News & Information

Rss Feed

D/CIA Highlights Accomplishments of Two Trailblazers

At a ceremony on Monday, September 19, 2011, Director David H. Petraeus recognized the accomplishments of two outstanding CIA officers, bringing to 70 the number of individuals honored as "Trailblazers," those whose legacy remains a key part of how the Agency does business. The term was first used during the CIA's Fiftieth Anniversary celebration in 1997, when Director George Tenet led a tribute to 50 officers--each a giant in the intelligence profession--who had profoundly influenced our Agency, our people, and our mission. Their service, their integrity, their courage, and their foresight ensured that the CIA could deliver on its duty to protect our nation.

Director Petraeus commented on the importance of the award at the ceremony. "Indeed, the title 'Trailblazer' is reserved for those whose impact, whose contributions to our Agency and to national security are truly extraordinary. In essence, in an organization defined by unique work and exceptional achievements, the work and achievements of these officers truly stand out. Our Trailblazers shaped the way we approach our mission now. And their legacies will continue to profoundly influence our strategies, methods, and operations well into the future."

Director Petraeus was honored to present this year's Trailblazer awards to the families of two great intelligence officers: Arthur Donahue and John McCone.


Arthur "Mick" Donahue, former DS&T Officer

Throughout his long career at CIA, Arthur “Mick” Donahue (1936–2004), a Technical Operations Officer with the Office of Technical Service, had an outsized impact on the Agency’s technical support to a broad range of complex intelligence requirements. Donahue spent 33 years with the CIA conducting and leading technical operations in support of intelligence collection, special operations, paramilitary programs, counterintelligence, counterterrorism, and counternarcotics operations. His remarkable achievements--providing the inspiration and innovation behind many of the most important and noteworthy technical operations of the late Cold War period, most of which remain classified--exemplify the qualities of a Trailblazer. Donahue's commitment to technical innovation, Intelligence Community engagement, robust target analysis, tradecraft, and the conduct of complex counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations continues to pay dividends today.


John McCone, former DCI

Intelligence professionals and scholars widely regard John McCone (1902-1991), the sixth Director of Central Intelligence (1961–1965), as among the most effective in the CIA’s history. He left a lasting legacy of achievement in science and technology, collection and analysis, management, and leadership. As Director, McCone oversaw the establishment of the Directorate of Science and Technology, perhaps his most far-reaching and enduring achievement. He also imposed greater accountability over covert actions, refocused the CIA's collection and analysis, instituted managerial changes that increased productivity, efficiency, and accountability, and preserved the Agency’s role in strategic reconnaissance at the dawn of the technological revolution in intelligence. When McCone left the Directorship, the CIA was in a markedly improved position in the US Government, with its reputation restored, its influence reestablished, its organization modernized, and its responsibilities and resources expanded. McCone drew on his own best qualities and those of the Agency professionals he led to bring the CIA back into the center of US intelligence and change it in ways that have endured for nearly half a century.


Related Stories and Links:

Historical Document
Posted: Sep 23, 2011 10:48 AM
Last Updated: Apr 30, 2013 12:55 PM