On July 1, INSA's Vice President for Policy, Larry Hanauer, moderated a discussion with The Hon. Isabel (Izzy) Patelunas, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, U.S. Department of the Treasury. Patelunas shared that her small-yet-mighty office is the only finance ministry intelligence center in the world, and she is very proud to be leading it. Picking up on some leadership best practices throughout her 30+ year career, Ms. Patelunas told Wednesday Wisdom viewers that she leads in accordance to three core philosophies: 1) Become an expert in your job; 2) Utilize mentors; and 3) As your skillset grows, become involved in corporate initiatives. Furthermore, she provided attendees with a list of "Izzy's Guidelines for Leaders."
When asked about major national security threats, Patelunas indicated that cryptocurrencies are a rising threat in the international financial system. However, the same tools that make illicit actors attracted to cryptocurrency can also serve as their downfall, she said. Additionally, Ms. Patelunas shared her concern about cyber attacks as a threat to national security. She believes that building cyber capabilities, tools, and detection is critical to mission success.
Ms. Patelunas also discussed the effectiveness of sanctions as part of a whole-of-government approach in diplomacy and security. "Changing regime behavior is not the only benefit," she pointed out. Imposing sanctions "makes it difficult for an adversary to operate in the international financial system."
Lastly, Ms. Patelunas emphasized the importance of partnering with the private sector and suggested that there are many ways to benefit from such a partnership. For example, in addition to working with the private sector to collect intelligence, the Department of the Treasury will also hire directly from industry to expand the workforce's breadth of experience.