7 March 2015
CIA Blueprint for the Future
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Unclassified Version of March 6, 2015 Message to the Workforce
from CIA Director John Brennan: Our Agency's Blueprint for the Future
March 6, 2015
Last September I asked an outstanding group of officers from across the Agency
to examine our organization -- particularly its people, processes, and structure
-- and to provide a report on how to ensure that CIA is optimally prepared
to carry out its mission into the future. In conducting their research, Study
Group members received input from thousands of Agency employees, reviewed
best practices across the public and private sectors, and interviewed dozens
of customers and current and former senior officers. With these recommendations
as our guide, the Agency's leadership team has made a number of decisions
building upon the Agency's Strategic Direction that are designed to
strengthen our Agency in the years ahead. The decisions are designed to help
us fulfill our institutional responsibility and integrated strategic vision,
which is to consistently provide tactical and strategic advantage for the
United States through our information, insights, and actions.
The initiatives described below are driven by two fundamental shifts in the
national security landscape. The first is the marked increase in the range,
diversity, complexity, and immediacy of issues confronting policymakers;
and the second is the unprecedented pace and impact of technological
When previously faced with such shifts, this Agency proved it can adapt and
transform in significant ways, such as our response to the emergence of global
terrorism. The time has come for us to do so again, which will require bold
action in four interrelated areas. First, we must ensure that we continue
to attract the best from the broadest pool of American talent, and develop
our officers with the skills, knowledge, and Agency-wide perspective they
will need to lead us into the future. Second, we must be positioned to embrace
and leverage the digital revolution to the benefit of all mission areas.
Third, we need an organizational construct and business practices that support
our decisionmaking process. And fourth, we must allow all of our Agency's
capabilities to be brought to bear as quickly and coherently as possible
to meet the Nation's challenges.
Overall Plan and Initial Steps
Theme One: Invest in our people by enhancing our talent and
leadership development. We must make it easier for our officers to
acquire new skills, to strengthen their leadership abilities, and to deepen
their distinctive tradecrafts while also broadening their understanding of
CIA, the intelligence profession, and the national security mission. This
was the number one issue raised by the workforce to the Study Group and is
foundational to all other initiatives. Building on the Agency's Strategic
Direction, we are making the following changes to the ways in which we
are organized for, practice, and think about talent development:
Establish a new Talent Development Center of Excellence to bring under
one roof our efforts to improve the recruitment, performance management,
training, and leadership development of our diverse workforce.
Place all training under CIA University and create more
opportunities for learning across disciplines to help us grow well-rounded
intelligence officers. CIA University will be headed by a chancellor with
the mandate to educate and train officers able to function in integrated
mission environments and to develop into the next generation of Agency leaders.
Create more systematic methods to better develop leaders and to integrate
our activities across the Agency, starting with a plan to make
multi-disciplinary exposure and experience the "new normal" at CIA.
Reset our expectations for leaders at all levels, stressing
the importance of developing and empowering our people, ensuring accountability,
being committed to continuous improvement, and building a culture in which
we are all intelligence officers first, regardless of our Directorate, position,
or area of expertise.
Theme Two: Embrace and leverage the digital revolution and innovate
across our missions. Digital technology holds great promise
for mission excellence, while posing serious threats to the security of our
operations and information, as well as to U.S. interests more broadly. We
must place our activities and operations in the digital domain at the very
center of all our mission endeavors. To that end, we will establish a senior
leadership position to oversee the acceleration of digital and cyber integration
across all of our mission areas
We will create a new Directorate that will be responsible for accelerating
the integration of our digital and cyber capabilities across all of our mission
areas. It will be called the Directorate of Digital Innovation. The new
Directorate will be responsible for overseeing the career development of
our digital experts as well as the standards of our digital tradecraft.
Theme Three: Modernize the way we do business.
The pace of world events and technological change demands that Agency
leaders be able to make decisions with agility, at the appropriate level,
with the right information, and in the interests of the broader
enterprise. We must have the capacity to make the sound strategic decisions
needed to build a better Agency and run it efficiently, even as we respond
to urgent external requirements. We must empower our officers to address
the operational, analytical, technological, support, and other issues that
are at the heart of what we do every day. Accordingly, we will:
Enhance and empower the Executive Director's role and responsibilities
to manage day-to-day organizational functions, including overseeing a revamped
corporate governance model.
Create a restructured Executive Secretary office to streamline
core executive support functions, thereby increasing effectiveness and
Even as we improve our ability to govern and make decisions and streamline
our processes at the enterprise level, there will be a corresponding effort
to delegate decisionmaking and accountability for achieving mission to the
lowest appropriate level and to streamline our processes and practices throughout
Theme Four: Integrate our capabilities better to bring the best
of the Agency to all mission areas. During my time as Director, I
have repeatedly witnessed that this Agency's greatest mission successes result
from collaboration among all of our mission elements. Never has the need
for the full and unfettered integration of our capabilities been greater.
If we are to meet the challenges of the current national security environment,
we must take some bold steps toward more integrated, coherent, and accountable
mission execution. We will stand up Mission Centers that will bring
the full range of operational, analytic, support, technical, and digital
personnel and capabilities to bear on the nation's most pressing security
issues and interests.
Each new Mission Center will be led by an Assistant Director. These
new Centers will not be tethered to any single Directorate; rather, we will
organize within them the full range of Agency officers and elements possessing
the expertise and capabilities needed to execute mission. The Mission Centers
will work closely with all Agency elements to further enhance our integration
and interoperability. The Assistant Directors will be accountable for integrating
and advancing the mission -- in all of its various forms -- and for overall
mission accomplishment in their respective geographic or functional area.
They will be responsible for consistently preempting threats and furthering
U.S. national security objectives with the best possible information, technology,
analysis, and operations.
The Assistant Directors will work closely with the Directorate heads, who
will retain overall responsibility and accountability for the delivery of
excellence in their respective occupations across all of the Centers. To
best reflect the mission and responsibilities of the Directorates, we will
rename the National Clandestine Service the Directorate of Operations, and
the Directorate of Intelligence will be the Directorate of Analysis. The
Directorate heads will be responsible for developing officers with the
specialized skills unique to the Directorates, for developing tradecraft,
and for maintaining a strategic perspective that cuts across all issues and
Along with the rest of the CIA leadership team, you can expect my absolute
commitment in devoting the necessary attention and making the tough decisions
required to lead these changes. We will move as rapidly as possible, and
we will keep you informed of our progress. We look to all of you and challenge
each of you to unleash the incredible intellect and dedication you bring
every day to the most demanding mission challenges. We ask for your support
as well as your input and feedback as we move forward with these changes.
Together, we will make sure this extraordinary organization continues to
reflect the absolute best this Country has to offer and to be indispensable
to our Nation's security for many, many years to come.
Posted: Mar 06, 2015 02:12 PM
Last Updated: Mar 06, 2015 02:12 PM