Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Derrick Zantt

Derrick Zantt, MPA ’16

Lead Systems Analyst, National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC), Charlottesville, Virginia

What are you doing now?

Currently I am in Atlanta, Georgia for a jet qualification course to prepare me for an assignment to Japan beginning in January 2018. Until January, I'll be at NGIC in Charlottesville [run by the U.S. Army]. NGIC produces and disseminates integrated intelligence on foreign ground forces and related military technologies with the aim of giving U.S. forces an edge in military operations. I am the lead systems analyst for small unmanned aerial system proliferation by non-state actors. I am also the deputy branch chief for NGIC’s aviation branch, which has responsibility for all-source, integrated, scientific and technically focused, intelligence concerning worldwide current and future aviation systems and related technologies.

What will you be doing in Japan?

I will be the operations officer of an aviation unit partnering with the Japanese government on humanitarian relief and aviation support missions. The unit is made up of Blackhawk helicopters and Cessna Citation jets. I’ll be flying a jet.

How did the MPA program prepare you for what you are doing now?

I gained many tools from the MPA that have broadened and shaped my perspective. As a result of the core statistical classes, I am able to quickly correlate statistical significance from captured data through regressions. That data is then charted and graphically illustrated with associated geo-data through mapping and spatial data analytics software to create an intel assessment. The ability to correlate data and paint a picture through graphical illustrations has been a tremendous addition to my analytical tradecraft. Moreover, it has served me well in working with multifaceted customers including policy makers, the intelligence community, war fighters, and the government acquisition community.

What do you miss most about Brown?

I miss the people. My class year was full of passionate individuals making their way by advocating for what’s right. The synergy developed through team-building cemented bonds and built friendships that will last a lifetime. I learned a little bit from each and every one of my classmates.