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What does your role involve?
As a DIO intelligence analyst, I monitor and analyse
material on overseas national security developments
to produce intelligence assessments. My
assessments directly inform the decisions of senior
leaders, including the Defence Minister, Secretary and
Chief of the Defence Force.
DIO is a dynamic work environment, where analysts
regularly produce intelligence assessments on
fast-breaking international security developments, as
well as strategic, longer-term trends.
Like every analyst at DIO, I am a subject matter
expert. Each day, I read and synthesise vast quantities
of information – both open source and classified
to keep abreast of developments in my area. I
also brief senior officers – within Defence and wider
government – which gives me a great opportunity to
represent DIO and directly interact with my audience.
What is your background?
I have a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from
the Australian National University. In 2009, I joined the
Defence Graduate Development Program, completing
rotations in complaints resolution, policy development
and DIO. At the end of the program, I was accepted
into DIO and have worked as an analyst on two high-
profile country desks, as well as within the executive
branch. Last year, I was also seconded to the
Independent Review of the Intelligence Community.
What have been among the highlights during
your time at DIO?
One of the most satisfying moments during my time
as an analyst was briefing the CDF and Secretary at
the Strategic Command Group regarding security
developments on a current ADF operation. Based on
my intelligence assessments, the CDF tasked a senior
Defence officer to modify a current campaign plan. It
was exhilarating to know that my work had made a
I’ve also had many opportunities to travel within
Australia and overseas. Most recently, I accompanied
Director DIO on a trip to the United Kingdom and Italy
to attend a NATO conference and bilateral meetings
with our international partners.
DIO offers exciting, unique development opportunities
for its analysts at all levels. During my six-month
secondment to the Independent Review of the
Intelligence Community – the first comprehensive
review of the Australian intelligence community
since 2004 – I worked as an integral part of a small,
senior-level team. This role offered me an insight into
the inner workings of the intelligence community
and expanded my understanding of government.
In addition, because of my time on secondment, I
think more strategically and have a larger network of
contacts to draw upon in the future.
What have been some challenges and how did
you overcome them?
As an analyst, my main challenge is to anticipate
and quickly assess rapidly evolving, high profile
issues and their impact on Australia’s security and
strategic environment. Developments often take
place overnight, which requires analysts to produce
clear assessments to very tight deadlines. Soon
after joining DIO, I determined the best approach
was to think methodically, draw on my expertise and
collaborate closely with my colleagues.
Most analysts in DIO are generalists, with strong
tradecraft skills allowing them to move ‘targets’ many
times over their career. When I moved country desks,
I had little background knowledge of my new target,
but through reading widely, attending briefings and
drawing on the support of my new team members, I
quickly got up to speed.
Having come straight from university, I initially found
working in a Top Secret environment quite challenging
it permeates every aspect of work at DIO. With
great respect for the necessity of robust security
measures, I have enjoyed the challenge of embracing
simple, but important, changes to the way I do
business. And thankfully, working ‘behind the wire’
means I can’t take my work home at night!
Louisa Richey has worked as an analyst at the Defence Intelligence Organisation
in Canberra for two-and-a -half years. She recently spoke to Defence about why she
loves her job.
Interested in a career
at DIO? Check out the
organisation’s website at
Issue 4 2012
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