Remarks by the Director of National Intelligence
Ambassador John D. Negroponte

Leadership Day/CIA University
June 28, 2006

Thank you for that kind introduction, General Hayden. It’s a pleasure to be here at CIA to participate in the Intelligence Community’s Leadership Day.

This morning I have been asked to focus on the leadership challenges I have faced in meeting our national intelligence objectives as the Director of National Intelligence, as well as the challenges you face as leaders in a community of 16 organizations. I welcome the opportunity to do that, but first, I would like to frame my observations within the context of what we’ve been doing during the past year.

Over a year ago, the ODNI was established to ensure that the Intelligence Community maximizes its contributions to the security of our nation. The transformation we are embarked on to build a stronger, more effective IC requires us to integrate foreign, military, and domestic intelligence. Policymakers, lawmakers, the military, and law enforcement must be able to count on us for timely, accurate and objective intelligence so they can make informed decisions and take effective actions.

On the wall of the main entrance to CIA headquarters are stars and a passage from the Bible, John 8:32. The stars represent those individuals who have given their lives for the vision, “and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” As leaders of the Intelligence Community we must pursue that vision and lead our people toward it – building a stronger, more effective IC that strives relentlessly for the truths that will preserve our freedom and security. That is our highest priority as Intelligence Community leaders—demanding of ourselves and our colleagues that we do our best to protect our nation today and make it safer tomorrow.

Now, how do we attain those difficult goals? My approach to doing so as DNI has been guided by four leadership principles. I don’t offer these precepts as the perfect answers to all challenges, but rather as general guideposts that I believe provide a sound framework for success.

First, even though you have risen to a position of leadership, it’s important to recognize that no single individual can have all the ideas, expertise, and energy necessary to achieve organizational success. That being the case, it is good practice to begin leading by recruiting a strong team to participate in the leadership process with you—people who share your philosophy that good leaders reach out to others. Recruit the best people you can find and then capitalize on the strengths and uniqueness of each member of your team. Create an environment that takes advantage of teamwork – allowing people to do their best, to be challenged, and to weigh in on decision-making.

Second, you’ve been given a job to do, but there are many ways to do a job, so how do you plan to accomplish your goals? Articulate a vision; this will act as a magnet—attracting, challenging and uniting people.

Third, develop a strategy for achieving your vision. A strategy is essential to clarifying priorities, allocating resources, and generating a communication process that is open, takes advantages of everyone’s ideas, and fosters collaboration. Leadership that listens is leadership that gets off to a good start and knows how to make mid-course corrections. Whatever strategy you develop, be sure that it is concrete, specific, and easily understood by all levels of your organization.

Fourth, having recruited a strong leadership team, articulated your vision, and done your best to generate a dynamic strategy that focuses on your primary goals, spend as much time as possible enabling your colleagues to succeed. Embrace the fact that all the things you’ve done in your career to develop your competencies must now find expression in the competencies of others. Define your success by their success. Remove obstacles to their success. Develop procedures and institutions to support their success. Your achievements as leaders in our Intelligence Community will come not from what you do alone, but by our collective success in doing our best to protect the nation and make it safer for tomorrow. In government in particular, where each of us holds his or her office as a public trust, we are duty-bound to make sure that the next generation of leaders is ready to take over when we move on. And for that reason, it is critical that you not only lead today, but that you grow leaders for tomorrow.

Following these precepts as DNI, the first thing I did to begin addressing our intelligence objectives was to recruit a world-class team of senior colleagues. Many of them are known to you—one, in particular, General Mike Hayden, is very well known to you.

To achieve our national intelligence objectives, we needed a team of intelligence, military, law enforcement, legal, administrative, and S&T professionals unparalleled in their combined experience, expertise, and commitment to our fundamental task, which I can state in a single sentence—and this single sentence represents our vision: The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is charged with integrating the foreign, military, and domestic dimensions of US intelligence into a unified enterprise that meets the highest standards of objectivity, accuracy, and timeliness.

There’s a lot of work packed in that sentence. If you combine implementing the provisions of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 with carrying out the 70 recommendations of the Silberman-Robb Commission, you come up with around one hundred tasks. All of these changes require leadership to see them through.

And as everyone in this audience knows, we are undertaking these tasks at time when we are in a long war against terror. As we drive the integration of the Intelligence Community forward, we are supporting that war against terror … we are supporting major operations against insurgents and terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan … and we are analyzing political instability and potential conflicts around the globe.

All that ongoing business notwithstanding, our first leadership challenge was to develop a National Intelligence Strategy, issued last October, that advanced our goal of focusing the IC leadership on a set of priorities. The National Intelligence Strategy’s fundamental premise is integration, but, beyond that, it emphasizes the substantive mission objectives of the early 21st Century as the IC’s reason for existence.

The IC serves the President and the country in order to achieve some very specific goals:

If there is a major difference in this set of objectives from historic IC objectives, it lies in the fact that we are charged with accomplishing these missions, to varying degrees, both abroad and at home. Here, more than in terms of tightening up foreign and military intelligence, is the nub of IC integration—making sure there is no gap between intelligence collected abroad and inside the United States in order to protect the Homeland.

That’s a summary of the National Intelligence Strategy, which has initiated a concerted effort to do what I said leadership is really about: make it possible for everyone within the IC to succeed. By and large, the law calls on the DNI to provide strategic leadership and depend on you to carry out our vision. If you have not read the National Intelligence Strategy, I encourage you to do so.

Institutionally, we are seeking to integrate IC efforts through the creation or strengthening of:

By design, these institutions will enable IC leaders to firmly connect key elements of the Community so that we can, as a collaborative workforce, address intelligence problems in their entirety, not in pieces.

The best example of this collaboration is our cross-cutting approach to Mission Management. Mission managment—bringing all critical aspects of intelligence operations on certain key topics under the purview of a single officer—is helping collectors, analysts, and support personnel do a better job against targets like Iran, North Korea, and hostile intelligence services.

Meanwhile, looking outside the IC, we also are fostering more external partnerships by making analysts in each Agency aware of opportunities for drawing on external expertise. For purposes of protecting national security information, we must be insulated, but for purposes of understanding the world we seek to analyze, we cannot be insular.

Now let me expand on the need to think about the Community as a whole with reference to the resource some call “human capital,” although I like to think of it as the leaders of the future.

As you all know, in the mid-1990s, IC recruiting declined. Then, the shock of 9/11 and the needs it revealed caused us to begin significantly increasing our recruiting and hiring. CIA, for example, is pursuing a Presidential Directive to build up our analyst and case officer corps by 50%. The FBI, as it staffs and develops the NSB, is adding intelligence professionals. DHS is doing the same. This means we have a workforce that is young, and in an expertise-based business, we therefore must offer our young workforce significant leadership and mentoring. Yes, that’s a daunting challenge, but a good one. We now have an opportunity to improve the national intelligence corps of the future by training our new colleagues to the highest standards.

We instituted these new joint duty requirements for promotion to senior levels of the IC for a simple, straightforward reason: We cannot have a truly integrated IC that maintains vigilance on behalf of the nation’s security at home and abroad without leaders who know how to work effectively in a joint military-foreign-domestic environment.

This is the crux of our challenge: as IC leaders we must adapt to the fact that we must manage differently in the 21st century than we did in the 20th century. The threats we now face are too diverse, fluid, and dispersed. In response, our new generation of intelligence professionals will need and demand increasingly sophisticated tools, training, and techniques in order to protect the nation today and make it safer tomorrow.

You are, and will be, the leaders of the great transition in the US Intelligence Community that began in September 2001. So it falls to you to make sure that your colleagues do succeed. I recognize that leading this transition will be difficult. As the American futurist, Marilyn Ferguson, pointed out:

"It’s not so much that we’re afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it’s that place in between that we fear …."

We are making progress on many fronts, so I am encouraged, and I think you should be, too. As I said on the first anniversary of the ODNI in April, it’s because of your dedication, professionalism, and leadership that our nation is safer today than it was in 2001. Our efforts, however, remain a work in progress and more must be done to achieve our goals, as I have outlined them above.

Now, I look forward to your comments and questions. Thank you very much.