyama, employees at Nimitz Warfare Analysis Center, attended an intelligence community event for Asian Americans within the intelligence community and discovered an opportunity to develop an AAPI specific ERG.


“It was important that we represent our chapter as Asian Americans within the IC”, said Michelson.


Organizing this event gave the AAPIC ERG the opportunity to reach out to senior Asian American leadership to give them the chance to share their story and give space to fellow members of their community.


“This is a unique ask for a general and General Nakasone is very passionate about sharing his heritage.” said Michelson.


By providing ally-ship and resources to these groups, NIA DEIA along with the AAPIC ERG raise awareness and engage in meaningful conversation that promote inclusivity and cultural awareness within the workplace and is open to any military or civilian employee who wish to join.


Women Hold Top Leadership Positions Supporting ONI’s Stem Center for First Time in Command’s History

March 21, 2023


Capt. Ruth Lane is the Commanding Officer of Farragut, Wendy Wenzlick is its Executive Director, and Cristin Rider-Riojas is the Chief Scientist of the Naval Intelligence Enterprise, serving as a senior advisor to Farragut and mission manager for ONI. All three have Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) degrees and, together, the women share 64 years of experience in STEM fields.

“Women of the ONI workforce are on the leading edge of the Navy and Intelligence Community in bridging the STEM gap and contributing in brilliant ways to advance our nation’s security,” said Commander of ONI, Rear Adm. Mike Studeman. “These incredibly talented leaders continue to inspire those around them, routinely tackle the toughest challenges in Naval Intelligence, and serve as powerful role models for both men and women. Farragut's new women-dominated chain of command is no surprise to anyone who knows these amazing professionals and my hope is that what seems remarkable today is made unremarkable in the future as more women take their well-earned places at the top of every chain of command.”

Farragut Technical Analysis Center provides strategic scientific and technical intelligence analysis of foreign technologies, sensors, weapons, platforms, combat systems, C4ISR, and cyber capabilities. In addition to its all-source capabilities, Farragut conducts ONI’s foreign materiel exploitation and signal analysis and is home to the national maritime acoustic intelligence laboratory.

In their positions, Lane, Wenzlick, and Rider-Riojas are driving the analytic processes and the executive-level decisions needed to solve real-world intelligence problems that ultimately support the Navy and nation.

The work closely resembles the scientific method that Rider-Riojas fell in love with at the early age of nine. She explains, “It’s analytic. It’s using bits of information to build knowledge systems, designing approaches to test hypotheses, and gathering pieces to solve the puzzles. It’s problem solving, and all for a mission that contributes to national security.”

Wenzlick shares that passion for purpose at ONI. “It’s a great mission, a clear sense of value, and work with a purpose... it’s hard work, but it’s work that matters,” she says.

The trio solves real-world intelligence problems on a daily basis, but also happen to be improving the representation of women in STEM fields. Their leadership success shatters long-standing barriers, such as the lack of women role models in a traditionally male-dominated STEM culture, which experts theorize perpetuate the gender gap in STEM related fields.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women account for only 27 percent of STEM occupations, despite making up nearly 50 percent of the U.S. workforce. These ONI leaders agreed that they were often the only women in the room throughout their careers. Lane remembers her male-dominated classes at the U.S. Naval Academy where the male to female ratio was 12 to one, and Wenzlick noted the decrease in fellow female classmates as she progressed in her STEM courses during school.

Despite these challenges, pursuing a career in STEM has been a rewarding and positive experience. All three women recall instances where being the only women in the room was an advantage. Rider-Riojas theorizes that it made her more memorable to others, and Wenzlick says she added value to discussions by bringing a unique perspective.

When asked if they would change anything about the STEM culture, the trio had a few ideas. At the top of the list – stronger communication skills for fellow STEM professionals. “Our critical knowledge doesn’t matter and isn’t useful if we can’t communicate it,” says Lane. “We need to be able to translate our technical talk to something understandable and actionable for our audiences.”

“And we shouldn’t all be saying the same thing,” adds Rider-Riojas. “The STEM world needs more diversity.” More women, more minorities, more people with varying backgrounds, ethnicities, interests, experiences, and outlooks; because these things contribute to the way we look at problems and the way we find solutions.

For those young girls feeling alone in their STEM classes, who will one day be the next women in STEM, these leaders have advice: stick with it, and don’t give up.

“I find myself repeating a quote from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: ‘Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it,’” says Lane. “Be bold.”

DNI Haines visits ONI for Strategic Briefings

November 30, 2022


On November 23, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines visited the National Maritime Intelligence Center to discuss critical issues in intelligence with Rear Adm. Mike Studeman, Commander of the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI).

“It was a privilege to show DNI Haines so much of the incredible work that ONI is doing each and every day to prepare her and other national decision-makers with deep knowledge of our adversaries and strategic competitors,” said Studeman. “Because of our dedicated workforce, the DNI and others in the Intelligence Community know that ONI will always be ready where and when it counts to provide world-class intelligence around the clock.”

DNI Haines was joined by Director of Naval Intelligence Vice Adm. Jeff Trussler and Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray as they received a series of briefings showcasing ONI's unique capabilities and its strategic impacts across the world.


ONI Honors Fallen Naval Intelligence Personnel on Sept. 11 Anniversary

September 11, 2022



On Friday, the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) held a wreath laying remembrance ceremony to honor the eight ONI shipmates who lost their lives during the terrorist attack at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Held annually at the Remembrance Garden at the National Maritime Intelligence Center, the ceremony commemorates the eight men and women serving in the Navy Command Center and Chief of Naval Operations Intelligence Plot (CNO-IP) when they made the ultimate sacrifice that fateful day.


“We know that our shipmates died doing their duty, in service to tens of millions of others, whom were kept safer by the skillful application of their profession and their honorable service in and for the United States,” said ONI Deputy Commander Andrew Richardson, before placing a wreath at a remembrance stone where their names and images are inscribed. “Let us be galvanized by their service and their sacrifice to bring out the best within us for arduous times ahead.”


In the procession, the names of each of the fallen were read as a bell tolled eight times: Cmdr. Dan Shanower, Lt. Cmdr. Vince Tolbert, Lt. Jonas Panik, Lt. Darin Pontell, Petty Officer 1st Class Julian Cooper, Angela Houtz, Brady Howell, and Gerry Moran.


These shipmates represented a cross-section of ONI officers and enlisted, civilians and contractors, and employees and interns. They were among ONI’s best and brightest and will never be forgotten.

Rear Adm. Mike Studeman Assumes Command of ONI and Directorship of NMIO

August 1, 2022


In a ceremony today at the National Maritime Intelligence Center in Suitland, Md., Rear Admiral Mike Studeman assumed command of the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) and directorship of the National Maritime Intelligence-Integration Office (NMIO). Studeman relieved Rear Admiral Curt Copley, who held the command and directorship since June 2021.


“It is my honor and privilege to rejoin the nation’s oldest intelligence agency and I look forward to working again with such a bright and storied assembly of military and civilian professionals who are advancing America’s national security in every corner of the world,” said Studeman. “Rear Admiral Copley has tackled some of ONI’s most daunting challenges and I look forward to building on his success.”


Studeman joins ONI from his previous role as Director for Intelligence, J2, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is a distinguished graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School, an honors graduate in Mandarin Chinese from the Defense Language Institute, and a distinguished graduate of the National War College.


“It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve with the military and civilians of ONI,” said Copley. “I’m so proud of the work they accomplished this past year and encouraged by the promise of a transformed, penetrating ONI that’s more ready than ever to deliver decision advantage to the Navy and nation under Rear Admiral Studeman’s command. The nation is fortunate to have this team of warriors fighting for it.”


ONI is America’s premier maritime intelligence service and a core element of the U.S. Navy’s Information Warfare Community. ONI possesses unmatched knowledge of the maritime operating environment and delivers penetrating understanding of threats to America’s security to national decision makers and the Fleet. Established in 1882, ONI is the nation’s longest-serving intelligence agency.


NMIO advances maritime intelligence integration, information sharing, and domain awareness to foster unity of effort to protect the United States and its global interests, its allies, and its partners against threats to, in, or emanating from the global maritime domain. The National Security Council and Office of the Director of National Intelligence drive NMIO activities intended to unify maritime elements of the Intelligence Community and ensure cohesion across the Nation's security and defense functions within the maritime domain. 



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