DNI Hosts Discussion with NGA Director

DNI Hosts Discussion with NGA Director

Monday, 04 April 2022 10:27

DNI Hosts Discussion with NGA Director


By Melanee “Kate” Thomas, ODNI Office of Strategic Communications

Photos by James Williams, ODNI Office of Strategic Communications


Vice Adm. Robert Sharp, the seventh director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, joined Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines for an ODNI-hosted discussion in McLean, Virginia, March 21. The conversation focused on the importance of partnerships in the Intelligence Community, his leadership philosophy, and his legacy in the IC as he prepares to retire.


During this event, Haines presented Sharp with the George Washington Spymaster Award, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. Intelligence Community.


As Haines introduced Sharp, she described him as “one of the most exceptional, talented, incredibly kind, and extraordinary leaders” she’s had the chance to work with.


“His integrity and his approach to the Intelligence Community is just nothing short of truly extraordinary,” said Haines.


Initially, Sharp planned to serve in the Navy for only two years which remarkably grew into a 34-year-career as a naval intelligence officer.


Sharp’s expertise and worldview has been refined by world events from the Cold War and counterterrorism operations in the Middle East to Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine, he said.


Sharp has been on multiple deployments, notably as the intelligence director of a Special Operations Task Force, leading joint, inter-agency intelligence professionals supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, and then serving as Commander, Office of Naval Intelligence and Director, National Maritime Intelligence-Integration Office.


As the discussion continued, Haines asked about his legacy and experience, lessons learned, and advice he could pass on.




Sharp focused on encouraging collaboration and transparency within the IC.


“Our partnerships are our strategic advantage,” he said. “I think we’re in a very positive place right now, from my perspective; the integration, collaboration and cooperation that’s going on right now amongst the members of the IC.”


Sharp emphasized the importance of investing in people to make them the very best at what they do and creating an environment where employees are contributing ideas and being empowered to innovate.


“Every day is an opportunity to grow yourself as a leader,” he said.


He talked about being a, "happy leader," further explaining, “there’s a lot in this business (Department of Defense and IC) you don’t get to choose. Your day just kind of happens to you. But, you do get to choose your attitude. And your attitude is infectious, especially as a leader.”


Sharp will retire in May passing on the baton to the next director, Vice Adm. Frank D. Whitworth III.