Jamaican-born marine: 1st black US spy chief

Jamaican-born marine: 1st black US spy chief

Written by Editor

Topics: News

Jamaican-born Marine Corps officer, Major General Vincent Stewart, will create history later this month by becoming the first African-American and first marine to hold the position of Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and Commander of the Joint Functional Component Command for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.

Stewart, who was born in Kingston, will step down as the head of the Marine Forces Cyber Command to begin his new job as the 20th Director of the DIA on January 23. Prior to assuming office, he will pin on his third star to formalize his promotion to the rank of Lieutenant General.

Major General Stewart 1

New Director of Defense Intelligence Agency, Major General Vincent Stewart (Photo: US Department of Defense)

As espionage chief, Stewart will oversee the efforts of the DIA to provide military intelligence to combat units, defense planners and policymakers. According to the DIA’s website, the agency plans, manages and executes intelligence operations during peace time, crisis and war – in a nutshell, espionage central.

Major General Stewart 2

Then Brigadier General Vincent R. Stewart (right), Director of Intelligence; with (from left) Major General Ronald L. Bailey, Commanding General of 1st Marine Division; Lieutenant General Walter E. Gaskin, Deputy Chairman of NATO Military Committee; Lieutenant General Willie J. Williams, Director of Marine Corps Staff; and Sergeant Major Micheal P. Barrett, 17th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps. (Photo: The United States Marine Corps)

In an official release, Defense Department spokesman Colonel Steven Warren said Stewart will bring a wealth of talent and leadership to the intelligence communities across agencies and organizations. The Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, added: “This is a position I know well, and Vincent is exceptionally qualified to serve in this important Intelligence Community and Department of Defense post. [His] temperament, professional background, leadership skills and integrity make him eminently suited to be the next DIA director.”

After spending most of his formative years in Jamaica, Stewart migrated to the US in the early 1970s. He credits his upbringing in Jamaica, most notably his education at Kingston College, as being the foundation that set him apart from his American schoolmates and paved the way for his success.

Stewart started his distinguished military career when he joined the US Marine Corps in the early 80s. His resume boasts first-rate stations as Senior Intelligence Planner for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Director of Intelligence for the Marine Corps Headquarters.

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