Women’s Intelligence
Network (WIN)

Who we are


The Women’s Intelligence Network (WIN) connects, supports, and promotes female scholars
who work in the field of Intelligence Studies. WIN is hosted in Europe and the UK by the King’s
Intelligence Studies Group (KISG) and in North America by the North American Society for
Intelligence History (NASIH).

 

The overall goal is to get more research by and on women promoted, supported, and elevated in the field of Intelligence Studies

 

Membership


Membership is free, and the network welcomes people of all gender identities and sexual
orientations as members. If you are interested in becoming a member of WIN, you can send an email with your current position and research interests to womenintelnetwork@gmail.com.

 

What we do


WIN organises brown-bag lunches with one of three overall themes:


 female scholar presenters,
 gender and intelligence research topics,
 topics centring on problems faced by women in their professional advancement.

 

WIN awards the annual Polly Corrigan Prize for the best publication in Intelligence Studies by
a female author.

WIN runs a (wo)mentoring programme for emerging female scholars. It aims specifically to
support PhD students and early career researchers in the critical moments after finishing the
PhD. If you are interested in participating in the programme – either as mentor or mentee –
please get in touch (email to: womenintelnetwork@gmail.com).

WIN meets regularly at conferences, such as at the annual conventions of NASIH, ISA, and
others. At these meetings emerging and established scholars come together informally to
network and share information on relevant conferences, research initiatives, and fellowships. 

 

WIN also publishes gender-inclusive syllabi in Intelligence Studies.

During a time when there is still a strong gender imbalance within the field of Intelligence
Studies, WIN hopes to bring research by and on women to greater prominence within the field and the larger scholarly community.

Click photos for more information

(From left to right: Dr. Aviva Guttmann, Melanie Brand, Dr. Claudia Hillebrand, Dr. Claire Hubbard-Hall, Dr. Hager Ben Jaffel,
Dr. Kristie Macrakis, Dr. Michael S. Goodman, Dr. Sarah-Jane Corke)

WIN Board

Women in Intelligence Network (WIN)
Brown Bag Lunch Series


Agenda 2022

January 2022: Deborah Baeur
This is a Women’s Intelligence Network Brown Bag Lunch event:
Date: 13 January 2022
Title: Countering Espionage: The Expansion of Domestic Surveillance, National Defense,
and Targeting the Foreigner in fin-de-siècle France

Presenter: Deborah Baeur, Associate Professor, Department of History, Purdue University
Fort Wayne
Deborah will present her monograph, which has just come out

This talk will discuss the foundations of professional state-sponsored intelligence in France at the end of the nineteenth century, focusing on the moves that early intelligence practice took towards counterintelligence.  Professional intelligence became a permanent feature of the French state as a result of the army’s June 8, 1871 reorganization following France’s defeat in the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian War.  The practice subsequently grew under  the watch of a small number of predominantly military men, working at times alongside, and at times in competition with, agents gathering information and conducting surveillance within the police and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  However, contrary to the role normally played by military intelligence services, the agencies and their backers pivoted in the decade after founding from a focus on gathering intelligence abroad to counterespionage on French soil. This move, driven in no small part by General Georges Boulanger, who served as War Minister from 1886–1887, contributed to the growing paranoia and xenophobia that characterized this era in French history.  The talk will outline the steps that surrounded this shift and will highlight the focus on foreigners, Jews, and certain types of women as arousing particular suspicion among authorities and the public infected with “spy fever.”

February 2022: Agnes E. Venema and Amy Ertan
This is a Women’s Intelligence Network Brown Bag Lunch event:
Date: 3 February 2022
Title: Establishing collective counter-terrorism defense: NATO’s scope and challenges
Presenters: Agnes E. Venema and Amy Ertan
Note: Open Access paper available here - can be accessed by clicking on the ‘PDF’ button.


It has been 20 years since the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) invoked Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty for the first, and so far only, time. While this collective self-defense reaction represented a response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, fighting in a war on terror is not something the Alliance was built to do from the outset. Coinciding with Secretary General Stoltenberg’s presentation of the NATO 2030 initiative this year, our presentation will explore how NATO has adapted to the reality of sustained engagement in counter-terrorism operations, a task that in many countries falls within the remit of law enforcement or intelligence agencies, rather than within the military domain. The seminar will build on the presenters’ analysis in published in Atlantisch Perspectief (2021) to reflect on the refreshed counter-terrorism action plan due for public release at the end of 2021,
exploring how far the plan is consistent with, or an evolution of, existing concepts. 


March 2022: Betsy Rohaly Smoot
This is a Women’s Intelligence Network Brown Bag Lunch event:
Date: 3 March 2022.
Title: Parker Hitt: The Father of American Military Cryptology
Presenter: Betsy Rohaly Smoot
Note: Talk is based on her forthcoming book 


The great cryptologist William F. Friedman called Parker Hitt “the father of American military cryptology” but Hitt, despite inventing several cipher devices and writing Manual for the Solution of Military Ciphers never considered himself a cryptologist. My brown bag talk will be based on my forthcoming (University Press of Kentucky, March
2022) book Parker Hitt: The Father of American Military Cryptology. I will discuss the careers of both Hitt and his wife Genevieve Young Hitt (the first woman to break codes and ciphers for the US government), with a focus on his cryptologic work and his brief time as a practitioner of HUMINT and served as the Assistant Chief of Staff for Military Intelligence (G2) for the Second Corps Area for much of 1921. And I will relate how Hitt contributed to success of the American Expeditionary Forces’ signals intelligence effort and why William Friedman was correct in his assessment of Hitt’s career.

April 2022: Abigail Blyth
This is a Women’s Intelligence Network Brown Bag Lunch event:
Date: 7 April 2021
Title: The power of popular culture in Understanding British Intelligence
Presenter: Abigail Blyth


In popular culture, British Intelligence is often linked with the phenomenon of Bond. James Bond – 007 holding a shaken, not stirred martini. This is now a global franchise, with images of the Secret Intelligence Service – MI6 universally consumed. But what impact does this portrayal, as well as those evident in adaptations of Le Carré novels, and the BBC drama Spooks create of the British Intelligence Services? The article assesses whether the depictions create misleading and dangerous information about what intelligence can do, or are there important real-world lessons which can be taken from these? From this, is there a credible or romanticised view of the British Intelligence Services? Examining this is achieved by comparing the portrayals to the images the British Intelligence Services themselves seek to provide to the public, most notably through their websites, social media interaction, and public speeches. Similarities and differences between these avenues of information will be analysed, allowing for the nature of these representations and ultimately, what depictions of British Intelligence are created to be discussed. Ultimately, there is a credible view in the themes popular culture explores, but the interpretation of these leads to a romanticised view of intelligence.  

May 2022: Hager Ben Jaffel and Sebastian Larsson
This is a Women’s Intelligence Network Brown Bag Lunch event:
Date: 5 May 2022
Title: Problematising Intelligence Studies: Towards a New Research Agenda
Presenters: Hager Ben Jaffel and Sebastian Larsson

 

This book proposes a new research agenda on intelligence in contemporary times. In contrast to Intelligence Studies (IS), whose aim has largely been to improve the performance of national security services and assist in policy making, this book takes the investigation of the new professionals and everyday practices of intelligence as the immediate point of departure. Starting from the observation that intelligence today is increasingly about counter-terrorism,
crime control, surveillance, and other security-related issues, this book adopts a transdisciplinary approach for studying the shifting logics of intelligence, how it has come to involve an expanding number of empirical sites such as the police organisation, local community, prison, and the Internet, as well as a corresponding multiplicity of new actors in these domains. Shifting the focus away from traditional spies and Anglo-American intelligence services, this book addresses the transformations of contemporary intelligence through empirically detailed and theoretically innovative analyses, making a key contribution to existing scholarship.

June 2022: Carleigh Cartmell
This is a Women’s Intelligence Network Brown Bag Lunch event:
Date: 2 June 2022
Title: Minding the Gender Gaps in Intelligence Theory and Practice
Presenter: Carleigh Cartmell, PhD Candidate, Global Governance, Balsillie School of
International Affairs


A 2015 British report regarding the state of “diversity” (re: lack of women) in intelligence notes that among their ranks there are but 37% women in total and an abysmal 19% women in senior leadership positions. This situation prevails despite evidence that diversity allows intelligence agencies to better respond to a broader range of intelligence threats and helps to eliminate implicit, unacknowledged bias that can happen when all intelligence agents are “cut from the same cloth.” It is unfortunate that intelligence studies as a discipline reflects the trend of intelligence agencies more generally insofar as it often fails to listen to, count or attract women. While this situation is slowly getting better, there is still room for growth. This paper brings together current gaps in both intelligence theory and practice with regards to diversity problems and outlines a case for why this situation should be remedied and what scholars can do to help improve this situation.