Skip to main content

National Security Expert Sue Gordon Named Rubenstein Fellow at Duke

From 2017-19, Gordon served as nation’s second highest-ranking intelligence officer

Duke alumnus Sue Gordon, who from 2017-2019 was the nation's second highest-ranking intelligence officer, will be a Rubenstein Fellow beginning August 2020
Duke alumnus Sue Gordon, who from 2017-2019 was the nation's second highest-ranking intelligence officer, will be a Rubenstein Fellow beginning August 2020

Susan M. “Sue” Gordon, a former top official in the U.S. intelligence community, will join Duke University as a Rubenstein Fellow in August 2020.

Gordon served as principal deputy director of national intelligence from 2017-19, the nation’s second highest-ranking intelligence officer. In that role, she focused on establishing a unified strategic vision, advancing intelligence integration across the government intelligence community, expanding outreach and partnerships, and driving innovation across the community.

An authority on strategy, innovation, and leadership, Gordon is currently a board member at Pallas Advisors, a Washington, D.C.-based consultancy, and works with other organizations on technology, cyber and space issues, and global risk.

While at Duke, Gordon will teach courses in political science and public policy on issues related to national security and leadership in the public sphere. During her year in residence, Gordon will be hosted by the Duke Program in American Grand Strategy and affiliated with the Sanford School of Public Policy and the Fuqua School of Business.

In addition, Gordon will deliver guest lectures, engage in events on campus, and mentor students. A three-time captain of the Duke women’s basketball team who graduated magna cum laude in 1980, Gordon will also engage with the Duke Alumni Association and with Duke Athletics.

“Director Gordon has a long and exceptionally distinguished career within the Intelligence Community. In this role, she played a key role in the national security advisory and policymaking process, including in the current Trump Administration,” said Peter Feaver, professor of political science and public policy and head of Duke Program in American Grand Strategy. “She also compiled an impressive record as a mentor for emerging generations of leadership. Our students and faculty are fortunate to have this national resource on campus to help make sense of the bewildering stream of news and analysis regarding geopolitics and our own national policy scene.”

Gordon is the ninth expert to join Duke’s Rubenstein Fellows Academy. Launched in 2014, the program brings leaders with deep expertise in issues of global importance to campus for in-depth engagement with students and faculty. Current Rubenstein Fellows are Sarah Bloom Raskin, a former deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury; Gen. Martin Dempsey, the former chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs; Dikgang Moseneke, a former Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa, and health data expert Eric Perakslis.

”The chance to join the Duke community in this new role inspires me,” Gordon said. “My time in the intelligence community and at the national security policy table has given me a good view of this complex, dynamic, changing world and the challenges and opportunities it presents. My aim is to bring that insight to students who carry our hopes and dreams so they might take best advantage.”

With more than three decades of experience in the intelligence community, Gordon has served in a variety of leadership roles spanning numerous intelligence organizations and disciplines. Prior to being the principal deputy director of national intelligence, she was the deputy director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency from 2015-17. In that role, she drove NGA’s transformation to meet the challenges of a 21st century intelligence agency. She also championed agile governance, recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce, and expansion of geospatial intelligence services to the open marketplace.

Prior to that, Gordon served for 27 years at the Central Intelligence Agency rising to senior executive positions in each of the agency’s four directorates: operations, analysis, science and technology, and support. In 1998, she designed and drove the formation of In-Q-Tel, a private, non-profit company whose primary purpose is to deliver innovative technology solutions for the agency and the intelligence community.

Gordon is the recipient of numerous government and industry awards, including the Distinguished Intelligence Medal and the Distinguished Presidential Rank Award.

Gordon holds a Bachelor of Science from Duke University where she was the captain of the Duke Women’s Basketball team. She is married to fellow Duke graduate Jim Gordon with whom she has two grown children, one grandchild, and a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog named Astro.