Armed Forces Real Life

La Femme Pierson – The U.S. Secret Service’s First Woman Director

Julia Pierson is New Secret Service DirectorToday we saw the ultimate heroine story of a true Tough Cookie – one of the toughest Cookies I’ve seen yet. Today, President Obama made history by appointing veteran U.S. Secret Service official Julia A. Pierson as the first female director in the agency’s 148-year history.

Pretty amazing right? Plus, Pierson is picking up the reins of this top national law enforcement institution just a year after a prostitution scandal nearly tarred its reputation and exposed the underbelly of its very male-dominated culture. So she’s got her work cut out for her.

As Barbara Riggs, former first female deputy director to the agency in 2004, put it,

“I think that because [the scandal] is still out there in the public’s mind and also in the press, yeah, she will have to deal with what’s remaining from it.”

But Pierson had already served as chief of staff to the outgoing director, Mark Sullivan, for the past five years. And she’s spent some 30 years in the agency working her way up through the ranks and earning her stripes. So I’d say she pretty well prepared, and more than up to the task.

As President Obama said in his own statement,

“Julia is eminently qualified to lead the agency that not only safeguards Americans at major events and secures our financial system, but also protects our leaders and our first families, including my own.”

And boy does it! Pierson is taking the helm of an agency with a $1.5 billion budget, that employs 3,500 agents and 1,400 uniformed officers, operates 142 domestic and 23 international investigative field offices, and in 2011 alone, provided protection to U.S. dignitaries on more than 5,600 domestic and nearly 400 international trips. That’s quite an enormous ship she’s got to captain, and a whole heck of a lot of power in the hands of one woman.

But I’m ever confident that she’ll master this role, and implement some much needed discipline and improvements – including a massive technology overhaul she’s been personally overseeing. So finally, this incredibly old boy’s club is getting some serious updating.

Thanks Julia Pierson for making it happen, and paving the way for women the world over! That’s one Tough Cookie!

Source: The Washington Post


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