2022 World Affairs Council of the Year
Network of Independent World Affairs Councils of America

Careers | Women in National Security | Apr 19

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Women in National Security Careers

TNWAC hosts a seminar featuring women from a variety of national security disciplines to discuss their career paths, experiences and ups and downs of working in the field.

Press releases, newsletter notes and other materials to promote these panels on your campus and among your networks. TNWAC.org/Careers

Via Zoom

April 19, 2023 @ 11:30am-1:00pm CT


Deborah Monroe
 Senior Defense Intelligence Officer (Ret)

Leila Gardner
Assistant Director of Intelligence
United States Marine Corps HQ
& USN Reserve Intelligence Officer

Safa Shahwan Edwards
Deputy Director of Cyber Statecraft, Atlantic Council

Maureen Page
Research Director, Defense Intelligence Agency


Deborah Monroe

Ms. Monroe served as an intelligence officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency from 1994 to 2021. Prior to retirement in 2021, she was the Senior US Defense Liaison Officer at Royal Air Force Base Wyton as part of her assignment to the the UK Ministry of Defence Directorate for Intelligence. From 2013 to 2016, she served as the Information Review Task Force (IRTF) Senior Intelligence Officer assessing the impact of the compromise classified information on Department of Defense (DoD) Intelligence and Operations capabilities. From 2011 to 2013, Ms. Monroe served as Deputy Chief of the Middle East and North Africa Office, and as the Deputy Director for the Middle East and Africa Regional Center. From August 2010 to March 2011, she was Intelligence Chief for the first DoD Information Review Task Force which was charged with assessing the impact of the leak of classified reporting to WikiLeaks. Ms. Monroe served in a number of additional positions within DIA: Acting-Chief of the Defense Intelligence Open Source Program Office; Deputy Chief of the 200-member Counterproliferation Support Office (CPT); Executive Assistant to VADM Jake Jacoby, Director, DIA; and in a variety of positions in the Joint Chiefs of Staff Directorate for Intelligence, J2.

Ms. Monroe’s civilian awards include: Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Exceptional Achievement Medal; DIA Director’s Award; DIA Award for Exceptional Civilian Service; and the DoD Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Role Model Award. Ms. Monroe received an MA in National Security and Strategic Studies from the US Naval War College in 1999; an MBA from St. Ambrose University in 1994; and a BS in Journalism from Texas A&M University in 1987.  She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee where she volunteers with the Tennessee World Affairs Council and is active in the local community.

Leila Gardner

Ms. Gardner is the Assistant Director of Intelligence, Deputy Commandant for Information, Headquarters Marine Corps.

As the Assistant Director of Intelligence she manages the Headquarters Intelligence Branches and provides professional intelligence management and policy support to assist the Director of Intelligence (DIRINT) and the Deputy Commandant for Information (DCI) in the conduct of Marine Corps Intelligence activities within the Marine Corps, Defense, and National Intelligence Communities. Prior to her selection as the Assistant Director, she served as the USMC Intelligence Mission Manager and advised the DCI, the DIRINT, and the Marine Corps Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Enterprise (MCISRE) on all aspects of strategic, operational, and tactical intelligence, including current and future programs. While on a Joint Duty Assignment with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Ms. Gardner was the Deputy Research Director for Military Capabilities from September 2018-September 2019 and from February 2017 to August 2018, she served at the Mission Manager for Europe Eurasia at DIA. From October 2019 to October 2020 Ms. Gardner spent a year on active duty as a Navy Commander as a Defense Liaison to the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense-Intelligence at RAF Wyton’s Pathfinder Five Eyes Facility. Prior to joining DIA on a Joint Duty Assignment in February 2017, she was the Senior Advisor to the Director of Intelligence for Analysis and Production, Headquarters Marine Corps. In that position she represented the Marine Corps as the senior intelligence analyst and provided policy and management guidance on intelligence analysis and production in order to assist the Director of Intelligence in the conduct of Service Intelligence activities within the Marine Corps, Defense, and National Intelligence Communities.

Ms. Gardner was selected as a Defense Intelligence Senior Leader (DISL) in September 2011. Her areas of responsibility include Advancing Analysis across the Marine Intelligence Enterprise, the Unified Intelligence Strategies, National Intelligence Estimates, and strategic planning. She was assigned to the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA) from 2000-2010 where she held various analytic and leadership positions including threat analysis and regional specialist. Her areas of concentration included cultural intelligence, irregular warfare, and the need to utilize open source material to provide intelligence products at the lowest classification level. In October 2010 she assumed the duties as the N2, Director of Analysis, for the KENNEDY Irregular Warfare Center at the Office of Naval Intelligence.

Ms. Gardner began her intelligence career in 2000 at the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity where she served in a number of analytic positions including the Balkans, Horn of Africa, and Russia regional analysis. In addition to her duties as Senior Associate Mission Manager, Ms. Gardner is a commissioned intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve. She was commissioned in 2003 after having served 10 years as an enlisted Marine Corps intelligence specialist in the Marine Corps Reserve. Her personal decorations include the Bronze Star, Joint Service Commendation medal (oak leaf in lieu of second award), Navy Commendation medal

(gold star in lieu of second award), Joint Service Achievement medal and Navy Marine Corps Achievement medal.

Ms. Gardner is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and holds a Master of Science in Military Studies degree from Marine Corps Command and Staff College. She received her Intelligence Community Officer designation in 2009.

Safa Shahwan Edwards

Safa Shahwan Edwards is the deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative under the Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab). In this role, she manages the administration and external communications of the Initiative, as well as the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge, the Initiative’s global cyber policy and strategy competition.

Safa holds an MA in International Affairs with a concentration in Conflict Resolution from the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs and a BA in Political Science from Miami University of Ohio. Safa is of Bolivian and Jordanian heritage and speaks Spanish and Arabic.

Maureen Page

DISL, Research Director, Defense Intelligence Agency

Ms. Page leads the planning, execution, and oversight of intelligence research and analytic tradecraft within the Directorate for Analysis. She oversees the development of analytic tradecraft guidance, leads analytic outreach programs, guides DIA’s product evaluation and analytic lessons learned efforts, and develops the Defense Intelligence Enterprise’s Program of Analysis. She previously served as the Senior Defense Intelligence Analyst (SDIA) for Executive Production, the SDIA for U.S. European Command, and the SDIA for Europe and NATO within DIA’s Europe Eurasia Regional Center. She was appointed to the Defense Intelligence Senior Level in November 2013.

Hailing from New Jersey, Ms. Page attended Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts and studied at Harvard College from which she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Studies. After college, Ms. Page attended the London School of Economics and Political Science and graduated with a Master of Science degree with merit in Comparative Politics.

Ms. Page joined DIA in 2003 as an analyst. From 2005 to 2007, she worked in the White House Situation Room where she served as the Senior Duty Officer providing direct intelligence support to the President of the United States. From 2008 to 2010, she served on the National Intelligence Council (NIC) as the Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Europe. During this rotation, she orchestrated two National Intelligence Estimates. After completing the NIC rotation, Ms. Page retuned to DIA as the Deputy Defense Intelligence Officer for Europe and NATO from 2011 until 2013. In this capacity, she briefed the President of the United States on a key intelligence topic in mid-2011. In 2012, Ms. Page became the Europe Division Chief within DIA’s Europe Eurasia Regional Center.

Ms. Page received the Meritorious Presidential Rank Award in 2019. She previously received the National Intelligence Exceptional Achievement Award from the Office of Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joint Meritorious Civilian Service Award twice. She is a four-time recipient of DIA’s Meritorious Civilian Service Award.

Ms. Page resides with her husband, Matthew, formerly an analyst at State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research. They have three children: Teddy, Jack, and Anna.






Tennessee World Affairs Council Profile | Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee

Member, Center for Nonprofit Management

THE MISSION of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Tennessee World Affairs Council is to promote international awareness, understanding and connections to enhance the region’s global stature and to prepare Tennesseans to thrive in our increasingly complex and connected world.

THE VISION of  the Tennessee World Affairs Council is a well-informed community that thinks critically about the world and the impact of global events.