ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – Once a Soldier, always a Soldier. U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command Acquisition Intelligence Specialist Kristy L. Green has followed in the footsteps of her father and serves as inspiration to her daughter to serve the Army and her nation. To celebrate Veterans Day and all who have served, this month’s CECOM Spotlight highlights the story of former Military Intelligence, Signal Intelligence Analyst, National Security Agency Branch Chief, and Drill Sergeant (Penn) Green.
Born in Ohio, Green joined the Army in 1996. Her competitiveness with her veteran father is what inspired her to serve. Green used the bountiful benefits and opportunities offered by the Army to earn an extensive list of degrees: an associate degree in military intelligence; a bachelor’s in computer information systems; a master’s in management and management information systems; and a master’s in homeland security information assurance. Green hopes to earn a doctorate in cybersecurity or strategic intelligence next.
Service in the Army
Originally, Green hoped to be a nurse in the Army and was accepted into the college program at Kent University, but the recruiter encouraged her to join military intelligence. Her military occupation specialty was multidiscipline counterintelligence analyst before the role was phased out and she was reclassified as a signals intelligence analyst.
As a multidiscipline counterintelligence analyst in Korea, she conducted “vulnerability assessments.” Vulnerability assessments were identifying areas where the Army was vulnerable and to prevent the enemy from gaining access to Soldiers, supplies, and information.
Once reclassified, Green worked for the National Security Agency where she did communications analysis and became a branch chief for the Horn of Africa branch. She later went on to be a drill sergeant at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.
Veteran and DA civilian
Green transitioned from a Soldier to a Department of the Army civilian in 2006.
“I chose a job I was familiar with,” she stated. “I still work for the Army and deal with [intelligence] systems and [use] the same type of skillset I learned while in active duty.”
Green has worked at CECOM her entire civilian career. After a year at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, she arrived at APG, a place she still calls home.
As an acquisitions intelligence specialist, she looks into the future for threats by comparing what adversaries can do now and what they might be able to do in ten years.
“I make sure the systems, sensors, weapons, and software the Army develops can perform against our adversaries and cannot be defeated when they reach the field,” Green added.
When asked about her favorite and least favorite part of her job, Green expressed that they went hand-in-hand.
“Sometimes it goes unnoticed,” Green said. "[We are] a small part in a bigger process. What we do is valuable and important but sometimes it’s not highlighted as much as it should. It’s very hard to say that something works, when in order for it to work nothing happens. If the job is to stop [adversaries], then the only way we know it’s not going on is if it’s not happening.”
On the other hand, knowing what she provides helps the overall mission is deeply gratifying, Green added.
West Point mom
Green is a proud West Point mom to her daughter, Jaya Penn, 21.
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a U.S. service academy in West Point, New York. West Point's mission is "to educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the Nation as an officer in the United States Army."
The academy is incredibly competitive, with an acceptance rate of 11% and a graduation rate of 84%.
“You need a recommendation letter from Congressional representatives, senators or the President,” Green said. “There’s a whole lot of stuff that goes into [attending].”
Penn is double majoring in mechanical engineering and Chinese.
Following in Green’s footsteps, Penn joined the Army because of her parents. Penn’s career goal is to work in military intelligence as well.
“She wanted to prove something to us—because I was in the Army and her dad was in the Army,” Green laughed. “I think she has that ‘if my mom can do that, then I can do that, and I can do that better’ [mentality].”
Green shared some final words of advice for anyone contemplating joining the Army.
“I always tell [my daughter] it’s always more of a mental thing than anything,” she said. “So, push through that. When you are met with a challenge, keep persevering.”
Words to the future generation
The biggest incentive to joining the Army are the opportunities available no matter the career choice, Green said.
“You just have so many more opportunities than someone coming out of college,” she continued. “You see so many things, get to talk to so many people, get to go to so many organizations, and [realize] there’s a whole world that you didn’t know.”
Green also admired the sense of comradery and direction the Army offered.
“[The Army] gives a sense of discipline and a feeling [that you are] contributing to a bigger picture, even on the days you [find confusing or tedious],” Green said. “You still feel like you are a part of something.”