Thank you very much, Chairman McConnell, for that kind introduction. It's an honor to be among so many distinguished guests, including a number of former Baker honorees and many good, personal friends and colleagues.
As Tim Sample noted in his excellent tribute, Dr. William Oliver Baker's accomplishments inside and outside the lab were animated by the finest qualities of public service - careful thought, tireless work, and unwavering integrity. The award that bears his name honors those who demonstrate these exceptional qualities in their careers and lives.
Tonight, of course, James R. Clapper Jr. is the 22nd recipient of this award, and he is true to the Baker mold. I don't hesitate for a second to say that Jim Clapper is one of the most thoughtful, imaginative, and creative individuals I have known in government service, and beyond that, a hell of a nice guy.
It was my privilege to work with Jim during the final 14 months of his tenure at NGA. From day one, I appreciated his candor, his deep expertise, and his ability to cut across "INT" stovepipes. As everyone here knows, he led from the front when it came to integrating our intelligence community resources - something he was committed to long before the events of 9/11.
Jim understands the intelligence business from the bottom up. He began his Air Force career as a 'SIGINTer,' completing the Signal Intelligence Officers Course in March 1964. Then he went to Vietnam - we were there at the same time - and served two combat tours, flying over 70 combat support missions in EC-47s over Laos and Cambodia.
As his career advanced, Jim proved himself a talented briefer and natural leader in a variety of staff and command positions in Washington and in the field. He entered the senior ranks in 1985, when he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General. As a senior officer, Jim filled three separate assignments as director of intelligence to war-fighting commands, including U.S. Forces, Korea; Pacific Command; and Strategic Air Command.
When he was confirmed as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 1991, Jim received his third star, a mark of responsibility, attainment and distinction he well deserved. Jim's push to forge greater cohesion between DIA and a long list of partners - the Joint Chiefs, the service intelligence organizations, the Combatant commands, and the other three-letter agencies - might in hindsight seem like the obvious best course of action. But hindsight is easy. The fact is that seeing the benefits of tighter integration required rare foresight, and then, actually forging that integration required exceptional leadership.
After retiring from the Air Force in 1995 and spending six years as an executive in the private sector, Jim returned to public service as the first civilian director of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency. He took the helm just two days after 9/11 and led the NIMA through a period of challenge and change, becoming it's longest serving director. Still as creative as ever, he pioneered a new discipline, GEOINT, merging mapping and imagery in ways that revolutionized support to policymakers and warfighters. Drawing on his background in signals intelligence, he also pushed for cross-agency teams that mined the rich seam between SIGINT and GEOINT. These are the kinds of contributions that rightly deserve the adjective "major."
Indeed, when one reviews Jim's career, two themes consistently emerge. First, wherever he served, Jim was both an innovator and an implementer. Second, he was far ahead of the curve when it came to building greater cohesion within the Intelligence Community. He was always a champion, and more importantly, a practitioner, of integration.
Jim, I know I speak for all with whom you have served when I express my gratitude for your ingenuity and your exceptional leadership. You're a model for us all.
And in closing, I would like to read you a congratulatory message from the President of the United States:
Dear General Clapper:
Congratulations on receiving this year's William Oliver Baker Award from the Intelligence and National Security Alliance.
Your selection to receive the Baker Award is a testament to your long and distinguished career of serving our Nation with leadership, courage, and commitment. This Award recognizes in particular your achievements in the fields of intelligence and national security, including your decorated military career and your current position as the first civilian Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Your dedicated service has contributed to a stronger United States and a safer world.
George W. Bush