Joanne O. Isham

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Joanne Isham

Joanne O'Rourke Isham is espionage and security expert from the United States. She is a former member of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and currently involved in geospatial intelligence.


Isham graduated from the University of Notre Dame in the mid 1970s.[1] She started working in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) at the age of 20 doing background checks.[1] Isham was Director of Congressional Affairs at the CIA during Aldrich Ames spy case,[2] Associate Deputy Director for the CIA's Directorate for Science and Technology,[3] Deputy Director of National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency from November 2003 to April 2006. She was Deputy Director of National Imagery and Mapping Agency from September 2001 to October 2003.[4]

Isham retired from the CIA in 2006 as a member of the Senior Intelligence Service, and a career officer at the Central Intelligence Agency, which she had joined in 1977.[5]

In August 2017, she joined defense technology firm Polaris Alpha's advisory board.[6][7]


Isham was awarded CIA's Distinguished Intelligence Medal by Director John Deutch on March 18, 1995; in recognition for her outstanding leadership and management of the Office of Congressional Affairs.[2]

She was awarded the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement. She also received the Director’s Award in recognition of extraordinary service.[4]


  1. ^ a b Bell, Peter (15 July 2006). "Consulting Game". National Journal. 38 (28): 76 – via EBSCOhost.
  2. ^ a b Combest, Larry (26 March 1996). "Honoring Joanne O'Rourke Isham, Director, Office of Congressional Affairs, Central Intelligence Agency". Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  3. ^ "DCI Appoints Deputy Director for Science and Technology". CIA. 12 January 2000. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Historical Handbook of NGA Leaders" (PDF). Federation of American Scientists. Office of Corporate Communications. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  5. ^ Sensing and Supporting Communications Capabilities for Special Operations Forces: Abbreviated Version. National Academies Press. 2009. p. 7. ISBN 9780309137607.
  6. ^ Wilkers, By Ross; Aug 15, 2017. "Polaris Alpha adds government vets Isham, Muller to advisory board -". Washington Technology.
  7. ^ Edwards, Jane (16 August 2017). "Former Govt Execs Joanne Isham, Henry Muller Named to Polaris Alpha's Advisory Board - GovCon Wire". GovCon Wire. Retrieved 24 October 2017.