Kenneth Stiles, a lecturer for the Department of Geography and the College of Engineering’s Ted and Karyn Hume Center for National Security and Technology, received the Career Commendation Medal from the CIA for exceptional achievement during his 29 years of service.

Stiles contributed his extensive knowledge of geospatial information systems (GIS) and technical targeting to the CIA and its partners in the U.S. Intelligence Community. He brought new sources and methods to bear in the war on terrorism that directly impacted the success of high-risk, high-gain technical collection operations, saving numerous lives. “His depth of experience, superior technical skills, creativity, and dedication to duty justly earned the respect and admiration of those with whom he served,” reported the CIA.

Stiles joined the CIA in 1984 and over the course of his career worked with accounts covering societal issues, the Middle East, information operations, and counterterrorism. He served in three of the four main directorates of the CIA and completed tours in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Europe, and Iraq before retiring in 2013.

“I had a great career, not just a job, and did a wide range of things, but the last decade doing counterterrorism work was the best,” he said. “Being at the forefront of taking action after 9/11 was special. I worked with some unbelievably talented people under very trying conditions.”

Stiles joined the geography faculty in 2011 as part of the CIA’s Officer-in-Residence program, teaching about the ways the intelligence community uses GIS applications to support policymakers and military operations, and the history, organization, and function of the CIA. In spring 2014, he will teach a section on Turkey in today’s world for the Presidential Global Scholars program in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland, and will accompany students on a trip to Turkey, where they will meet with both U.S. and British consulate personnel.

“Being an imagery analyst originally, I could only dream about flying around Afghanistan in a Russian helicopter with an M-4 and laptop working with Delta Force, but it happened and it was thrilling and rewarding,” Stiles said. “Now, I love working with the students and getting them excited about the intelligence community or working with GIS to support our national security operations.”