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Actionable
intelligence:

Q&A with
Mary Legere

Former U.S. Army Senior Intelligence Office Lieutenant General Mary Legere (ret.) continues to serve the
intelligence community

Mary Legere

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WELCOME TO ACCENTURE

This is an interesting “second chapter” for you. Tell us what you want to accomplish.

Over the past year, Accenture has assembled a fantastic team led by Hal Smith focused on developing and delivering innovative solutions to address some of the US Intelligence Community’s (IC) most complex challenges.

Today, our colleagues in the IC are embarking on a journey of profound change, overhauling their legacy IT infrastructures, embracing the cloud, introducing shared services and improving cyber defense—all in an effort to strengthen their ability to support warfighters and national security decision makers across the globe.

Confronted by increasingly sophisticated threats and technologies that confound traditional sources, the IC are seeking to improve their ability to sense, understand, anticipate emerging threats with new and transformative approaches.

As a global leader in Information Technology and Digital Innovation, Accenture Federal’s Intelligence team will play an expansive role in accelerating these critical efforts, helping our intelligence customers accelerate their journeys to a modern digital IT enterprise, fully enabled by enhanced cyber security, advanced analytics, intelligent automation, artificial intelligence and predictive modeling.

After three decades as an intelligence professional, I am excited to be a part of this effort, to lend my energy to help our IC partners seize the opportunity to pivot to the new, and to transform in ways that ensure their mission success.



As you look out at the IC, what are the major challenges that you see?

Today, the United States is confronted by a wide range of threat actors from near peer states, to terrorist organizations, to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and rise of cyber actors and insider threats. The security environment today is as diverse and dangerous as we have experienced in our nation’s history.

Against this dynamic backdrop, the US Intelligence Community must provide the warning and intelligence to inform and support our policy makers, military commanders and law enforcement officials, ensuring our nation’s security in a world of growing and complex threats.

For Accenture Federal, and others who support the IC, we must do all we can to anticipate and deliver the best solutions and the latest technologies to improve their ability to do the work which protects our citizens.

INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY

How do you see the role of digital technologies affecting this industry?

As with all technological advances, there are both opportunities and risk.

The IC will enjoy the benefit of the continued advances in intelligent automation, machine learning and increasingly mature artificial intelligence capabilities which will improve integration and enhanced decision making through meaningful data.

At the same time, if trends in the transfer of key technologies remain unchanged, our adversaries are likely to enjoy the same advantage.

Where once the United States could count on technological superiority, it is most likely that the advances in AI, encryption, robotics, integrated surveillance/sensor technologies, smart platforms, commercial satellites, advanced sensors, exploitation of publically available information, will provide a profound but short-lived advantage. Our nation’s ability to continuously innovate and adapt will be key to sustaining this edge.


Was there a particular moment or person that influenced your decision to become part of our nation’s intelligence community?

In my first year at the University of New Hampshire, I enrolled in an international relations course and an Army ROTC leadership lab, hoping both might provide useful grounding for a possible career in the Foreign Service.

During that semester, I had a conversation with one of my professors, who was not only a renowned expert on Soviet Succession but also a senior intelligence officer in the US Navy Reserves. Noting my interests, he was kind enough to provide a tutorial on the US Intelligence Community, spurring my further interest in Military Intelligence. One thing led to another, and I ended up accepting an ROTC Scholarship and earning a commission as an Army Intelligence Officer.

Then and now, I remain grateful to this wonderful teacher who took time to pass on his passion for the intelligence profession and military service. His encouragement set me on a career path which ultimately made all the difference in my life.

SOLDIER FOR LIFE

Of your many accomplishments, if you had to pick one, what are you most proud of?

For 34 years, I had the honor of serving in the United States Army, working daily with an incredible team of selfless, courageous men and women, bound by shared values, a common purpose, and an unwavering love for country and for one another.

Over many assignments, deployments, and years, my husband (also an Army Officer) and I were inspired daily by the generosity, resilience and optimism of our colleagues and their families.

From the earliest days as a 22 year old along the West German border, to my final years as a Lieutenant General responsible for the Army’s Intelligence Corps, every day was a gift.

Now retired, I am so grateful for the honor to serve my country and to work with such wonderful people. I am proud to be a part of Accenture’s unwavering commitment to our Armed Forces, our Veterans and their spouses. As we say in the Army, I am a Soldier for Life.

What do you do in your “spare time?”

My husband and I really enjoy traveling and spending time our families and friends. While no Olympic team is waiting for us, we enjoy running, swimming, cycling, hiking, kayaking, eating and hanging out with our dogs! Raised in New England, we are also avid New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox Fans but make a point to be polite about it.

As part of a post military retirement stay in shape strategy and bucket list, I am working my way down a long list of destination marathons that I want to complete, with three planned over the next 10 months. I run for fun. I run for pizza. I run for aspirin.

Finally, to stay connected with my intelligence colleagues, I am also honored to serve on the Advisory Board for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency [NGA], and involved in the National Military Intelligence Association [NMIA], a nonprofit foundation that provides mentoring for young intelligence professionals, both military and civilian.

INTERVIEW

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