USSOCOM Office of Communication
Aviation Enforcement Agent Kristina Fonzi became the first U.S. Department of Homeland Security Federal Agent and interagency member to graduate from the Joint Special Operations Senior Enlisted Academy. The opportunity to attend JSOFSEA happened just by chance.
"I knew nothing about JSOFSEA prior to seeing the announcement come across e-mail at my workplace. Being prior military, as well as someone who works in a joint environment, this course piqued my interest," Fonzi said. "I submitted my resume along with a letter of recommendation from one of my supervisors and a letter of endorsement from my director. I don't know the exact reasons why they selected me but I have a pretty solid resume with a background in training, operations, and schedules as a leading petty officer in each department."
The Jacksonville native spent ten years on active duty in the Navy as an electronic systems warfare operator flying on board the P-3 Orion. She served as an active instructor and a leading petty officer traveling around the fleet teaching weapons and tactics. Before leaving the Navy she earned a bachelor's degree from Southern Illinois University in workforce education and development.
Today, Fonzi has been attached to the National Air Security Operations Center-Jacksonville since 2010. She worked as a detection enforcement officer providing surveillance, and gathering intelligence for interagency, intergovernmental, multinational components fighting against illicit drug and contraband smuggling from South and Central America to include the Caribbean. Upon graduation from JFSOFSEA she is scheduled to be a liaison at the Joint Interagency Task Force – South.
"My favorite part of the course was the joint interagency, intergovernmental and multinational curriculum," said Fonzi. "I learned so much about my own organization as well as Department of Defense and the State Department and how they interact. I am really going to take that part of the course back with me and apply what I have learned."
JSOFSEA is nominative-only and is 35-weeks long broken up in two phases. Phase one is completed online and is 26-weeks long while phase two is 9 weeks and taken in-residence. Course topics are divided into six components and focuses on joint, special operations forces senior-noncommissioned leadership principles, as well as how DoD and the other government departments function in defending the United States. The academy wants more interagency students to attend.
"Agent Fonzi is the first interagency member to graduate from our course and she is a real milestone for us," said William Howell, director of distance learning, Joint Special Operations Senior Enlisted Academy. "Now our goal is to build upon her achievement and get four interagency students per course."
Fonzi thinks the academy classes would be very useful to prospective students from the interagency, especially for those who are seeking career development.
"My organization, ultimately DHS and its components, were created for the purpose of bringing the different departments together in order to never let another 9/11 happen again," Fonzi said. "Now I know that all of us ultimately have the same goals, to keep our nation, its people and interests safe. We all have our part and just as I have a tremendous amount of respect for what SOF does, I hope to think that they also see what I'm doing and we can find ways to work together to be more successful."