Steve Dunham’s Trains of Thought

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Women in Defense Honor Cindy Dunkle

By Steve Dunham

ANSER Transmissions, July-August 1999, copyright 1999 Analytic Services. Used by permission.

“What I have accomplished is not nearly as important as what I have become,” says Cindy Dunkle of ANSER’s International Security Division. She expressed those sentiments to Women in Defense, who were assembled on Flag Day to honor her and two other women with the 1999 “Service to the Flag” award for “dedication to the military service and national security.”

What has Cindy become? She told the group assembled at the Women’s Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery that she identifies particularly with the traits she witnessed in America’s soldiers during her 20 years in the Army: “integrity and sense of duty.”

Reflecting on the Army’s origins in the 18th century, she noted that like those soldiers “who won our independence and secured our liberties,” today’s volunteer force continues to “serve freely and without reservation knowing that they may be called upon to go in harm’s way to serve our nation. They ask for and receive little in return except for the satisfaction that they are defending the rights and freedoms symbolized by our flag.

“I too have learned that serving is not about personal recognition but it is about making personal sacrifices and being satisfied with the contributions one is making for the good of the nation.”

Cindy grew up on a small farm in Kentucky; she says her humble beginnings gave her “a strong work ethic and pride in what it meant to be an American”—an ethic and pride that strongly influenced her decision to enlist in the Army.

After Basic Airborne Training, she served in the XVIII Airborne Corps in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. She was selected for a Special Operations unit and became the first woman to complete the “rigorous assessment and selection course,” which was “both mentally and physically demanding.” Cindy was also the first woman “from that unit to serve abroad in an operational status.” She served in Special Operations for 13 years.

Cindy joined ANSER in January 1998. In the year and a half since then, she has been part of the team that created the Antiterrorism and Force Protection Installation Planning Template, used by DoD installations worldwide, and she was project lead for the Weapons of Mass Destruction Appendix to the Template, which is now being adapted to CD-ROM.

Cindy was also the principal writer of the Air Force’s new Full-Spectrum Threat Planning and Response Handbook and contributed to the Full-Spectrum Threat Planning and Response Capabilities Assessment. She is now the project lead for a Joint Staff Combating Terrorism Operations and Intelligence Integration Study.

She says she is happy to continue serving her country in another capacity—as a civilian. If she could convey something to young people, especially women, it would be “to strive for excellence and never settle for second best.” She also encourages them to serve their nation in some capacity, whether in one of the military Services, as a Department of Defense civilian employee, as a government contractor, or as a government worker.

Cindy holds two degrees: a master’s in public administration from Troy State University and a bachelor of arts in management studies from the University of Maryland. She received other training in 1998: the Emergency Response to Terrorism National Fire Academy Course under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Justice; the Air Force On-Scene Commander’s Course at the Ira C. Eaker College for Professional Development; and the Information Warfare Applications course at the Air Force College of Aerospace Doctrine, Research, and Education.

Cindy has been married to Lieutenant Colonel Sam Dunkle (U.S. Army) for 7 years. They reside in Alexandria, VA, and are active members of Cameron United Methodist Church.