Retired and active members of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) gathered for a special luncheon with remarks from guest speaker Lt. Gen. Mary A. Legere, the Army's deputy chief of staff for intelligence, at the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant at Mount Vernon, Va., Nov. 15.The Defense Intelligence Alumni Association (DIAA), a group of retired DIA professionals, hosts a biannual luncheon for members to gather and socialize with members of the association and host special guest speakers serving senior positions in the intelligence community."We like to keep connected to the intel community," said Judi Demulling, DIAA president. "What the DIA does is very important and we at the DIAA work to support them and the Soldiers."Popular guests invited to speak at the luncheons are uniformed senior members of service intelligence agencies. For this reason, the DIAA members have been looking forward to inviting Legere to speak."We wanted to invite her to speak last spring," said Demulling. "Unfortunately, she was in her transition from [the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command] to [the Department of the Army] so she wasn't able to make it. We're excited to have her attend today."While some members of the association were meeting Legere for the first time, many more had met or worked with her during their careers. Several members in attendance such as Donald Mathis, membership and security director, recalled being very impressed with her in the early years of her career."I first met her when she was Major Legere the S3 for the 501st [Military Intelligence Brigade] in Korea," said Mathis. "I was accompanying an intelligence agency VIP through the area and she was leading the tour. I can't remember who the VIP was, but I do remember how impressive she was and that says a lot about her."Mathis, like many others, felt that Legere was a rising star in the intelligence community and almost certain for leadership."She had outstanding leadership traits," Mathis said. "I knew that if I stood around long enough I would end up working for her."Mathis may not have been around long enough to work directly for Legere but he and the members of the association have seen her leadership take her through many senior intelligence positions including commanding general for INSCOM, the J2 for Multi-National Forces -- Iraq and the commander of the 501st MI Brigade, to name a few.Legere expressed gratitude to the association and those they represent for allowing her to speak at the home of our nation's founding father and the senior-most Army officer.
"We are in a very historic site and the Army has celebrated 237 years of service," said Legere. "As an Army general officer, I would like to remind you that this is your Army and I'm just very pleased and proud to represent it."Legere emphasized the sharing of intelligence among Army analysts and their peers, as well as agency analysts as greatly important to the intelligence mission."[We need to teach] them that from the day they come in so they don't grow up to be proud isolationists who think they have all the answers in their Google search," said Legere. "Teaching them that it's okay to collaborate, to integrate alternative points of view… those types of things are what we want to teach our kids to stop them from growing up to be so proud of their own abilities to recognize the value of those of others."Another point Legere discussed was the importance and success of the military intelligence immersion training program Foundry. It is because of Foundry, according to Legere, that MI Soldiers are trained in their respective intelligence fields through hands-on training with equipment they will use in theater and with real-world intelligence from specific threat networks analysts will be monitoring, for example."We've trained 90,000 MI deployers since [Foundry began]," said Legere. "There is no [signals intelligence] Soldier that deploys without [National Security Agency] certification and the data that they need. There is no Army SIGINT Soldier that deploys without time listening to the targets that they will be expected to report on within minutes of arriving. There is no [geospatial intelligence] Soldier that will ever have difficulty getting into [National Geospatial Agency] latest password and latest software."Legere thanked the association for their invite and the privledge of being able to speak to their members. The DIAA members also thanked Legere for her speaking role and presented her with a DIAA challenge coin.