Susan Gordon

  • Susan Gordon

Susan Gordon

Former U.S. Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence

As a Rubenstein Fellow, Gordon will teach courses in political science and public policy on issues related to national security and leadership in the public sphere. 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.


The Honorable Susan (Sue) M. Gordon served as the fifth Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence from August 2017 until August 2019. In this role, Gordon worked with the Director of National Intelligence to lead the Intelligence Community, focusing on advancing intelligence integration, expanding outreach and partnerships, and driving innovation across the Intelligence Community.

With nearly three decades of experience in the Intelligence Community, Gordon served in a variety of leadership roles spanning numerous intelligence organizations and disciplines. From 2015 to 2017, Gordon served as the Deputy Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). In this role, she helped the director lead the agency and manage the National System of Geospatial Intelligence. 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. She is known for her commitment to diversity and inclusion and to the women and men of the Intelligence Community.

Prior to her assignment with NGA, Gordon served for 27 years at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), rising to senior executive positions in each of the Agency’s four directorates: operations, analysis, science and technology, and support. She joined the CIA in 1980 as an analyst in the Office of Scientific and Weapons Research, and went on to serve as the Director of the Office of Advanced Analytic Tools, Director of Special Activities in the Directorate of Science and Technology, Director for Support, and ultimately in concurrent roles as Director of the Information Operations Center and the CIA Director’s senior advisor on cyber. 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 has been recognized for her creative executive leadership through numerous awards, including the Presidential Rank Award at the distinguished level.

Gordon holds a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology (biomechanics) from Duke University where she was a three-time captain of the Duke Women’s Basketball team. She and her husband, Jim, live in Northern Virginia, and have two adult children who have also chosen to serve their country.

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Susan Gordon News & Events

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18Feb, 2020

A Former President Trump Won’t ‘Need to Know.’ Cut Off His Intelligence.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

The Washington Post | January 15, 2021Opinion by Susan M. Gordon Susan M. Gordon was the principal deputy director of national intelligence from 2017 to 2019. Every former president in the modern era has benefited from a unique national security perk after leaving the White House: routine intelligence briefings and access to classified information to…

18Feb, 2020

How the Intelligence Community Views the Dangers of Domestic Extremism

Monday, January 18, 2021

PBS News Hour | January 18, 2021 With President Trump’s looming impeachment trial in the Senate, some are asking what kind of access he should have to intelligence briefings after leaving office. Susan Gordon, the former principal deputy director of national intelligence, joins Nick Schifrin to discuss whether Trump should be cut off after leaving…

18Feb, 2020

Trump’s Legacy on Foreign Policy, and the Challenges Facing Biden

Monday, January 4, 2021

PBS News Hour | December 31, 2020 During the early days of the 2016 campaign trail, then-candidate Donald Trump assured supporters he would pursue an “America First” approach to foreign policy. But what legacy will President Trump leave behind, and what are the challenges for President-elect Biden? Judy Woodruff spoke with four foreign policy experts…

18Feb, 2020

Sue Gordon: What is Happening in the U.S. Intelligence Community? Making Sense of the Behind-the-Scenes Upheaval - Thursday, April 2, 2020

Professor Peter Feaver and Sue Gordon, former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, will discuss the current state of the U.S. intelligence community. This discussion will take place via Zoom and is open to the Duke community. Please enter a few minutes early so that the event can begin at 5:00 pm. Join the event…