Like her nickname, Lt. Gen. VeraLinn “Dash” Jamieson is taking her ideas for the Air Force intelligence community and running with them — full speed ahead.
Jamieson — who in November became the service’s deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance on the Air Staff at the Pentagon, known as the A2 — has begun a developmental phase she believes will take intelligence gathering, and ISR missions involving platforms such as the MQ-9 Reaper, the Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS), and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, well into 2030.
“I think [what] I’m actually addressing, I’m starting with the ‘I’ in ISR,” Jamieson said in an interview with Military.com on Feb. 15. “I came up with a vision that encompasses where I think we are, and how do we support the [Air Force’s] strategic master plan, the [defense] secretary’s national strategy, and address our [major command] concerns. I’m a simple person: Win today, prepare for tomorrow. And I thought all of the airmen could understand, ‘What does that mean?’ [The plan] addresses how do we enable and become successful in today’s fight, while not ignoring tomorrow’s … [threats].”
Jamieson’s ideas include an open architecture structure to data sharing; streamlining and threading together battlespace intelligence; as well as a fusion warfare concept, or merging capabilities within space, cyber, DCGS and signals intelligence communities and “integrating them into tomorrow’s mission planning,” she wrote in a 2015 thesis published by The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.
She is the first female intelligence officer to be a director of ISR for the Air Force in more than a decade, and the first intelligence officer to hold the A2 position.
“It’s quite an honor,” she said during the interview at the Pentagon. “I’m breaking a lot of glass that way — and why do I think that? Because there had never been one,” she said of her intelligence background.
Airmen know Jamieson as Dash. “Everyone assumes it’s a fighter pilot call sign. It’s not,” she said. As a baby, “I was late to walk, about 15 months, and my father said, ‘Oh my gosh, there goes our little dash!’ Because I just stood up and ran for the first time. No little step here and there. I just ran.”
Jamieson spoke with Military.com about the importance of analysis; young, but seasoned airmen; and even artificial intelligence beyond the Air Force. Her comments have been edited for clarity and brevity.
What are some immediate changes airmen may notice in the ISR community in your first few months in the position?
The A2 does not have a senior analyst. It has not had a senior analyst to dialogue [with] the [intelligence community] and with MAJCOMs for a couple of years. So I hired a senior analyst.
And we’re hiring Air Force mission managers to look at the “four-plus-one” threat — Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and [violent extremist organizations] — and then some, that’s regionally aligned, and the Air Force core mission area, the functions that we have to do in a joint war fight. So that we would have threat expertise from that to establish Air Force mission managers to drive sound analysis so that we could enable effective targeting, so that we could identify the collection gaps to maximize our operations and intelligence operations endeavors.
Read the rest of this Q&A at Military.com.