Pioneer on the combat and career frontlines

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Gail Harris talked the US Navy into assigning her to a combat job in 1973, some 20 years before it became legal and more common.

Her 28-year career in naval intelligence included hands-on leadership during conflicts from El Salvador to Desert Storm to Kosovo.

Recently she was at the forefront of preparations to deal with the challenges of cyber warfare. When she retired she was the highest-ranking African-American woman in the navy.

Today she writes a popular blog, GailForce, on defence topics for the Foreign Policy Association. She published her memoirs in 2010, and spends her downtime as an RnB DJ in Durango, Colorado.

She believes music effectively kept her sane while she worked a high-stress job with the US Navy, and it still plays an important part of her life.

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