The next speaker in the University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Distinguished Lecturer Series will provide a rare glimpse into spy technology and some of the tools real spies use to conduct their operations when he gives his presentation in early March.
Robert Wallace, the retired Director of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Office of Technical Service, will deliver his talk How 20th Century Technology Transformed 21st Century Espionage on Thursday, March 7, at 7 p.m. in the Campus Center. The public is invited to attend this free event as well as a reception taking place at 6 p.m. prior to Wallace’s talk; refreshments will be served.
Wallace explained that, in the seven decades since World War II, technology has revolutionized the way we work, travel, communicate, and learn. These fundamental technological changes to daily life have been equally profound in the world of spying and espionage. At the CIA, smart engineers found ways to make many of the fantastic gadgets that “Q” issued to James Bond in movies from Dr. No (1963) to Skyfall (2012) a part of the real spy’s toolbox.
“Every new 20th century technology, such as digital imaging, battery chemistry, electronic bugs, silicone materials, personal computing, satellites, and the Internet have been incorporated for use in espionage operations by the scientists and technical officers in the CIA’s Office of Technical Service, which is really ‘America’s Q,'” Wallace said.
During his fast-paced, illustrated talk, Wallace will trace the development and use of “spy technology” from World War II to the present, featuring rare photographs of spy gear, along with graphics, video images and audio clips of clandestine operations.
Wallace’s 32-year career with the CIA (1971-2003) included assignments as an operations officer, station chief and director of clandestine technical programs. Following retirement in 2003, Wallace founded Artemus Consulting Group, a network of intelligence professionals providing management counsel, strategic planning, and representational services to government and corporate clients.
Wallace earned his Bachelor’s degree in History from Ottawa (Kansas) University in 1966 and a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Kansas in 1968. He served in the U.S. Army during 1968-1970, led long-range reconnaissance patrol teams of Company E, 75th Rangers in Vietnam and was awarded the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, two Bronze Stars with “V,” and three Air Medals. In 2002, he co-authored Nine from the Ninth, a memoir of the Vietnam War based on the authors’ combat experiences.
Wallace moved to Washington, D.C., in 1970 and served as an administrative assistant to the late Ohio Congressman William McCulloch before joining the Central Intelligence Agency in 1971. Between 1973 and 1991, he served in field assignments including three tours as Chief of Station directing clandestine operations and managing intelligence collection programs.
From 1991 through 2003, Wallace held senior positions in operations and administration at CIA headquarters. He was appointed Deputy Director of the CIA’s Office of Technical Service (OTS) in 1995 and elevated to Office Director in 1998. There he managed programs for the design, development, testing and deployment of technical equipment and personnel in support of worldwide clandestine operations.
In 2002, OTS received recognition from the CIA’s Inspector General for superior performance and management. Wallace’s other CIA awards include the Intelligence Medal of Merit, the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal and two Donovan Awards. In 2005, he received the Ottawa University Alumni Association Outstanding Achievement Award.
Wallace speaks and writes on intelligence, leadership and management topics throughout the United States. He is co-author ofSpycraft: The Secret History of the CIA’s Spytechs from Communism to al-Qaeda (2008), contributor to Vaults, Mirrors & Masks: Rediscovering U.S. Counterintelligence (2009), co-author of The Official CIA Manual of Deception and Trickery (2009) and co-author of Spy Sites of New York City (2012).
Wallace and his wife, Mary Margaret, live in Northern Virginia. He is a member of the McLean Baptist Church and a strategic consultant to companies supporting the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community.
The University’s Distinguished Lecture Series was established in 1999. Each year, the UDLS Committee sponsors five to six speakers who come from Maine and beyond, representing a range of disciplines and viewpoints. While the emphasis tends to be on featuring visiting academics, it is not exclusively so. The speakers typically spend two days at the University meeting with classes and presenting a community lecture.
For more information about this Distinguished Lecture, contact the University’s Community and Media Relations Office at 768-9452.