National intelligence leader encourages next generation of national security
Stacey Dixon is well aware of the types of threats our nation faces and what’s needed for its defense.
“Institutions like those assembled here are teaching students the skills they need to keep our country safe,” said Dixon, principal deputy director of national intelligence at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, during a recent visit to Blacksburg. “These programs and these students are the foundation upon which our nation will stay leading in a very competitive and often dangerous world — something the Hume Center has been showcasing through this event for a decade.”
Dixon was the keynote speaker during the 10th annual Hume Center and Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence Colloquium on April 12, where more than 450 people spanning higher education, government, and industry gathered. The event, which combines Virginia Tech students and faculty with government and industry leaders, featured student presentations and a poster session from more than 100 students related to ongoing research and experiential learning programs from across multiple departments and colleges.
The Hume Center leads the Virginia Tech National Security Institute's education programs focused on the challenges of cybersecurity, autonomy, and resilience for the national security community. The theme of this year’s colloquium was “Critical and Emerging Technologies,” which was highlighted throughout Dixon’s address.
“How technology is used will set the landscape and determine how resilient, prepared, and capable our nation will be. These technology developments will challenge us through their potential to disrupt and upend the status quo – and they invariably will,” Dixon said.
In addition to speaking, Dixon spent time with students from Virginia Tech and Morehouse College in a roundtable discussion. Students were able to ask Dixon questions about her background in engineering, her experience in the intelligence community, and her outlook on emerging technologies.
She also was given a tour of the National Security Institute's research labs by Executive Director Eric Paterson, and other faculty members, and she toured the Institute for Creativity and Technology’s labs at Moss Arts Center. The latter tour featured a demonstration of ongoing drone-related research by the security institute's faculty and student researchers.
Sworn in on Aug. 4, 2021, Dixon serves as the sixth Senate-confirmed principal deputy director of national intelligence. She holds both a doctorate and master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. She was a chemical engineer postdoctoral fellow at the University of Minnesota.