The Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) will hold its 3rd annual Achievement Awards Ceremony Thursday, December 6th, at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. The ceremony will honor six young professionals in the intelligence and national security sectors for their professional contribution to the community.
The ceremony’s keynote speaker will be Letitia A. Long, Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), and the event will be held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., with registration closing November 29th.
WashingtonExec got a chance to chat with the award recipients as they told us about their nomination, what it means to them, their mission and more.
Today’s featured interview is with Jordan Renga, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), recipient of the John W. Warner Homeland Security Award.
WashingtonExec: Did you know you were nominated for the award, or was it a surprise?
Jordan Renga: I didn’t know I had been nominated for the award until I got an email from INSA saying I had been selected as this year’s award recipient. I didn’t even know much about INSA at that point apart from briefly hearing about it previously from my division director.
WashingtonExec: How would you describe your mission?
Jordan Renga: The mission at Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) is to ensure that DHS senior leadership, DHS components, and state and locals are provided with high quality intelligence analysis to prevent terrorist attacks against the United States.
Our mission at I&A is unique with regard to providing classified and unclassified intelligence analysis to state and local law enforcement, public health, first responders, and the private sector. Prior to 9/11, this customer set was severely underserved, and I strongly believe that keeping them informed of current threat information is essential to preventing terrorism in the United States.”
WashingtonExec: Finish the sentence: The best part of about my job is…
Jordan Renga: The best part of my job is when my intelligence analysis leads to federal, departmental, or state and local policy changes. Whether it’s a policy that the Secretary and her senior staff implement to prevent attacks or a local policy to improve first responder’s ability to mitigate the effects of an attack, seeing these effects as a result of our analysis is incredibly rewarding.
WashingtonExec: Could you name an aspect of your job that you did not expect when you were first brought on?
Jordan Renga: Before I started working at I&A, I had no idea the wide array of customers that we have to support. We have different intelligence products for the Secretary, DHS senior leadership, the IC, Congress, other federal agencies, state and locals, and even private sector. Our analysis must be tailored specifically to each customer to ensure they can best digest the information and it best meets their needs. Being able to keep all of these customer needs straight was an unexpected challenge.
WashingtonExec: Who is someone you admire? or Who has been a mentor to you throughout your career?
Jordan Renga: Since the beginning of my federal career, Dr. James Sung has mentored me on everything from intelligence tradecraft to career development. Dr. Sung went out of his way to guide me and challenge me professionally, which I believe led to my rapid development and personal growth. Without his mentorship, I’m confident that I wouldn’t have been able to achieve the accomplishments I’m being recognized for.
WashingtonExec: What is your favorite intelligence movie or book?
Jordan Renga: Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink provides a unique perspective on how
we make quick decisions and judgments based on small snippets of information, called thin-slicing. In the intelligence world, thin-slicing happens naturally when analysts make judgments based on very limited information. I think it is important for intelligence analysts to not only learn analytic tradecraft techniques, but also to understand the way the mind operates. This helps maintain objectivity in our analysis and a greater understanding of critical thinking.