Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy

Posted: August 27, 2008 in Army, Cryptology, First in Her Class, Military Intelligence

Retired US Army Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy (1947-) probably accomplishes more by 6am than most people do all day.

Born in Germany and raised an Army brat, Kennedy graduated college in the US with a degree philosophy, and then went on to be commissioned in the US Army in 1969. She served in Germany, Korea, and focused her career on Intelligence and cryptology.

Kennedy climbed the ranks and was eventually promoted to Lt. Gen. in 1997 (a historical first) when she was also named the Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence (another historical first). Hoo-Yah.

So here’s where the career gets sticky. In 1999, Kennedy made a claim of sexual harassment against General Larry Smith. What makes it such a mess is that the harassment occurred years before. What makes it a spectacularly glorious mess is that Smith was in consideration for the post of Army Deputy Inspector General, aka “The Dude In Charge of Investigating Harassment Claims”.

Kennedy was greatly criticized for waiting 3 years before coming out with her charge against Smith, but this Agent has to admit, I see her side of things. The American Military Machine still has light years to go when it comes to its treatment of female personnel. Many friends of this Agent who serve in our military regular tell tales of what it takes to get along as a dame in uniform, and sometimes it means unfortunately keeping your yap shut when you’d like nothing more than to punch come clown in the nose. Heck, a slew of recent news reports shows the military to be about as female-friendly as a Misogyny Conference in Strip Club in Vegas. Kennedy, at the time, probably saw the incident as a no-harm/no-foul sort of situation and let it go. However, put the man in charge of investigating such behavior, and it becomes a whole new ballgame.

Like Kermit the Frog always says: It Aint Easy Being Green. Women pick and choose their battles all the time and Kennedy certainly chose hers.

Kennedy retired after 31 distinguished years in 2000. Since then, she has been an outspoken critic of the Bush Administration with regards to both the military and women’s treatment in the military, a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, and recently was thought to be on the short-list of potential VP candidates for Barack Obama. And she was also inducted into the Military Intelligence Hall of fame.

And to end tie this all up with one pretty bow of a cliche: A woman’s work is never done.


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