Defense Intelligence Expert Meets National Security Fellows
Ms. Angela Silicato
On Tuesday February 22, the National Security Fellows met with Ms. Angela Marie Silicato, a 19-year intelligence expert who is currently serving in intelligence roles in the Air Force Reserves and with the Defense Intelligence Agency, to discuss defense and intelligence career opportunities, development, and advancement as well as national security missions. Ms. Silicato expressed that there is no single path to success. She discussed the various way to support a desire to serve our nation and passion for national security, from military service to think tanks, from internships to federal employment, and highlighting the importance of a strong work-life balance.
This year's NSF team is almost half female so the students were excited for the opportunity to speak with our first female guest speaker of the year and gain insight into overcoming potential challenges in the intelligence space. Ms. Silicato emphasized the importance in over-coming any form of discrimination or a 'glass ceiling' legacy culture is to keep the focus on your goals. She expressed, this is not meant to ignore issues, but when you enter a room and you are the only female, not to enter the room as the only female, but to enter the room as the expert in your field, as the representative of your work-unit, with confidence. Ms. Silicato complemented the discussion on this topic, focusing on the developing generations and cultural changes embracing diversity in all professions, encouraging us to continue those conversation because awareness is empowerment, and awareness is the first step for change.
Ms. Silicato discussed her leadership philosophy centered upon empowering others through transparency, collaboration and inclusivity, fostering an environment of accountability and competence. She encouraged students to seek mentors, ones that are similar to us in demographics and focus as well as diverse ones, emphasizing the importance of having a holistic view of how one fits into the bigger picture. She emphasized the value of peer-to-peer relationships, network building, and personal and professional development. A continued emphasis throughout the discussion was the imperative to always be clear with expectations, applying both to oneself and to others. She emphasized the importance of setting both short and long-term goals with achievable milestones. With strong communication as a resounding theme, she said to never stop asking questions, reaching out and seeking to grow, pointing out the level of engagement, effort and interest one shows correlates to the results.
Tailoring part of the discussion to the NSF team’s project and presentation audiences, Ms. Silicato provided advice for how to scope their assessments and presentations to various national security customers, ensuring an understanding of each's specific interests and the interconnectedness of the basics of the DIME construct (defense, information, military, and economic). She highlighted the differences between a competition environment versus a crisis environment regarding threats and intent, while emphasizing the importance of timeline implication for opportunities, influence and actions. Her advice helped the team's preparations in shaping the presentation plan for their year-long research project.
She approached this session in an open forum for individual questions while using both mentorship and coaching methods. The students were inspired by Ms. Silicato; and, many immediately acted on her advice by connecting on LinkedIn. The networking opportunities within this class, through the guest speakers and the customers for the capstone project are an essential building block to the future generation of our national security enterprise.
Ms. Silicato is an Air Force Reserve Lieutenant Colonel, serving as the Division Chief, Intelligence Analysis IMA at Headquarters Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and Cyber Effects Operations; and most recently in her Defense Intelligence Agency GG-15 civilian capacity as the Senior Intelligence Planner and former Deputy Chief of Strategy, Intelligence Planning, and Partner Engagement with USSPACECOM. Cumulatively, across her active duty, contracting and federal service, she has 19 years of Intelligence and Defense community experience.
Categories: Nation and World