|Date: Sat, 6 Sep 2008 17:36:13 -0500 (CDT)
From: Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Subject: Deputy Director of National Intelligence, Dr. Thomas Fingar, Addresses
the 2008 INSA Analytic Transformation Conference (Morning & Evening Speeches
- September 4, 2008)
Remarks and Q&A by the Deputy Director of National Intelligence
For Analysis & Chairman, National Intelligence Council
Dr. Thomas Fingar
2008 INSA Analytic Transformation Conference
September 4, 2008
Morning & Evening Keynote Speeches
Morning Keynote Address
MR. JOHN BRENNAN (Chairman, Intelligence and National Security Alliance):
It is a great honor and privilege to have somebody who has been so instrumental
in seeing through and standing up the task of orchestrating the analytic
community within the intelligence community. And Tom Fingar, who has
had a long and distinguished career and was most recently at INR before he
came over to the Office of the DNI. Tom has done a superb job from
a substance standpoint as well as from interacting with the analytic workforce
throughout the community. And so, without further ado, I d like to
introduce Tom Fingar, the Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis.
DR. THOMAS FINGAR (Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis
& Chairman of the National Intelligence Council): I trust you can
see me because I can t see you. The lights are really quite, quite
bright. I know I ve got many friends out in this audience and I thank
you for coming. I thank John Brennan and INSA for convening you and
for giving us the opportunity to build upon the foundation we laid in Chicago
and the subsequent meetings in Washington, to give reality to the term alliance,
and the partnership between the intelligence community, and between those
of you who serve and support from outside of the government.
The opportunity, indeed the necessity, to combine what each of us know separately
to form a larger body of more relevant and more timely information to keep
our nation safe is one that we must not squander. My task this morning
is to talk about customer relations on the eve of an administration
change. I m delighted for that even though I had no idea what the title
meant when it was assigned to me because it provided an opportunity to think
about three messages that I d like to lay on you this morning and begin a
dialogue. And I mean that sincerely. As we talk about the transition,
the change of an administration, what are the things that we need to do that
we may not have yet initiated? Or that we may not have told you
about? What are the problems you think we need to be aware of as we
go into a transition?
One of the bottom-line realities is that the Officer of the Director of National
Intelligence has never before been through a transition. And simple
questions like how many and which members of the senior staff are expected
to hand in letters of resignation or expected to stay on into the next
administration or to be around for just a period of transition? In
parts of the government, certain positions, this is spelled out very clearly
in law. It doesn t affect very many people in the ODNI. In others,
there are precedents and traditions and patterns and the hardcore civil service
component that is there, the career service. We re staffed, roughly
50 percent, by detailees, who by pure coincidence, are on terms of rotation
that would normally expire at about the same time as we will change
administrations. So there s a lot of, sort of, housekeeping detail
that involves making it up as we go along. That means there is both
wide latitude for mistakes, but also great opportunity to take advantage
of insights, suggestions that you and other friends of the community may
What I d like to do this morning is to present a brief overview of the state
of play, with respect to the ODNI and the transformation agenda. I
will be speaking from the perspective of analysis. That s the one I
know best. I d like to provide a sense of what we are doing as we go
into the ODNI s first change of administration. And then I m going
to rather shamelessly seek your support and they go to the bottom line of
my presentation and my pitch, if you will, that though I am certain that
we have not done everything perfectly, that there are still some pretty ragged
edges around the transformation, around the stand up of an organization and
the integration of the community, I think we ve done more well than we ve
done badly and I think that one of the worst things we could do to our community
over the next six months to a year, was to suggest that we ought to start
all over again. It s neither necessary nor desirable to upend the grain
board, make intelligence, the intelligence community, the centerpiece of
partisan politics or reinvention. I ll come back to that point, but
that s where I m headed in this presentation this morning.
First, where are we, with respect to customer support? What s our
relationship with our customers? When I accepted this job three and
a half years ago, one of my highest priorities was to restore confidence,
customer confidence, congressional confidence, the self-confidence of the
analysts in our community. We ve been pretty badly battered, not just
by the experiences of 9/11 and the Iraq WMD estimate, but by the way in which
the tar brush was so liberally applied to tens of thousands of people who
had not been involved in the production of the estimate or involved directly
in 9/11-related activities. Morale was pretty low. The gang that
can t shoot straight, the keystone cops, couldn t connect the dots.
You remember the imagery and verbiage that was used. We didn t have
to sort of win confidence of people who didn t know about us. We had
to restore confidence among people who had been dealing with us for some
period of time.
We had to do this, in part, by restoring confidence in the quality of the
work. Quite simply, we had to make it better. Many of you heard
me say before, the overall quality of work was much better than it was depicted
in the caricatures of the incompetent, bumbling community. But it was
nowhere nearly as good as it could be, as it needed to be, to meet the much
more complex array of issues of which we were asked to provide information
and insight. We seriously had to tackle the trade craft issues, the
collaboration issues, the sharing issues, in order to produce better support,
better analytic support, more timely support from the collectors to military
forces in the field in a very different kind of support for the intelligence
community to our first responders, the law enforcement community, fire
departments, and so forth inside our own country.
The term better doesn t simply refer to the quality of tradecraft in the
product, however. The support that we provide had to be noticeably
more useful. It had to be timely. It had to be on target.
It did very little good to restore confidence, indeed, very little good for
the security of our nation to, at annual evaluation time, critique, in a
rather boastful fashion, how many products we had produced, how significant
that product had been to this or that customer. We had to be truly
useful. We had to be there at the right time, in the right place, with
the right information, with important insights. We had to be able to
move these across IT boundaries and across institutional boundaries.
We had to know exactly what our customers need and when they needed it and
in what form they needed, at what level of classification they could use
it, and a whole array of related questions.
We tackled this with a multi-pronged approach. Beginning with the,
what our customers need, starting point, we decided to take advantage of
the existing structure of the community, a structure that is widely caricatured,
ridiculed, why do you need 16 intelligence agencies? Sixteen is actually
a number that is too small when you consider that there are major players
like the National Counterterrorism Center or the National Intelligence Council
that aren t counted in that number. But they exist.
And they exist for one fundamentally important reason. Each of the
customer sets, each of the missions that they support is in some ways unique,
requires tailored support, customized support, the right kind of
expertise. So as a collective, we ve got a wide array of customers
and issues. But you also have a wide array of experts and organizations
designed to support them.
Wanting to take advantage of the up-close-and-personal relationship between
an individual briefer and the people they support, the folks who are down
the hall in the same building, the weekly or other interactions that occurred
to know what people needed, to vacuum up those tasks so that we could translate
them into more useful products. To take advantage of the difference
in expertise, the difference in missions to capture synergies synergies that
in the past were too often lost because we didn t know about work being done
at another component of the community. We didn t know who was working
on the same or related activities. If we did know who they were and
where they were, we didn t know how to contact them. If we knew how
to contact them, the wires or the firewalls or the other technical impediments
were in the way.
And if we d solve that there would be some, but that database is not open
to people of this agency kind of impediment. And even if you overcame
all of that, there was very little knowledge of the quality of work being
done by colleagues who were not known personally. Very difficult to
take advantage of divisions of labor, to capture synergies without fundamental
confidence in the competence of prospective colleagues. So the confidence
in our work is in part a confidence in one another to reinforce the
self-confidence that we had to build.
We can talk, if you wish, in the questions, about some of the specific ways
in which we improved the tradecraft, the adoption of standards for products,
for sourcing of materials, the training programs, the way in which an increasing
number of products beginning with the President s Daily Brief through single
agency products are being done with input from colleagues in other
agencies. This is mostly a bottom-up phenomenon. It s not senior
managers going around and saying Fingar told me I have to make you do
this. It s analysts who now that they have a vehicle through the ARK
(sp) and the Yellow Pages, through interconnected e-mails to find one another,
have realized that they produce better products with input from colleagues.
So this bottom-up phenomenon has resulted in a steady increase in the number
of products. And where I count them is in the President s Daily Brief
because it s in my job jar. The analysts get it. They re now
discovering new ways and feeling more comfortable about producing better
product and understand what s necessary to produce that better product.
All of that is still in the nice to do category. The real issue is
do those we support think we re doing better. Do they have greater
confidence in our work?
And here, I think the answer is overwhelmingly yes. If anyone out there
or several of you have picked up a different view, I would love to hear it,
because that would mean it s a specific problem that needs attention.
But the general situation, I think, is really quite good.
And let me cite some illustrative examples, which I recognize as a
40-odd-year-long analyst do not constitute definitive proof of my
proposition. Let me begin with the first customer. The President
spends between 30 minutes and an hour with us six days a week. He s
a very busy man. He s a very demanding senior executive. If he
thought we were wasting his time, we would get short shrift. The views
directly and indirectly from him, from Steve Hadley, from the cabinet members
who now attend at least one day a week sessions built around the intelligence
presentations, the introduction of what we call deep dives. Read-ahead
papers provided to the principals, analysts going into the Oval Office to
present and defend and respond to questions sort of demonstrating who we
are, what we know, to be able to say directly what we don t know, what
assumptions we are making, to talk about the collection capabilities.
We ve done almost 100 of these deep dives. We ve had more than 200
analysts who have been participants in this.
I confess to a high degree of trepidation when we began this. I knew
we could start off with a bang. I wasn t sure how deep our bench
was. John Kringen and I, when John was the DDI, sort of can t believe
that the balloon is still up there. I keep waiting for the air to come
out of it. But after 100 of these, we are still going strong.
And we have them scheduled out for weeks, and in some cases months in advance,
because they have proven useful. That is an important vote of confidence.
Second is our oversight folks, both congressional committees, and the President
s Intelligence Advisory Board. The PIAB did its own evaluation of analytic
performance and has pronounced it much better on several dimensions.
Congress and oversight is a little more mixed. That we have restored
confidence in the product is tempered or obscured by the highly partisan
character of an awful lot of exchanges.
Something that has produced a situation that is a little bit uncomfortable
for us, for me personally, that as we have restored confidence in the product
we have increased the incentives to use the intelligence community and
intelligence products as a club with which to bludgeon opponents on
issues. And the desire to have unclassified products, the need to appear
in sessions that are clearly structured with among the objectives embarrassing
folks in the other party, that it s very gratifying when members come up
to me in person and compliment the product. And when I have sought
to gain dispensation from producing certain products or appearing in certain
sessions, it is no, we trust you. The you is not Fingar. It s
the analytic community and the intelligence community, because we have confidence
in you that we think it important that your insights be presented as a part
of the public debate. That s more gratifying than comforting.
Third measure of quality and factual basis for confidence because we share
it are the evaluations that we perform. We established under the IRTPA
legislation an analytic integrity and standards group. With an action
group comprised of representatives of all the agencies developed the
standards. Those standards are applied by evaluation teams of some
ODNI staff and many contractors. We are now standing up in agencies
that did not have them evaluation programs of their own. But the end
of the year, all agencies will have them. They will apply a common
set of standards to their own product.
The vote of confidence more than a dozen agencies have come to us and asked
for special evaluations of product lines. This is kind of cool,
right? When the kid comes to the teacher and asks for extra homework
and then to have it graded. Agencies are using these evaluations of
strong points and weak points to adjust their training programs, to provide
extra help to managers that have some weakness and so forth. And it
s clear, because we ve now got data on thousands of products that in aggregate,
we re getting better. Probably agency by agency, we re getting
better. I say probably because we have gone out of our way, again,
to build confidence in the process by doing everything we can to preclude
When we share results outside of an individual agency, they re always aggregated
the community as a whole. We give the results to the agency that requested
them. They can do with them as they wish. But they own that.
And you can use it for diagnostic or pedagogic reasons. But we re not
trying to introduce an element of unhealthy competition that would get in
the way of confidence and collaboration. And it s working.
And finally, a point that I alluded to a moment ago with the bottom-up, agencies
and analysts have more confidence in what we re doing. It s sort of
you know it s like pornography. You know it when you see it.
If you ve been around the intelligence community, you know what good and
what is not as good. You know when the reaction to your product is
one that elicits a, I can use this. Or even more frequently the case,
when the ideas and the insights are stolen without attribution. It
s not stolen. We are a support organization. We provide the
input. I ve been around policy-makers long enough to know if there
s a good idea in there, and it becomes their idea, that s a big win for
us. They take ownership of it. They ve accepted it. They
ve accepted the quality of the work that underlies it. And it shouldn
t bother us that we don t get credit.
Some of the transformational tools, techniques that you ve heard about from
others and will hear about intellipedia, A-Space, and so forth have crossed
a threshold or tipping point here. To be not something that is sort
of novelty for many not something that is viewed as zero-sum. I could
do my real work or I can play in that particular sandbox. But becoming
tools that they have found useful. And the numbers of users, the requests
to be pilots in A-Space, from the beginning when this stands up to have some
of the issues enigmatic facilities, the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas
in Pakistan and so forth, to be a part. They see value in this.
So we ve restored confidence in who we are and what we do and how we do the
work. Confidence is always, in my view, a fragile commodity.
Hard to build; easy to lose. As my friend Ron Burgess has put it, one
oh shit wipes out 100 atta-boys. Just as in so many other endeavors,
we have to be good every day in all respects or it undermines the confidence
in everything we re doing in all areas.
As we go into the transition, we ve got some challenges associated with
simultaneous support of multiple customers, with quite different needs.
And we ve been thinking about this actually for several months. Again,
having been around through a number of transitions, there is a natural and
normal process in the latter years of an administration, particularly a two-term
administration. They know a great deal about the issues being
worked. The agenda narrows to that smaller number of issues that are
really important to wrap up, if possible, before the end. And it s
not simply a legacy issue. It s a desire to take advantage for the
nation of the work, the effort that has gone into working hard problems,
to try and push them over the line before a handoff in our nation gives potential
advantage to the folks we are working with or against on a problem, where
they have continuity and we have learning curve.
So as we approach the end and it s been certainly over the past year the
bar for us with this administration is very high. To come in with things
that are very useful on Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, North Korea, Arab-Israeli
issues, and a dozen or so other. It s very high that the work that
we do, the importance of the issues, the magnitude of the effort, the support
to war-fighters in Iraq and Afghanistan, the magnitude of the effort in the
global war on terror has resulted in the reallocation of effort within the
community. Analysts, collection, resources, technical capabilities
focused on these high-priority items. No matter who wins, we know for
sure that the next administration will not be as high on the particular learning
curves that I ve just described, that the agenda will be different.
It s likely to be much broader. It will include all of the high-priority
issues that will be there for the handover. But there will be many
So we started many months ago to wrestle with the how do we need to be using
our rotational assignments, our recruitment practices across the community
to rebuild capability that we have diminished in order to support higher
priorities? We have to be ready to go on January 20th. We can
t take that as the starting gun for rebuilding capability in Southeast Asia,
in Latin America, in Africa and some of the other areas where we have reduced
effort. So that has been (inaudible).
In addition the normal rather heavy load of support that we provide analytic
products, we ve generated dozens of community level NIEs and NIAs, ICBs,
and ICAs, and other array of products so that they ll be ready to go.
Again, experience indicates that people will want a fresh look at the
issues. Sort of dusting off something with a 2006 or 2007 date on it,
and saying things haven t changed very much with respect to this issues is
not going to instill confidence.
We need to do the updating. We need to do the rethinking. Some
of what passed for conventional wisdom or analytic insight before we had
instituted the new procedures for tradecraft and quality and collaboration
were simply not up to the current expectations and have to be reworked.
And we will have a rather full shelf of materials ready to go. We will
have groups of briefers ready to go on essentially any topic. Some
of these will be done out of the NIC-coordinated community level. Most
of them will be within agencies. Most of the products prepared for
the customer supported by a particular agency will be from that agency.
But again, we ve got enough confidence in the quality of work done by one
another that they will be leavened and enriched by products produced elsewhere
in the community.
So part of what we need to convey from day one is that we are an integrated
enterprise, that when you touch whatever your particular contact or normal
or integrated intelligence unit, you ve touched the community writ large.
And we will worry the problem through. If we need to go to the Marine
Corps, to the Air Force, to Treasury to get specific expertise and insight
on a problem, we ll do that for you. We re not going to say go to Treasury
for that question. And we re not all the way there but we re a long
way toward where we need to be.
We know what we have to prepare for, for the next almost five months.
We don t know with any precision what comes next. We ve begun to engage
with the campaigns. The President authorized us to reach out to the
campaigns to offer substantive briefings at a time and place of their
choosing. We ve now done one. The Obama campaign, indeed Senator
Obama, received a briefing on Tuesday. Our approach in this is complete
transparency. If one campaign asks for something or receives something,
we notify the other. We don t want to be an issue. We don t want
to appear to be or enable anybody to construe us as being partisan in
this. We ve provided an array of topics that we think sort of collectively
in the community are ones that might want to know about early on. But
we ll of course receive any request.
It s a little different this year than it has been in any previous year or
many previous elections. It s different because we don t have an incumbent
running for an office. But it s also different because we ve got three
sitting Senators who can call up any one of us in the community at any time
from their Senate capacity and ask for things. Is the request from
the Senator as a Senator or is the request from a Senator as a Presidential
or Vice Presidential candidate? As a Senator, we wouldn t tell anybody
else what was asked. Within the guidelines that we ve laid out for
the campaign, we want transparency here.
We re preparing and the agencies are preparing materials on their specific
missions and so forth. We re also preparing a guide for customers of
intelligence that will be common in many respects: how to read intelligence,
what confidence levels mean, how to interpret sourcing information and the
like, and specific to the agency in question and the customer sets that they
We will be more useful if we have better informed customers. And come
January and February and March, again, no matter who wins the election, we
anticipate having a large number of new customers who do not know the
intelligence community. They know about us from infamy, from reputation,
from caricature, from open congressional testimony, from scurrilous press,
from good repute, through trusted interlocutors. But we will have to
again build an understanding of what we can do and confidence in it.
I m quite certain that we will be able to do this, not just because we ve
thought about it, because we have plans and procedures that are more or less
in place, but because we do have a good product. We have good
people. And we have confidence in ourselves.
Now, the pitch for support. I mentioned the partnership, the alliance,
that the community is able to do all that it does, not just because it has
a large workforce and a large budget but because we day in and day out work
with people like you. You develop technologies. You have
ideas. You have suggestions. You prod us. You taunt us.
You talk us up or talk us down in the circles in which you move.
And though I certainly would never, never ask professional colleagues and
friends to say anything about analytic transformation or the efforts of the
ODNI or the intelligence community that you believe to be untrue or inaccurate,
to the extent that you ve caught the wave, share the excitement. Sense
that we re on the right track. See the potential in what has been built
over the last few years. We ask that you share that with the friends
and colleagues that you know. Your opinions carry weight.
And if we do all that we can in order to increase the likelihood that we
start off at zero, if not in the positive side of the ledger, if we minimize
the goddamn intelligence community kind of stereotypical starting point,
the better for us, the better for the nation, the more quickly we will be
able to move forward and focus on the real issues. And I will argue
strenuously in any arena that the intelligence community should not be anywhere
near the top of the next administration s agenda. We are not broken.
We are not the problem.
The nation has a long list of serious problems and challenges, and momentous
if not historical opportunities that deserve and require the attention of
senior people. On some of them, we can make contributions. On
others, they re just outside of our realm. But the focus should not
be on us. We should not have another Monty Python moment of, and now,
for something completely different. Let s upend the game board, knock
the pieces over, and rearrange them. We don t need that. And
I believe it would be very, very undesirable if not dangerous to do so.
I ll return to that. But let me sort of prepare the way again by repeating
the confession that we are not yet all that we aspire to be, that we haven
t done everything right, that there has been certain elements maybe a high
number of elements of what the Chinese call crossing the stream by feeling
for the stones with your feet. See what s going to work. See
which pilots are going to be successful and are worthy of further development
and which should be abandoned. Since our approach at the beginning
was not we know exactly what needs to be done and decreeing that I ve been
around Washington, as have my colleagues, too long to know that and to attempt
Building confidence in a new organization, going from a white blackboard
with no people to an organization charged with overseeing a budget that is
larger than the gross domestic product of most nations, running a hugely
complex operation is not something that one should willy-nilly make changes
or not willy-nilly discard what is in place. We ve done things more
slowly than anybody would like. Everybody would like to get from current
situation to a more desirable one as rapidly as possible.
But it s important to remember the context. It s a context that shaped
us and will sound defensive and making excuses. But it s a context
that by and large will persist into the next administration. It includes
such things as the sheer size and complexity of the community. It s
like trying to turn an aircraft carrier. It s not going to turn on
Doing it in the midst of two wars Iraq, Afghanistan global terrorist threats,
the long, growing list of complex challenges, nuclear proliferation, the
rise of extremism, energy dependence, energy diplomacy, and the like these
ought to give anyone pause as they consider making the changes, that the
challenge we ve had and will continue to have is akin to what my friend Peter
Clement described as swapping the wings on an airliner full of people at
30,000 feet. We ve got to make fundamental change and have been making
fundamental change without breaking anything. We don t have the luxury
to sweep that aside, do away with that activity. It has to be incremental
if it s going to avoid immediate and serious deterioration of the support
we provide to a wide array of customers.
We ve been through the challenges of a start-up organization. When
I think back on things producing three budgets over a period of eight months
Caryn Wagner I think is here someplace recruiting and bringing on board people
remember the first performance evaluations. We had people from 22
organizations of the U.S. government for more than those in the intelligence
community being evaluated by people from 18 agencies using used to, accustomed
to 14 different evaluation systems. We ve moved well beyond that.
But that illustrates sort of the magnitude of what we worked our way through.
And now that we are mostly through that, the transformation agenda has taken
root, is picking up speed, and as importantly has momentum. It has
momentum so as it picks up speed it will be more self-sustaining. I
think it s terribly important that we not lose that momentum, that we not
expend a lot of time and effort in another series of studies to determine
whether round really is the best shape for a wheel. We just need to
accept that we ve got it more right than wrong and move ahead.
If my gray hair doesn t convey it effectively, I ve been in the intelligence
community 38 years, 15 of them in senior positions. And I have never
seen the community perform more effectively than it does today. That
s not simply because of ODNI. It s because of the commitment, the
dedication, the capabilities of individuals and agencies throughout the
community. We are not broken. We are working arguably better
than we ever have. And mostly, we know and agree on where we need to
be. Getting there is always a challenge. The devil is in the
details. Turf issues arise. Mythology is not yet dead about
individual components. But we re getting there.
It s not necessary to revolutionize the community. And it s also
dangerous. The intelligence community, as you know as well as I, is
fundamentally about people. We have great gadgets and gizmos and
capabilities and creativity. But they came from the mind of some
individuals. They re usually individuals working collaboratively.
And morale matters. And sense of achievement matters. And confidence
And I worry a lot and this worry is reinforced I do monthly brown bags with
analysts that we pull out of the analytic resources catalog. So they
re thematic; but other than that, they re randomly generated. And as
I look at our graying baby boomer contingent that s been through a lot.
From the halcyon days of the Cold War through the uncertainties of downsizing
and rightsizing, to the excitement of rebuilding and transformation, I m
afraid that sort of let s go back and start again, back to a blank piece
of paper, back to square one, our most senior people will take advantage
of the opportunities for retirement that they now have.
The other end of the spectrum are the 55 or 60 percent of the workforce that
joined since 9/11. Exceedingly talented, committed, patriotic,
professional, whose initial experience in the community, by and large, has
been in the new dispensation, within the era of transformation, within the
ability to work through, in, build expectations, career expectations in an
environment they expect to be predictable. If we remove that predictability
and they see the loss of the seniors at the top, I m afraid that we will
drive more of them in the direction that is predicted for the generation
of short excursion tours in a variety of jobs and industries and activities.
And we don t have to lose very many at either the high end or the youthful
end of our spectrum before we are in a world of hurt as the expertise, the
experience, the understanding of customer requirements that they have is
absolutely critical. With that rather shameless pitch for your help,
your support, let me shift to invitation for questions and comments.
What did I miss? What should we be thinking about as we gear up to
support a new administration? What should we be thinking about in terms
of outreach to the Hill, to the media, influentials around the campaign?
Preparing now for the arrival of people who may have no experience or indeed
may have experience with the intelligence community from a different era?
With that, let me thank you for your attention and invite your questions
and comments. (Applause.) I ll come out here and get in front
of the lights so I can see you. Do I just field questions? I
will invite them. I hope I haven t intimidated this crowd. Anybody?
Q: (Inaudible) yesterday we heard colleagues getting up and say two
things that were interesting. One was that it s possible that we have
too much information sharing going on in the community and that there will
never be a change in the way we handle the department (inaudible) I don t
want to mischaracterize what you were saying. But I think the sentiment
was that there is a lot of data to go through. Not everyone needs to
know everything. I wanted to know I wanted to hear your reaction to
DR. FINGAR: Yeah, that s the point Mike Wertheimer has been making
for three years. The conflict between the flood of information that
we take in enormous volumes of information and we want to confound that problem
by telling people to share it with one another. Let me just several
points of that one is, through the physical sharing, sharing of the digits
for the information, we facilitate not just collaboration but we facilitate
divisions of labor. Trusted colleagues who I ll follow this stream
of reporting; you follow that stream of reporting. We ll share our
notes and observations.
We ll do this when we get to A-Space sort of on a board where the senior
comments are available to anybody, the juniors questions and comments are
available to anybody. So that not everybody has to go through the same
pile of data, that we have moved well down the road to making it accessible,
making it sharable, making it interactive in facilitating the division of
labor. We have to continue to push in that direction or people will
simply never move away from their electronic inbox. It d be constant
Can you have too much information sharing? The short answer is no,
my short answer. There are materials that need to be protected that
do not need to be, should not be shared with everybody. I thin of this
as concentric circles. Most information in the community, the vast
majority, should be available theoretically and actually to, say, everybody
in the intelligence community with the right tickets. We re clearing
people in the different agencies to the same level. If they ve got
the same clearance, they should have the same access to the information,
provided that the systems have been certified to the same level. And
they now have been.
The innovation of a single community CIO responsible for the accreditation
of systems, we ve now moved to the point where again, in theory essentially
any information can move across the electronic pipes between all of the
components. I forced this one a little bit using my PDB
responsibilities. As that became a community product, we had to be
able to share drafts across the community. We had to get them off the
dedicated LAN that they were onto a larger one. And we did it.
It wasn t immediate, took a matter of several weeks.
Then, my argument became, if I can move the PDB containing the most sensitive
information we ve got across this system securely and it s been certified,
why the hell can t I move garden variety secret vanilla materials across
this same system? So most stuff should be available so that we can
have the divisions of labor.
Everything should be discoverable. Everything will be discoverable
in the Library of National Intelligence. That does not meant that everybody
gets access to everything, that there do need to be compartments, and SAPs
and so forth. But if you re working on a subject as an analyst, you
re entitled to now indeed, I d argue you must know if there s a body of
reporting, a body of analysis on your subject that you haven t seen.
So discovery and it could be really quite generic Chinese submarines.
Now, that we actually collect on and worry about Chinese submarines is not
going to surprise anybody. There is no counterintelligence that we
would do that. So you know that it exists. You need to be able
to go to somebody in your own organization who has got access to that and
say, I think I need that, to at least begin the dialogue that may result
in, no you don t. I m in there. I review a product. I will ensure
that you re not saying anything that is inconsistent with that material but
you don t need it.
Or, yeah, I think you do need it. And a process to request and gain
access to a specific piece, a specific document, or perhaps the entire
compartment. So we need to have that kind of control on it to protect
truly sensitive materials. But we have to be able to discover their
existence. We have to have procedures that are not arbitrary and that
begin from judgments about I need this to do my work as opposed to I decide
on whom I will bestow the privilege of looking at this information that I
ve put into my compartment.
I hope that got to your question. Anybody else?
Q: As I was listening to Mike Wertheimer yesterday, I was struck by
the implications for what he was saying about the analytic community.
And you know, I applaud all of the standards that are being written and all
of the other things that you are doing to normalize analysis across the
community. The concern I have though is that once those documents are
written and once they re distributed, agencies are just by their natural
inclination either going to move and put them into practice or say, okay,
they ve done their work. I know best, and ignore them. It goes
on all the time in government.
So my question to you is, if you re going to normalize the analytic workforce,
are you thinking about the implications for what Mike has said? Should
we be thinking about the implications for what Mike has said? For example,
are we thinking about whether we ought to hire analysts into the community
along the lines of the military services? So you hire them in as a
batch of people; you put them through common training, common
understanding. And then, from that pool of people, they go out into
the individual agencies. Have you gotten to that point in your thinking
or should we be thinking along those lines?
DR. FINGAR: This one is there is a gap between my thinking, which would
be my vision, and reality, and the what is possible. Let me preface
the rest of the answer with saying, sort of my approach is that it s a lot
easier to argue from demonstrated success than it is to sell an abstract
vision, which is a kind of a step at a time and prove its worth and keep
moving. Don t settle for anything that is good enough if you know there
is something better.
I like the ideal. I share the ideal of being a member of the intelligence
community. Where one happens to work within that community CIA, INR,
MCIA sort of ought to be a function of interest, expertise, opportunities
to build and use that expertise, not the basis of mythology about who is
best and who is worst. It ought to be governed a little bit by proximity
to residence. But building that sense of we are one community and analysts
everywhere are as good as, as professional as those in any other part is
a building process.
Pat s catching my eye the joint duty in the military that took a decade.
You know, good idea it took a decade to put into place. We are going
to compress that we are going to attempt to compress that. Some of
the reciprocity, the access to data, but you can t have joint duty requirement
and rotate people around who you expect to be your senior officers, and have
them go from one agency to another agency and say, well, when you are here,
you no longer have access to what you had access to in your other organization,
but you can have this stuff, which you won t have access when you go back.
So we have got to tackle that kind of problem.
There are serious differences of view among the leadership across the community
as to whether having purple analysts here, bringing them into the community,
giving them a sense of a community, and then specialized training, acculturation
into an agency is the way to go. Or it is community agency; understand
the values, the mission, the practices of this agency before you go out into
the larger sea of people because then you can contribute to understanding.
If you don t know anything about your agency of assignment, you can t sort
of bring much to the table. And the opposite is if everybody is blank
at the same time, they build confidence in one another and a network of friends
We are going to move unless what we are doing is a turn in a direction of
bringing people into the community, into an agency, but building that integrated
single enterprise early and rigorously. One small step in that direction
critically important step is sort of sharing of information on vacancies.
First, at a collective even though we are very big, that we shouldn t exacerbate
or perpetuate gaps by simply replacing with a clone somebody who has left
in a single agency, bill it without regard to the larger community.
If we have got three of those folks scattered around in other places, let
s get some complementary expertise, so making that transparent. And
when resumes come in, as they now do, we get far more well-qualified applicants
for most positions than we are going to hire. In most cases, the agency
is going to hire one. The rest of those resumes used to go into the
burn bag. Now they are shared around the community. Here are
some good people. We didn t pick them, but if you are moving toward
a hiring opportunity for which this individual s skill set might be appropriate,
here they are. Take advantage of it. Posting jobs together.
We are moving there by steps.
It is going to take, I think, the playing through of the generational change
that we are now witnessing before it becomes easy and natural to do.
And guys like me have to get off the metaphorical stage to allow, again,
the 60 percent that have come in, in a very different environment to move
into the management positions and interact with their colleagues with the
same disregard for lanyard and organizational boundaries that they have for
barriers in the real world.
Q: You mentioned the generational kind of difference between those
folks that are about to are at the sunset of their career and those that
are at the sunrise to use a metaphor, and that the I might argue that and
many have that the attributes that the newer generation are bringing are
exactly those attributes that we would like to embrace and encourage.
However, almost all of our systems the people policies, the business and
mission processes are geared toward this generation that is about to move
on. And what is your feeling about the need to shift these policies
and processes to better map to that younger generation?
DR. FINGAR: The need is acute and it s palpable. The procedures
and processes, the norms that we have in place that many of us have lived
with were not irrational. They were well-grounded, reasonable; they
work or worked. They work less well. And I think you know, my
experience, sort of seniors and that tiny little band of mid-level sort of
GS-14, 15 types recognize that what worked well in the past is not working
as well in the present, as it did in the past, and probably won t work in
the we are not going back to the future. We are going into a new era.
The people who are gray and experienced and have been with this process for
decades I think by and large sort of recognize the dwindling adequacy of
what we did don t have a clear idea of exactly what needs to replace it and
are wary about transition, about running risk, about breaking something when
you get from the known to the unknown. Natural. Social scientists
will tell it. But naturally, the younger people that you referenced
here that come in with a different set of skills and expectations I think
it is not simply pandering to the way in which they like to work the digital
generation. It is recognizing that technology and learning, availability
of information is just very, very different than it was a decade let alone
three decades ago. And instead of being we shouldn t simply follow
the whim of the youth in our workforce to make them feel happy about coming
to work, so that they will stay on the job.
We need to be sensitive to that, but there is a they have had more experience
in a realm of capabilities that others of us have bumped up against after
we were more set in our ways. For me, it is still kind of an unnatural,
self-conscious act to do things with the computer that is totally intuitive
to my kids. And as we link this back to the transition to the new
administration, regardless of who wins and this is not commentary on one
or another candidate regardless who wins, a greater percentage of those filling
senior and mid-level positions are going to come out of that more digitally
oriented generation, a no-limits generation, a no-barriers generation.
They are going to be used to receiving information in little bits moving
across the computer screen, to multitasking. And we have to orient
our mode of support to fit their mode of receipt. If they change the
shape of the outlet, we had better change the shape of our plug. Otherwise,
we are going to very quickly become unhelpful. If we become unhelpful,
we become irrelevant. If we become irrelevant, we are obscenely
Yes, ma am?
Q: Good morning, sir. One of the comments made a little earlier
with the ICDs and all that are coming out, which, by the way, I think are
great good guidelines and all to work from and oversight, governance, performance
measures coming up. My only concern is not as an excuse or whining
because I know the Army way is three bags full will do it no matter how many
few people we have or how many are doing whatever. It is not that anyone
chooses not to do something or elects not to, it is how many people you
have. If you have three people and 10 tasks, it is doable. If
you have three people and 20 tasks and oversight and reporting to do, something
either has to drop or done later.
So the only thing I guess what I am saying and not asking is that as all
these ICDs keep coming out and provide a (inaudible) to do oversight on this
and that. We are going to run out of people, especially when we have
to start pulling from our analytic community to help do these things because
the non-analytic community is small. Discussion yesterday came up about
contractors, the percent versus government, converting to government, the
percent of contractors to government. Certain things are government
inherent in oversight. And we also have limitations on the growth to
our government staff. So there is only so much we can do depending
on how more and more ICDs and oversight requirements come out.
Just something to consider. I can t necessarily tell you even right
now where is the line as far as you know we have no more bodies to tap.
DR. FINGAR: This will sound somewhat Pollyannaish probably admit
that. I d juxtapose it I probably wouldn t be where I had been over
the last 20 years if I was just Pollyannaish. I think most of what
you have described is both a very real problem and a transitory one.
Let me pick out a couple strands of that.
ICDs most of the community will say, you know, another set of rules, have
got to follow them, have got to change and do it. Most of the ones
in the again, the analytic realm (inaudible) have actually been welcome.
There is not very much resistance to this. These make sense.
This is good. This is a good practice. But at least as a transition,
supervisors that need to assign resources to ensure that the good practices
being mandated are actually being followed to tutor, to mentor, to pair people
up for mentoring, so that they can do it correctly. The goal is not
to have standards police. It is to internalize the behaviors, to train
people, evaluate, reward their performance, recognize managers on their
performance, so that this becomes internalized and you don t need the same
overlay of mentoring and monitoring that clearly is necessary in the short
We would be remiss, in my view, if we simply tossed it out there and said,
here is the new rules. Get with the program or get out of town.
It is, here is the rules. We are going to help you. We have trained
ODNI, by analytic integral standard have trained people in each of the
agencies. In some cases, we have made some money available to hire
contractors to help get the programs off the ground. I will try to
make a broader point here. It is not just the standards, but more broadly,
it is not enough to decree new ways of doing things.
We have to involve people in their development and the system to understand
and implement. But we will get there. And I think we will get
there pretty quickly, where these become an accepted because we have pretty
quickly achieved that in the past at an agency-by-agency level, either with
comprehensive, written-down, trained to procedures unique to that agency
or had no training at all. And people on the job learned how to do
it by watching others.
The numbers-versus-tasks problem that you point to is a tremendous motivator
to get the training wheels off the bicycle of new people, whether they are
new to the community or new to the account, as quickly as possible, so they
can carry their load. So we are used to doing that. We will continue
to do that, but in a again, I think a relatively short period of time, we
will have complementarity across the community, the ability to mentor across
agencies because it is to the same standards.
The final point concerns the when do you take stuff off the list. This
is hard. We are working at ODNI level not just analytic on a budget
process that we went through a drill in April of folks in from I think it
was 50 different constituencies within the community, customer sets, non-title
50, non-title 10 agencies. I said, what do you need from the intelligence
community? Part of the drill was what should we stop doing. What
should we deemphasize? Where can we get some savings? It will
surprise no one in this room that we had a list when we were done of 280
new requirements came out of this process.
And something on the order of two dozen most weren t serious suggestions
as to what we could stop doing. It is natural. It is normal.
We don t have a lot of unimportant things on our to-do list. And even
the in aggregate, least important is important to somebody. And we
do pride ourselves on being able to provide customized support to niche
activities. And in the aggregates, certain kinds of mapping support
the fighter pilots may not stack up real high on the list of but it sure
is important to the fighter pilot. And it sure is important to the
commander that is going to dispatch people.
So striking the right balance. I think in the near term, getting things
off the list is going to be hard. And what we have to do is insist
two managers. You have been running some of these activities for a
decade or more. And every year you ask for more money to perform that
activity. What the hell kind of manager isn t able to get efficiencies
after a decade? So more and more we want to try and identify areas
that we can perform at an adequate level of service with fewer people, maybe
fewer dollars, and have it tailored to get to exactly the people we want
and not the broad brush somebody might find this useful, and keep operating
Sensitive to it because the community will step up and try to do everything
it is asked. And if we get spread too thinly, again, we are not
accurate. We are not useful. We are not relevant.
Q: Hi, Tom. Staying on the same theme of ICDs in January of 2007,
when John Negroponte was DNI, he signed Intelligence Community Directive
200, which essentially states the IC will not have the entire breadth and
depth of expertise to cover all of its and support its mission. It
must reach out to academia, think tanks, NGOs, private business. How
is, how should, how will the IC, whether it is ODNI or the entire community,
reach out to those constituencies? Is it a one-way street via IC reaching
out? Or does private business, academia, think tank knock on the
door? Or is there a portal
DR. FINGAR: It is a great question. And some of you think it
is a setup question those who know me and my passion for outreach.
We finally got out it is about a month, month-and-a-half ago ICD 205, which
is on outreach. It took two years to work through the system a directive
that basically said it is the responsibility of analysts to reach out to
expertise. It is a responsibility of agencies to enable folks to reach
out to the expertise.
CI concerns, notions of proprietary who owns the experts that are outside
of the intelligence community? We have collectors who think they own
anybody that isn t wearing a badge inside the community. They had to
work through that. We are now working through implementing guidelines
on this. But the basic approach is individuals analysts is my world,
collectors, technologists, IT types know that there are people outside of
their organizations, outside of the IC, outside of the U.S. government, who
are knowledgeable, who are working complementary or the same issues.
They know or can know which one of those are good and which ones are not
nearly as good.
They should have as a part of the normal way in which we do work is spend
taxpayer money to draw on as much expertise as we can and efficiently.
And I am talking here not about contracted activity that might grow out of
this. But the journalists, the professor, the corporate analyst or
developer that is working a problem and is excited about that problem and
publishes on that problem to be reachable and willing to answer questions
or share insights. This should be as natural as the conversation you
would have with the person in the carrel or office next to you. It
has to be a two-way street. It won t work if it is all take and no
And here is why we have to be cautious here because we have to train people
to compartmentalize that, which they know because they are all source and
they read the newspapers. They are exposed and that, which they only
know because of sensitive collection activity. And I recognize that
it is quite different to talk about insights gained than it is to talk about
the evidentiary base for those insights. And they can actually go quite
far but we have to actually make our folks comfortable. If we are not
sharing insights and ideas with the people that we have reached to, what
is in it for them?
Now, some get a thrill about, you know, group used to the intelligence community
or components of the community. Some are just excited about the
subject. But if this is going to be a meaningful exchange, there has
got to be mutual benefit of this. We are developing a rolodex of experts,
which I hope we are actually going to stand up pretty soon. These are
outside experts, who have explicitly agreed to be receptive to approaches
from analysts in the intelligence community.
We will try to work out rules to the road to make sure that the same individuals
aren t deluged. But a lot of them are already on a list of individual
agencies to make this possible. It will surprise nobody here that we
are going to have to make the rolodex of unclassified experts a classified
document. (Laughter.) And therefore, hard for the outside people
to update had to develop all of the cutouts and so forth to make that work
for sound CI reasons. But we have to make it a part of the way we do
our business because I would hazard to say it is a part of the way every
person in this room does their job now. You are in contact with colleagues
and competitors, foreign folk working a problem at all stages of the
process. We have to do the same because when we need that expertise
I mean, really need it it is too late to begin the search. You have
to have developed the ties, the relationship, the evaluative criteria.
And my vision on this is to have a chunk of the vetting located in the open
So if somebody has developed sort of an understanding of what Susie X s field
is, what she really knows her talents, capabilities, how she has interacted
that that become (inaudible) to anybody in the community, so that they can
urther up the learning curve or understand I don t need to bother Susie because
she is a regular interlocutor of my colleague in the other agency and I just
get it indirectly.
We are on the way there. But this is a change of culture for the community,
where if it ain t secret, it ain t real. If somebody is not cleared,
they are not worthy. That is yesterday s thinking. We have got
to get to tomorrow, where not just our own people, but our customers live.
I see John s up, so my time must have been expired. Thank you for all
of the work you do for us.
MR. BRENNAN: Thank you very much, Tom. We greatly appreciate
your taking time out of your busy schedule to join us here. But I think
more than that, we appreciate your many, many years of selfless dedication
and service to our country and to the national security mission of the
intelligence community. And I think I speak on behalf of all the folks
here that it is heartening to know that at this time of a critical transition
in our country that career professionals like yourself are at the helm and
are able to steer the ship straight. So we wish you luck in that
endeavor. And again, thank you very much for the time that you have
DR. FINGAR: Thank you, John.
Evening Keynote Address
MR. BRENNAN: Good evening, everyone. Can I have your attention,
please? I hope you enjoyed the meal and the conversation. As
I mentioned earlier, we are truly fortunate to have America s premier
intelligence analyst with us, Tom Fingar, who has been able to spend time
with us today speaking about analytic transformation and the business of
intelligence. What we thought we would take advantage of is being here
to address some of the substantive issues on our minds. And I passed
along to Tom a couple of subjects and topics that people would like him to
But Tom is an exceptionally polished speaker, who has had to navigate the
shoals of the political environment of Washington. But we very much
appreciate his willingness to use this opportunity to address some of those
issues confronting this administration and will confront the next.
So Tom, please.
DR. FINGAR: A laptop in front of me I have no idea what to do with
that. I am not a PowerPoint guy; I am an outline guy. And what
I would like to do this evening is to have a kind of a Build-A-Bear approach
to a briefing what I am hinting toward is a question-and-answer session one
of the things that I actually enjoy most is responding to questions and drawing
upon the insights that I have gained from the people that I work with and
have worked with for a long time.
But let me begin by thanking two people, John Brennan, again, for the
It at times is lonely out there on the forward edge of bureaucracy in trying
to change deeply instilled practices and procedures. And having had
INSA as a source of support from the days that it was SASA [Security Affairs
Support Association]. One of the first talks that I gave on taking
this job was to this organization. The feedback, the support, the
encouragement, the reinforcement are genuinely appreciated by me and by all
of my staff that work with you.
And the other is to Mike Wertheimer. I told him after his presentation
that if only he had a little more passion (laughter) for what he does, we
would be absolutely assured of success. But the opportunity (applause)
the opportunity to work with colleagues like Mike. He mentioned Andy,
who is here somewhere, I assume Andy Shepard and many, many others.
This is not a solitary journey. This is a group effort, and a group
effort that depends on continuous infusion of ideas and constructive
criticism. And I am sure we will get both from you tonight and in the
weeks and months that follow.
I also appreciate the opportunity to do substance for a change. In
my Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis role, almost always
I am speaking in the transformational mode, the standards mode, and so
forth. But at heart, I am an analyst. And I enjoy thinking about,
talking about, responding to questions about national security challenges.
And what I would like to do tonight is to illustrate why it is important
to smash barriers to collaboration by presenting two illustrations of what
we face. One is subsumed under the rubric of 2025, the NIC [National
Intelligence Council], now quadrennial look out into the future, which is
done for new administrations.
We time this to be completed and released after the election, but before
people are ensconced in their positions and are so busy with the daily grind
that they don t have any time to think. This is sort of the strategic-level
considerations. The second will be an example that I will begin with
Iran, which is one of the topics that John said someone had expressed
interest. Cutting into the complexity and interconnections of the world
in a kind of a six degrees of separation or from this morning, 6.2 degrees
of separation that are absolutely a fundamental part of the world we live
in. The interconnection, the overlap, the interaction of many seemingly
discrete developments. And I will work that, and then we will segue
into whatever questions you might have.
Let me begin with a discussion of the 20
5 project. This is an undertaking that was begun by John Gannon, who
I know spoke to you yesterday when he was the chairman of the NIC.
This is the fourth iteration. Every four years, we go out an additional
five. I think this one may have as sort of the maximum. We are
going to have 17 years of forecasting and scenario building. And that
probably is the outer limit, and we will have to pull it back in. But
the idea here is to identify some of the developments, the dynamics, the
dimensions, the drivers that will shape the world over the next now 15 years
or so. Some of these are absolutely inevitable, almost immutable.
Others are susceptible to policy intervention policy that if wise and effectively
executed can make the situation better or if badly conceived or badly implemented
will make it worse.
I will illustrate that in a moment. It is also intended to shape the
thinking of new administration. One of the canards in my view that
sort of exists in the commentary about the intelligence community and what
it ought to do more strategic thinking, less current intelligence.
When hears it, reads it all the time. I have no idea what that refers
to. Strategic thinking must be a part of what every analyst does every
day if they are going to do their job. They have to have some sense
of the larger trends if they are to interpret current developments.
But by my experience, administration s notion of the strategic horizon begins
in January, extends for four years, and gets shorted by seven days every
week. If it is not going to happen in my tenure, it is beyond the realm
of what I am going to worry about. There are exceptions to this, of
course. But there is not a great market for strategic thinking.
There is at the start of an administration. And the 2025 global trends
series that we have produced is an attempt to sensitize folks to where we
think developments are hidden or more accurately, alternative scenarios that
manipulate some key and explicitly articulated drivers and say this
is where it is headed.
Usually the scenario makes us some are kind of positive, favorable to the
United States, and some not so favorable. The 2020 report, for those
of you who didn t read it or don t remember it, it included sort of a post-Davos
world in which there was sort of globalization led to mainly, sort of, happy,
positive developments. It probably won t surprise you that the President
of the World Economic Forum thought this was a pretty terrific scenario.
It also included the new caliphate Islamic extremism triumphant in the Middle
East. And much of the world that reads the 2025 global trends 2025,
as if it is the plan or the prediction or the aspiration of the United States
government, and say, what part of the new caliphate did you think is in the
interest of the United States? It is intended to highlight some good
and bad outcomes.
To identify inflection points along those trajectories that may be susceptible
to invention. If you like it, you may be able to reinforce it.
If you don t like where it is going, you may be able to intervene and bring
about a happier outcome. And at a minimum, you will know what the side
posts are to tell you which direction events are hitting.
For 2025, which is a work in progress, the way in which we have built this,
each one has been done a little differently was to have convene a number
of seminars around, in this case, the United States for 2020, we did six
of them internationally to do a Rorschach set of expectations. What
were the principal drivers and trends and where were they headed? We
pulled that together into a draft and we took that out to international
audiences. I participated in a session in Beijing that had representatives
from all continents, nine countries to critique it, tear it apart.
We reworked that after a number of the international sessions. And
it is now being worked around American think tanks.
He is not right or wrong. It is plausible, implausible, right indicators
or the wrong indicators. Do the scenarios help us? I am not going
to deal with the scenarios. I am going to deal with some of the key
drivers and key assumptions. And I do this not to tell you about this
project, or not exclusively tell you about the project, but also because
this is what we would be telling the next administration. This is what
we think will be not the full answer and explanation and determiner of events,
but will be in the mix. This is not an exhaustive catalog.
One of the key assumptions or projections that we have used in sort of looking
at the world going out 15, 17 years the first assumption is that the process
of globalization that we have witnessed over a couple of decades will both
continue and continue to generate both greater wealth and greater
inequality. So the overall sort of economic status of the world will
improve. But the gap between rich and poor internationally, regionally,
and intranationally will grow the elites and the disadvantaged. There
are strengths and there are hazards associated with this.
A second is that the U.S. will remain the preeminent power, but that American
dominance will be much diminished over this period of time. That the
truly anomalous situation that has existed since World War II we vivified
after the demise of the Soviet Union of the overwhelming dominance that the
United States has enjoyed in the international system in military, political,
economic, and arguably, cultural arenas is eroding and will erode at an
accelerating pace with the partial exception of military. But part
of the argument here is that by 15 years from now, the military dimension
will remain the most preeminent will be the least significant or much less
significant than it is now. Part of the nobody is going to attack us
with massive conventional force. Deterrence nuclear deterrence will
work. So the nature of international competition and challenges to
cyber threat to cite one. It was just not susceptible to massive
conventional military power. There was a sort of a it poses a situation
choices of how do we invest our national security dollars.
A third element here this is partly an assumption, mainly an extrapolation
of observable trends is that international institutions will be decreasingly
decreasingly capable of dealing with the new challenges of a more globalized
world, a world in which the U.S. does not enjoy the preeminence that we did
at the time the post-World War II system and institutions the Dumbarton Oaks
agreements and so forth were put in place. This is the United
Nations. This is the World Trade Organizations. It is the successor
to GAT, IMF, World Bank, the Alliance Structure; it is NATO first and
foremost. These were terribly successful institutions. They worked
extremely well. They achieved their objectives by and large of preserving
peace and promoting prosperity. Their very success has rendered them
increasingly OBE. And we need different or revivified, revitalized
institutions to deal with the challenges, the consequences of
globalization. Globalization is a short-hand reference for all of the
changes that are taking place in the international
Put together the last two points. Diminished U.S. preeminence and decreased
efficacy of the international institutions that preserve order that had been
really essential to our own role in the world, peace of the world, the prosperity
of billions of people. They need to be adjusted, but we don t have
the capacity that we did almost 70 years ago to prescribe for the world what
that replacement regime will look like. And indeed, at least for some
period of time, international dissatisfaction with American actions or policy
or attitude or behavior, triumphalism, or however we want to characterize
this means that should we suggest perhaps a very, very good course of action,
it is tainted, if not dead on arrival because it is our idea.
But look around the globe and you say who else could have an idea that isn
t going to be encumbered by the same baggage. A Russian proposal, a
Chinese proposal, an Indian proposal, an EU proposal, if you could get one
out of the EU that there is enough baggage, historical legacy here.
There is nobody in a position or likely to be in a position over this period
of time sort of to take the lead and institute the changes that almost certainly
must be made in the international system.
A different kind of factor in the mix the effects of climate change.
Directed by the Congress to do a study we did a National Intelligence Assessment
of the geopolitical effects of climate change a subject worthy of discussion
in its own right, if you are interested. But looking that looked out
to 2030, which goes beyond our 2025. But a couple things are worth
noting this evening. One is we did not do the science of climate
change. We accepted the international panel on climate change a
governmental panel on climate change, median projections, which have been
validated by the American counterpart and other folks. One of the points
it makes is that there is absolutely nothing that can be done between now
and 2030 that will change the projected impact on climate change. That
die was cast years or decades ago. It doesn t mean we shouldn t do
things to affect the period of time thereafter. But at least the argument
here is that the changes in sea level, the changes in temperature, the impact
on agriculture, the impact on water availability, the impact that comes from
melting in the Arctic and opening up resources and extending growing seasons
in some places, and shortening them in others.
That is going to happen. Or we can begin to do now is prepare to mitigate
those impacts. Now, what are those impacts? Water shortages.
As far as I know, there is no disagreement about the projection of strains
in water in particular regions. Regions that include the already unstable
Middle East, that include China that the projections of continued 10 percent
growth for China and all that that means. Ignore the fact that it has
severe water problems now. And they get much, much worse by 2015 or
2020. Why does it matter? Orders of magnitude in a North China
plain that is running out of water because they are depleting the underground
aquifers through millions of tube wells drilled in the 1960s, produces the
food for 400 million people.
Think about the difficulty of scrounging up in the international system the
food for 17 or 18 million North Koreans, for a few tens of millions on the
Horn of Africa. Any number any activity put down in the Chinese context,
you have got one hell of a problem. And that is going to happen.
This isn t in the maybe category. This is in the for-real category.
Climate change, we concluded, is not by itself going to bring down any
governments. It is not going to lead to wars.
But two things are pretty certain that the already stressed and strained
and flailing and flailing governments and states this well could be the straw
that breaks the camel s back. A little bit more severe water shortage,
a little bit more severe food shortage, more people beginning to migrate,
economic migrants looking within and across within countries and across borders
for better opportunities and better substance.
Tonight there are some 25 million people around the globe who are outside
their home country type of displaced or immigrant. That is going to
go up. And they are going to go up from the poor, the disadvantaged,
the ill those will bad health, ill-educated, and they are going to be seeking
opportunity in the more prosperous, richer countries. You know, I would
be a genius, and I think that is a problem.
Another element of this that is in the damn near immutable is demography.
And my colleagues who are demographers are really quite confident that the
range of variation is very small. And what this tells us is over the
next 15 years, the West, Europe, in particular, Russia, and the honorary
West, Japan, and, oh, by the way, China, which isn t in the West, have very,
very significant aging of their populations. It is happening in Europe
and Japan, Spain, Italy, in particular very, very rapidly, way below replacement
levels. China s decades of one-child policy begins to kick in.
And by 2015, 2025, you are looking at a dependency ratio of young productive
people to seniors. It begins to approach one to three. That is
a pretty heavy burden on economic growth. How do the Europeans sustain
the social safety net? Put people in the military if they don t have
enough folks to go into the workplace to generate? Normal answer migration,
immigration. Where is it going to come from? Oh, yeah, the
ill-educated, the sick, the poor, the benighted. And they are going
to go into countries or try to go into countries like most of Europe and
Japan that are sort of, on a good day, highly chauvinistic. The doors
are not open.
If you are not born Hungarian of Hungarian parents, you are not Hungarian.
And to multiply that example, a tremendous cultural shift here to provide
proper care for the senior citizens, maintain economic productivity and growth,
provide troops, and preserve the homogeneity of the country. You can
t get there from here. And that is going to happen over the next
decade-and-a-half. The United States in this actually comes off pretty
well both climate change and demographics because of our receptivity to
immigration. We are just about alone in terms of the highly developed
countries that will continue to have demographic growth sufficient to ensure
continued economic growth.
And even with the climate change, it is not a good time to live in the Southwest
because it runs out of water and looks like the Dust Bowl. It is not
a good time to be along the Atlantic seaboard, particularly in the South
because of the projected increase and intensity and severity and frequency
of severe weather more hurricanes, more serious storms, and so forth.
And kind of practical problems I think the number is 63 military installations
that are in danger of being flooded by storm surges. The number of
nuclear power plants that are so similarly vulnerable is almost as high.
How does this affect us? Insurance rates, building standards, inspection
regimes that all will change. Urbanization that the days when most
people lived in the countryside are over, that the cushion of subsistence
farming, even in Africa and South Asia, is rapidly disappearing as people
move to the city because it is a better life more amenities, better opportunities
for education, better opportunities for the kids, and greater vulnerability
to a breakdown anywhere in the global system. Energy shortages, water
shortages, subsidence, all of these things.
And finally is energy security. As the world continues to prosper and
grow, and we are projecting that it will, it is not just the big developing
countries, India and China, which do require an awful lot of energy, even
though per capita use is still pretty small. Any number times 2.4 billion
India plus China is a big number, whether it is kilowatts or barrels of oil
with its impact on oil prices, on greenhouse gases, which, oh, yeah, reifies
and ramifies, extends into climate change dimensions. But who
benefits? The Mid-East authoritarian regimes that have the oil and
gas? Russia, which already is beginning to exercise some energy diplomacy
and leverage. That the instability of countries that will be affected
by climate change and other effects like Nigeria, which on any given day
is operating way, way below production capacity in oil because of instability
or deteriorated infrastructure, and so forth. Why does that matter?
We get about 9 percent of our oil from Nigeria, which, oh, by the way, is
a higher percentage than we get from the Middle East. We have diversified
out of one on stable region into others.
Let me shift to the six degrees of separation and building upon the 2020
but now we are talking near this is right now and next week, and when the
next administration comes into office. Since there is an interconnected
world the flat world of recent metaphor, you can cut in anywhere and start
pulling on strands and looking and I would start with Iran because of the
interest expressed in that. In looking at Iran, let me just sort of
take off some of the dimensions that I think are important. One is
location. Second is energy. And I m glad you said about energy
security, oil and gas, and Iran s concern about access to electricity and
its rationale for a nuclear power program.
The nuclear program, proliferation concerns, Islam it is a theocratic
state. And let me walk through some of the illustrative links here
with you. And there are lots more. And we can talk about them
in the question and answer. Location if I had a map, you would see
your mental map will tell you Iran is situated between Iraq and
Afghanistan. The two shooting wars that we have are on the borders
of Iran. Iran has the capacity, which is exercises, to meddle in those
two conflict arenas. And they meddle in ways that are not to our benefit
IEDs to militias in Iran, support to the Taliban in some areas and to other
insurgents in Afghanistan.
Roll back the clock six years or so. Who are the two biggest security
threats to Iran? Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan. The United
States took care of Iran s principal security threats oh, yeah, except for
us, which the Iranians consider a mortal threat to their nation. So
they are there. It is a pivotal country of the kind of which there
are about a dozen in the world by their location, by their population size,
by their resource you can t ignore it. This is not Malawi. This
is a country that does affect its neighbors. It has an impact.
It has a history. It has expectations. It has a different a security
requirement. We may not like the way they have defined their security
requirement, but they consider it real and legitimate to respond to it.
It is also next to Turkey. And it is home to a portion of the Kurdish
population, which also exists in Iraq and Syria and a large chunk of
Turkey. It s a group of 25 million people with a guerilla group, a
terrorist group, the KGK formerly known as the PKK the Kurdish Workers Party,
which has a kind of uneasy, allowed to exist, allowed to harass the Turks
or the Iraqis, but not to cause trouble in Iran, but a potential for the
Turks to come in and go after the Kurds who are there.
The Persian Gulf a huge percentage of oil moves through the Persian Gulf.
The Iranians have developed a capability to disrupt the flow of oil.
Again, it doesn t affect us very much directly. But it affects our
partners, our trading partners, our allies, and it merits attention.
Iran is a double outcast, maybe a triple outcast. It is a Shi a nation
in a Sunni sea. Shi a is a small minority of global Islam. Its
most numerous adherents are in Iran and Iraq. Given the tensions in
the Islamic world, given the religious tensions to equate them with the Thirty
Years War and the Protestant/Catholic in Europe is a stretch, but this is
not harmony. It is a potential for disruption. It is compounded
by being a Persian state in an Arab sea. There is a lot of nationalist
They are outsiders to the region. But they are bigger and they are
more successful. And they are more democratic. And they have
more money than a lot of their neighbors. And they are more scared
of their neighbors than maybe they ought to be or the neighbors are of
them. But there are reasons for them thinking they have a real problem
a problem that they have elected to deal with in part through two
strategies. One is at the high end and one is at the low end.
The poor man s deterrent is terrorism. Is it state-sponsored
terrorism? It supports Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza Strip, the
Palestinian Islamic Jihad scattered in camps, also in the West Bank.
At the high end, it is pursuit of a nuclear deterrent. At the low end,
sort of the message is clear. Don t tread on me, don t threaten me.
I know I can t defeat you or even match you, or even hope to in conventional
military. But you can t protect all your people everywhere all the
It is very blatant. The aspirations for a nuclear weapon, which we
judge in a recent estimate to work on the weaponization portion of the program
was suspended. But on development of fizzle material, the critical
ingredient that continues. The sensitive Iranians say we are a my word,
moral-less law-abiding member of the non-proliferation treaty regime, the
IAEA safeguards. I say moral-less because they keep lying, and they
keep getting caught, and they fess up after they get caught. But we
comply. We are allowed to have nuclear power, civilian nuclear
power. There is no prescription on a fuel cycle. We can enrich
fuel. And we live in this lousy neighborhood. The Russians don
t like us much. The Americans don t like us much. The French
don t like us much. If we are going to have energy security, we need
to be able to produce our own enriched uranium.
It may be a disingenuous argument, but there are certain, actual plausible
elements of this. They have gotten assistance at the Bushehr nuclear
power plant from the Russians. But the Russians actually had been quite
clear that they are very uncomfortable with the idea of a nuclear weapon
program in Iran. And they have enforced constraints on what Iran might
do had been sometimes eager and sometimes reluctant participants in the P-5+1
response to Iran s nuclear program P-5 permanent members of the Security
Council, which includes the Chinese, as well as the Russians, which have
to be brought along by us and by the Europeans.
They have got mixed interests. The Chinese get a large and growing
percentage of their oil from Iran. They say it is very well and good
for you, Americans, to say clamp down and impose sanctions. You don
t depend on that market. We do. The Russians are trying to manage
the problem most of the time differently than we do because they are pretty
close. Iran and its energy oil, natural gas, major supplier.
You can t the world can t, even if we get orchestrated diplomatically, you
can t cut off their exports of oil and gas. Too much of the world depends
on them. Too much of our economy depends on the oil and gas going to
our trading partners.
But that enriches the regime and it allows them to bribe its people.
It enables them to have a little bit more performance-based legitimacy than
they might otherwise have. So the turn-the-spigot-off kind of thing
even if we could do it, it would be counterproductive. The Russia-Iran
had a nexus around energy. The Russians are making very effective use
of their oil and gas exports. There are many Americans in Washington,
who are more excited about European dependence on Russian gas than most Europeans
seem to be. There are two alternatives for pipelines to bring oil and
gas out of Central Asia. They either go through Russia and you reinforce
its energy leverage, or it goes through Iran, and you reinforce the legitimacy
and the capacity of the Iranian government.
Look at the map, guys. There aren t any other routes. So there
s either way there are political downsides, there are economic downsides,
there are energy downsides, and much of the world is going to be making
calculations around here that don t go through the same screen of concern
about proliferation or concern about a theocracy, or concern about extension
I mentioned Hezbollah, which is in Lebanon. The Cedar Revolution, you
remember, of a few years ago; the Lebanese reducing their dependence on Syria,
Syria compelled to withdraw its overt presence from Lebanon. Hezbollah
is an arm and extension of Iran, but it s also a political party with legitimacy,
and Hezbollah s raison d etre is opposition to Israel, and the Israeli occupation
of Lebanon which is mostly over except for a little bit of territory by the
Shebaa Farms, which we say is actually Syrian, not Lebanese. Why do
we say that? Because it s on their currency. Their currency the
Syrian currency shows it as being in Syria. Opposition, hostility to
Israel, which is an Iranian position, is furthered by Hezbollah activity,
but Hezbollah is a part of the political process and we support democracy
Manipulation and I ll bring this to a close here of controls over energy
flows and energy transport mechanisms that many people fear from a resurgent
Russia Russia s economy is back on its feet. It s had several years
of growth, impressive growth, much of which is associated with the high price
of oil and gas. But they ve actually rather wisely invested money in
other portions of the economy.
The movement in Georgia, which I think has got more to do with it s their
backyard, it s their Monroe Doctrine, without proclaiming it as such.
Saakashvili has been a real thorn in their side. They did their Dirty
Harry thing go ahead and make my day; send troops into South Ossetia and
we re going to squash you like a bug. Saakashvili sent the troops in
and he got squashed like a bug. We stand up for the democratic government
in Georgia. Most of our European allies are tying their shoes and not
seeing things here at the moment. The Russians are right there, that
these troops moved a few kilometers to get across the border that had to
go though the tunnel. There s not much we can do about it.
And what is at stake? One of the things is an east-west pipeline and
a rail line that carries oil. So, yeah, they want more ability to shut
it down for political leverage, if that s the intent, or it s one more
vulnerability of the Russians because they actually depend on the exports
and being good commercial partners in order to sustain foreign investment
in a range of other activities. I could go on with this, but I think
the point becomes clear that there is almost no problem anywhere on the face
of the Earth that isn t immediately, intrinsically, and importantly linked
to many others, and if they don t directly come back to affect American
interests, they do so indirectly because they affect the interests, the lives
of our major friends and allies.
What does this all mean for this administration, the next administration,
any administration? As we look out a few years, we re probably going
to be playing with fewer cards. The face value of those cards will
be diminished. There will be more players in the game. There
will be more conflicting interests, interests that will be, end of the day
if you looked at them objectively, legitimate interests that will be in
conflict. There s no overwhelming enemy as Soviet-led international
communism, an existential threat to our way of life. There s a whole
bunch of to borrow Jim Woolsey s a lot of snakes out there, no more dragons.
The difficulty of marshalling a concerted response, or even the uncertainty
about whether an orchestrated, coordinated response is appropriate; the
inadequacy of existing institutions to deal with the problem so what replaces
them on a regional or sub-regional level? Will there be resorts to
force, to asymmetric warfare? Maybe. Maybe. How should
we be positioning ourselves as an intelligence community to anticipate, to
explain, to identify opportunities to ameliorate a course of action.
How do we get across to those who will be moving into positions of authority
and influence in Washington how complex the world is, how hazardous,
off-the-shelf, knee-jerk, visceral kinds of fixes, solution, attitudes are,
and that we just have to accept that we are viewed by the rest of the world
differently that we were for most of the last six decades? It s going
to be a whole lot harder to deal with a whole lot more problems that are
going to be much more interconnected than ever in our past.
I bring this to closure before throwing it open to your questions by saying
that s why we need to transform everything about our business: what we go
after, how we go after it, how we use technology and smart people to sharpen
the questions that we then ask of the data that we already have or ask the
collectors to go get for us. These things are so bloody hard again,
my little examples. To deal with that nexus of problems you better
have Russia specialists, and Caspian region specialists, and Iran specialists,
and Iraq specialists, and military and energy and economic and demographic,
and on and on and on. And if that array of experts isn t consulted,
isn t sharing information, isn t talking with one another and talking beyond
the confines of the community, we will fail.
On that rather unhappy note, let me invite you to play stump the band here
and ask me whatever is on your mind and I ll make something up. Thanks,
Q: Tom, you did make (inaudible) as you were talking through the
demographics (inaudible). The general assumption is that (inaudible)
and the question becomes in my mind, what s the motivation for the Iranian
bomb? It has nothing to do an Iranian nuclear weapon has nothing to
do with the West but it has everything to do with the Shi ite bomb to counter
the Sunni bomb (inaudible).
DR. FINGAR: Yeah, did everybody hear the question? What if the
Iranian quest for a bomb which assumes that continues or certainly its original
motivation were triggered not by fear of the West but a fear of the Sunni
in Pakistan who do have a bomb? That s probably an element of it is
that both the Paks and the Iranians have accused one another in recent years
of fomenting insurrection in Baluchistan, the area the tribal groups that
span the border, which are not terribly unstable in relative terms but have
the potential to be a problem.
Iran, it has a lot of enemies, or a lot of adversaries, or a lot of potential
enemies, most of whom happen to be connected to us, like the Saudis, the
Q: Who happen to be Sunni.
DR. FINGAR: the Pakistanis I m sorry?
Q: Who happen to be Sunni.
DR. FINGAR: Happen to be Sunni who happen to be Sunni. There
s a religious element to it, for sure. There is an approach to government
and this will sound strange but the Iranians actively have a better-functioning
democracy than Pakistan does. We may not like who they elect.
It may be a distorted process by the way in which people are vetted before
they can run, but it s actually pretty free and fair elections once they
get to that point, and they have some authority afterwards.
Let me reverse the question. See, if Iran were to get a nuclear weapon,
would it make the region more or less stable? And part of the projection
that we make is that the Saudis the keeper of the Islamic heartland who happen
to be Sunni, who have a Shi a minority in their Far-Eastern portions, which,
oh, by the way, is where the oil is will feel compelled to have a weapon.
They can t make one, and whether they ll rent one maybe they ve already rented
it from the Pakistanis. It may sit in a silo or a warehouse in Pakistan
with a Saudi flag painted on it I m being metaphorical but we don t know
on that one. But the pressure to get one, the incentive to get and,
oh, it will expand up to the Turks as well, and the Egyptians, as they have
So the quest for security and stability has the very high prospect of making
things less stable, and to contemplate a less-stable Pakistan is really quite
frightening. There is a large Islamic movement. There is, of
course, a large nuclear weapons capability. There is the unstable northern
territories, the ungoverned territories that have never been governed by
anybody effectively. And for those who haven t been up there, if you
re readers of the comic strip of my youth, Terry and the Pirates, that s
it. I went up to meet the Taliban a little over a decade ago.
It was my first TDY ever to the 14th century. It s time travel.
It s strange. But it s also dangerous, not just as a safe haven for
terrorists who can spread back into Europe, to the United States, and training,
but for destabilizing Afghanistan.
The instability fosters fear around the neighborhood, not just in India,
but what might spill over? What if the beards got the bomb, is the
way it is put if these extremists got control of nuclear weapons? People
who harbor terrorists and these aren t fissile this is a bomb. And,
you know, we feel reasonably confident that the Pakistani military maintains
pretty good control of this. Well, what if the military sort of changes
sides in this? Then we ve got a problem, so we do worry about it and
work on it.
Somebody else. Yes?
Q: Thanks for that very impressive tour of the (inaudible). If
the new administration comes in and you know, just hypothetically, if they
say (inaudible) an important element of soft power; we re going to increase
that soft power capability and we ll triple the number of analysts in the
intelligence community, if we could afford them. If they were to do
that, would the analytic transformation and framework at its current state
as of 2009, would that help to be able to could we bring them in, in an entirely
new role? What would the difference be?
DR. FINGAR: Yeah. I m going to answer the question. Let
me preface it by sort of a cautionary note. I realize that what I described
can easily be heard as, oh, god, doom, gloom, pessimism. It should
not. It s attempted to describe the complexity of this. I actually
remain quite optimistic about our ability, of the intelligence community
of the United States, us with our allies, to deal with this. The flip
side of every one of these complexity-derived or exacerbated problems is
an opportunity. They re in there. We have to be smart.
Now to the there is a certain, oh, that s so last century to the way as my
kids would say that if you ve got a problem, throw more money and people
at it. If I were to be asked that question, I would say, no, no, no,
no, no. If the problem is defined as you did in the setup, the
understanding of the world, I say take this money, take this effort, strengthen
education. I was a beneficiary of the Eisenhower-era National Defense
Education Act, know your enemy kind of funding, which produced a generation
and a half-worth of experts who we ve not replicated. Get people into
the private sector who can do business, who can interact in NGOs, expand
opportunities to bring foreign students to the United States. They
understand us better. They don t necessarily love us but they at least
understand us better, and they can go home to positions there.
So I think, in terms of bang for a buck, making the analytic community larger
doesn t necessarily make it smarter. I think it might actually slow
down the transformation if it s perceived as a band-aid that precludes the
need for making the kind of hard, painful choices that Mike and I and others
have described over the last two days.
That s a top-of-the-head response. I doubt that I d change it much
upon reflection, but that s where I start.
DR. FINGAR: Ah, yes, in the Army we call that a spring button.
Q: (Inaudible) you addressed earlier today in which we clearly got
the message that you personally, and likely DNI (inaudible) believes that
we shouldn t (inaudible) and that there is merit to having (inaudible) personally
agree with that. I have a personal view that the terminology community
intelligence community is an oxymoron; that there has never been a community;
that it s a series of tribes with more or less important sheiks at the
top. So my question to you, Tom, is if the ODNI needs to be more successful
than it has been because my view, again, is that things are being done by
consensus, necessarily so what is the one thing, two things, three things
that you, Tom, think needs to be done in order to accelerate into a (inaudible)
dramatically lead in to turn the tribes into a real community?
DR. FINGAR: Did everybody hear the question?
DR. FINGAR: Given the
Q: Now I have to repeat it, Tom.
DR. FINGAR: No, no. Given the importance that I and other have
ascribed to the role of the ODNI, it ought it be continued, not disbanded,
what are the three things that I think need to be done in order to prevent
reversion to the contending tribes? That is our history.
Let me preface it by going back a decade or so. I can t remember the
precise time, but it may have been 1997 on the 50th anniversary of the National
Security Act which the National Archives produced a volume on the formative
years of the intelligence establishment, and I went down with a couple of
the veterans who were in INR when I joined the bureau in 1986, who had been
there literally from the beginning. They had been in this part of
OSS. Some of you NSAers will remember Dick Curl. Several of the
speakers that day made the point that intelligence community not only was
an oxymoron, that it was delusional, that the term intelligence establishment
was chosen by these veterans who prepared this documentary history to reflect
the fact that they were warring fiefdoms that didn t trust one another, that
existed in parallel structures because no head of an agency would rely on
intelligence from an organization they didn t control. And coming out
of the State Department the INR was created at the same time as the CIA because
George Marshall, given his military experience, explicitly said his intelligence
shop was going to work for him Army intelligence, Navy intelligence.
That s the genesis of it. So we were born in an environment that put
a patina of coordination and consolidation under the Director of Central
Intelligence that from the beginning had no reality, as articulated by these
sort of veterans of that time. Even I was very young at the time they
were talking about in the 40s.
Where we are now is, I think, that organizations the organizations that
constitute the intelligence community have more or less gotten over the fear
concern that there was going to be a homogenization, that we were going to
create a central intelligence establishment in a kind of a replay of all
of the concerns that existed in the 40s when that debate was first waged,
and then that sort of led to the creation of additional agencies subsequently;
that we would have, or strive for, something like a department of
intelligence. And as my boss, Mike McConnell, has said on many occasions,
he s less a Director of National Intelligence than a coordinator of national
intelligence because he s not the secretary of national intelligence.
Of the 16 agencies, 15 report to another Cabinet member. So structurally,
what I was referring to earlier in the day as a great asset for being close
to our customers, it means that structurally there is a paucity of command
authority maybe put politely and therefore a need to win grudging acceptance,
if not consensus. That s what the law and the executive order are in
the structure. And, actually, I don t have a problem with
that. I think that there is healthy tension in the system, but I think
we ve gotten over the fear of homogenization, of loss of mission stature
and capability, and an increasing ability to see the agency s future and
the agency s mission as being attainable best attainable within the context
of a better-integrated enterprise. I said better-integrated, not integrated
enterprise. I think for a while the antibodies and the resistance to
a truly integrated corporate entity here, which has divisions and division
of labor and so forth, I think we re headed in that direction and I think
it s going to be hard to get there.
So what three things would I recommend, now that I vamped long enough to
think in parallel processing mode? The budget authority that the DNI
has one of the few authorities that he really, unquestionably does have.
We have to overcome the propensity of at least some within the ODNI staff
to view this as an opportunity to micromanage the community. It has
all of the silliness to me of a flea climbing up the tail of an elephant
contemplating rape. (Laughter.) The budget is so huge, the range
of activity so large, the complexity of activity such that a tiny staff has
zero capability to micromanage the entire budget, and shouldn t try.
We have agency heads, program managers. They have authority, they have
mission, they have understanding, and the vast majority of the activity should
be conducted by them, in my judgment.
But my metaphor here and I ve used it with McConnell is that if we re an
aircraft carrier that we want to turn, I don t care who runs the kitchen,
I don t care who is in charge of refueling, who cleans up after the airplanes;
I just want the rudder. And what the DNI and the ODNI I think needs
to do is to identify those activities, those areas, those investments, those
efforts that can best integrate the enterprise and get us moving forward
so that the ability of each agency to achieve its objectives is enhanced
by integration. Some of it is IT, some of it is common training, some
of it is common tradecraft, some of it is complementarity in mission on this,
that using that authority, a few percentage of the budget over the FYDP,
each year monitoring, that produces big bang for the buck, visibly so in
changing the community, I think it will be self-sustaining. So it s
sort of focus the effort where you can have an impact it might not succeed
but you can have an impact rather than squander it in a showboating effort
that is almost certain to fail.
The second is to hold agency heads and agencies accountable for adherence
to those standards that have been adopted, implemented everything from joint
duty as a prerequisite for promotion into the senior service, the mobility
dimensions of this, the compliance with sourcing standards. We need
to have the cascade effect here: if agency heads are accountable, then those
accountable to the agency heads, and we ll begin to have the kind of metrics
and enforcement that was discussed earlier today in response to a question.
And the third is to sustain the quality of support that we provide, what
I was alluding to in certain terms is confidence in the caliber, the quality
of the support we provide, which most visibly to senior policy-makers are
analytic products, which most visibly to the military services is the mixture
of raw, tactical intelligence and information that is processed enough and
analyzed enough to apply right now operational information. And for
law enforcement, first responders, it s much, much better distillation of
what is a real threat and what isn t, so that they can make appropriate
I think if we focus on those areas, we will demonstrate the value of having
an ODNI. As I mentioned to John at the table, it wasn t just the history,
the structure, the authorities; it was the double the dual character of DCIA
from the beginning, running a big organization, arguably the preeminent,
the major organization in the intelligence community, and attempting to herd
the cats. Inevitably the cat herding took second place, and with few
unsuccessful exceptions over the history, there was no effort, serious effort,
to get the integrated enterprise to change it from an establishment if not
into a community my mind s soft here at least into an enterprise that could
John is up, so I assume that means it s time to disperse you. Thank
you for your time. John, I m not cutting you off, your announcement.
Thanks for your attention.
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