Randy Neice is a Senior Defense Analyst with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). He received his Bachelor of Arts from Michigan State where he studied public policy, and he received his Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree from William & Mary in 2007. His work in the defense field encompasses a wide variety of issues such as cybersecurity, missile defense, and most recently, work on researching non-combat accidents that occur with Army and Marine Corps combat vehicles. As a Senior Analyst, Neice performs audit work while managing and setting goals for his analyst team. An enthusiastic people-person, Neice enjoys helping people figure out their individual skillsets, and placing them in areas they will best succeed. He finds the most rewarding aspects of his job to be the intelligent, mission-driven people he works with, and the opportunity to promote the GAO’s overarching mission of contributing to the public good.
The GAO works directly for Congressional committees, and initiates general oversight over the Executive Branch. Neice spent his first two years at the GAO in a professional development program where he took classes that honed necessary job skills. He was able to rotate between teams in a variety of sectors which allowed him to get a broader view of the GAO and help him determine which division he would like to work in. Working now as a Senior Defense Analyst, Neice explained that he typically engages with staff members who are writing legislation, which gives him the opportunity to meet a wide array of people. He emphasized the rewarding nature of the formulation of recommendations, because it allows his analyst team to develop their findings and present beneficial recommendations. I was interested to learn that his work involves lots of hands-on research such as traveling to conduct interviews to gain a deeper understanding of report subject matter. His work builds on a deductive style of research and writing that contributes to crafting a final report that is logical and easy for the public to follow. GAO staff take the agency’s non-partisan stance seriously and dedicate themselves to fact-based analysis.
When recalling his time at William & Mary, Neice was incredibly complimentary of the Public Policy Master’s program. He described being drawn to the interpersonal nature of the program, and its emphasis on quantitative analysis, which he felt made him a more well-rounded candidate for jobs. He graduated from William & Mary with several close friends and thoroughly enjoyed the close-knit nature of the community. He felt well prepared for the transition from academia to the professional workforce.
When asked what advice he would give current undergraduates, Neice emphasized the importance of students determining their own personal values, and then looking at how those principles will mesh with their intended careers. Outside of the general job description, there are several practical components that make up the day-to-day work – travel opportunities, assignment stability, time expectations – all of which contribute to the overall reality of a chosen career path. Every career requires a sacrifice on some level, so it is important for students to evaluate their own personal goals, and pursue a career that harmonizes with those ideals.
Overall, Neice emphasized how much he resonated with the GAO’s commitment to providing constructive change to governmental policy, and his enjoyment of the uplifting community that emphasizes diversity and recognizes the importance of work-life balance. As a part of the defense analyst team, Neice appreciates the opportunity to make a difference in government projects, and ultimately bolster the public good.