Jennifer Fabius Greene
On A Winding Path to Ensure National Security
Jennifer Fabius Greene
Even as a little girl, Jennifer Fabius Greene was intrigued by
the criminal mind. Perhaps it was the influence of Cagney &
Lacey, one of her favorite childhood TV shows, or the experience
of living in New York City, where traffic sirens frequently pierced
the night. "I also liked the adrenaline rush of law enforcement,"
she admits with a laugh.
In any case, Fabius Greene's fascination led her through the worlds
of community police work and international terrorism to a position
where her lifelong interests meshed with more recently acquired
skills in information technology. Today, she is a lead information
systems engineer in MITRE's Center for Integrated Intelligence Systems
(CIIS), working on national security issues.
Outwitting Bad Guys
Fabius Greene's path to MITRE started in New Jersey at Rutgers
University, where she earned a B.S. in criminal justice and graduated
Phi Beta Kappa. While in college, she worked as a "special police
officer" in Demarest, NJ. She admits that "It wasn't NYPD Blue,"
adding that her only life-threatening confrontation was with an
irate driver who tried to run her over while she was directing traffic.
Her continuing fascination with "the bad guys" led her to Georgetown
University's School of Foreign Service, where she earned a master's
degree in national security studies. "My area was 'low intensity
conflict' operations, such as terrorism, insurgency, and political
unrest," she explains.
This background made her a natural for the State Department's diplomatic
security area, where she worked as an analyst focusing on the Middle
East. But as the century drew to a close, more and more of her work
was being done with the aid of technology, and Fabius Greene's interest
in crime was soon matched by her interest in IT.
Overcoming Tech Intimidation
At first, Fabius Greene wasn't sure she'd be good at technology.
So a friend gave her a book about IT security basics and said, "If
you can read this whole thing without falling asleep, and you're
still interested when you're finished, you've probably got what
it takes." She finished the book and eventually became the systems
manager for her office at the State Department.
In 2004, she brought all this experience to MITRE's Center for
Enterprise Modernization, taking a position that combined systems
analysis, criminal investigation, and threat detection for the Department
of Homeland Security. In March of 2006, Fabius Greene took a new
job in the CIIS, focusing on systems engineering in the area of
"If you want to connect the dots, it's the analytical, investigative
aspect that is the common theme throughout my career," she says,
noting that in all of her jobs, she had to know the language and
cultures of the people she is working with to understand what makes
them tick. According to Fabius Greene, the same is true in technology.
"Techs have to understand what people are trying to do and make
concepts accessible to all skill levels."
She describes her job as "inspiring and exciting. Just realizing
how close to major power centers and decision makers you are is
awesome," she says. "There are times when you think 'wow, we really
are making a difference here, really improving the safety and security
of our country.'"
From Life in Court to Life on Court
Another thing that makes her happy to come to work every morning
is the people. "I've never met anybody at MITRE who isn't really,
really smart. And so many of them have interesting outside activities,
too. You really get a chance to have a life outside of work here,
and people seize that opportunity." As does Fabius Greene, who plays
not one, but two kinds of tennis.
She was on a United States Tennis Association (USTA) 3.0 team that
was the mid-Atlantic championship team at the National USTA tournament
in Tucson in 2006. She's also an avid player of court tennis, which
is the original form of tennis, played with handmade balls on an
indoor court designed to resemble the courtyard of a medieval monastery.
It's been a long and interesting path from police work in New Jersey
to national security in Virginia, but no surprise to Fabius Greene.
"I always thought I'd end up here, in our nation's capital," she
says about her home close to Washington, D.C.
—by Faye Elkins
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