Defense Intel Agency Director Outlines Changes Under Way

US Navy Seaman Joshua Sharon stands watch on the bridge wing aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Gettysburg under way in the Atlantic Ocean, Oct. 5, 2012. The Gettysburg is participating in Exercise Joint Warrior, which takes place off the coast of Scotland and is led by the United Kingdom's joint tactical exercise planning staff

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Washington, DC – The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency shared his vision of accelerating change and building capacity within the agency during a symposium on Oct 10 in Orlando, Florida.

Army Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn spoke to the US Geospatial Intelligence Foundation about reshaping defense analysis and professional development of the workforce, but began with his plan to use the Defense Clandestine Service to integrate the intelligence community.

“I’m going to use this to integrate the entire agency,” Flynn said. “This is not a marginal adjustment for DIA. This is a major adjustment for national security.”

The idea is increasing partnerships, he said, as well as increasing capacity and capabilities while putting the agency’s presence where it’s needed.

It’s also about offsetting risk, preventing strategic surprise and retaining US competitive advantage, Flynn said, “and I think that’s really important.”

Flynn discussed reshaping defense analysis for the agency and lauded the operational community for its understanding of intelligence.

“The operational community understands intelligence, [in] many, many cases, particularly in the surveillance and reconnaissance realm, much more than they did five years ago,” Flynn said, “[and] definitely [more] than they did 10 years ago.”

The general also touched on professional development, in particular, focusing on the civilian side of the workforce, which until recently, hasn’t had the same opportunities as their military counterparts.

“I went and studied post-World World II, post-Korea, post-Vietnam and post the collapse of the Soviet Union and end of the Cold War,” Flynn said. “In all four examples, the Department of Defense killed training and professional development.”

Flynn noted DIA has a “fairly healthy budget,” and he said he has made professional development one of his priorities.

“It’s an area that I’m very comfortable with, and it’s something that we will invest in — particularly, leader training,” he said.

Flynn also emphasized the importance of building capacity within DIA, and the intelligence community at large.

“When we’re getting ready and adjusting for whatever the next conflict is going to be, we have to use our training and education system to drive change, build trust and instill this culture,” he said.

“Everything is under attack, [and] everything is challenged,” Flynn added. “One of the things that we have a responsibility to do is understand some of [the] issues and then prioritize accordingly, based on the direction that we are given from our leadership.”

The general underscored the value of DIA in the US national defense strategy.

“It is [an] indispensable element of the military dimension of our national defense posture,” Flynn said. “[This is] what the Defense Intelligence Agency gives this nation.”

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