DCI Speech at National Defense University
June 14, 1995
It is a pleasure for me to be here today. I think the invitation to address you came when I was Deputy Secretary of Defense. And much to my surprise, and perhaps to your surprise, I am here as the Director of Central Intelligence.
Nevertheless, it makes a good deal of sense. I know there are many members of the Intelligence Community here, as members of the classes. It reflects what has been a growing, laudable trend to integrate more and more of the higher level interagency, and I might say international, education and professional development experiences of a broader group.
I participated in literally dozens of graduation ceremonies when I was dean of science and when I was provost at MIT. It always gives me a positive feeling about what the future has to bring, and what accomplishments have occurred for the students -- and their families -- who have taken part in the educational programs.
Here, though, it is a particularly unique ceremony because all of you are individuals who are, if history is any judge, going to become leaders -- leaders in your professional, military, diplomatic, or intelligence areas in each of your nations, and certainly in the United States. So this may be the most distinguished class that I have ever had the opportunity to address. I want you to know that I hope you find the greatest professional and personal advancement and satisfaction during your forthcoming careers. And I am very pleased to be here on this very wonderful day.
The last time I spoke at the National Defense University, I was Deputy Secretary of Defense, and I tried to address the question, "Are we spending enough on defense?" I suggested at the time that that was the wrong question, if one is really interested in an answer about what the defense strategy and defense programs should be for this country in the post-Cold War world.
This time, I appear as the Director of Central Intelligence, and once again I would like to suggest to you that there is a question that is being discussed that is diverting us from proper attention to what intelligence should be doing in the post-Cold War era. The wrong question really, as always, is an oversimplification. It's a question which begins, "Do we need an Intelligence Community? Do we need the Central Intelligence Agency in the post-Cold War world?" That question is raised by a variety of people for different reasons. Some of those people are honestly interested in trying to discover how to save resources after the Cold War; for others, it reflects a frustration about some of the highly publicized failures that have occurred in the Intelligence Community, such as Rick Ames, causing them to think that maybe we don't need intelligence after all.
I believe that there is no question about the fact that this country needs a modern, effective, and highly sophisticated Intelligence Community and a Central Intelligence Agency to defend this nation and its allies against the new, complicated threats that we face after the Cold War.
We do have an entirely different set of threats than was true in the bi-polar era of the Cold War, when it was the United States and its allies facing the Soviet Union and the prospect at any time of a nuclear holocaust. It is a highly different set of threats that will occupy us and probably our children for some time to come. And I will try to tell you today why my reasoning leads me to the conclusion that sophisticated intelligence is part of the policy response that we need in our continuing efforts to promote peace and democracy throughout the world.
It becomes only a substantive subject about how you meet those intelligence needs once you have identified them in supporting national purposes.
Let me first address what the threats are. They are well known to you who have been studying here during the past year. They have been enumerated by the Department of Defense, in the bottom-up review started by my friend, Secretary Aspin, who recently passed away. Let me review what those threats are in the post-Cold War era -- the essential threats to national security, from the perspective of the United States and of this Administration.
- The first is the possibility of major regional conflicts -- whether they occur as they did in Iraq, or whether they occur in North Korea or elsewhere in the world.
- The second is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction -- nuclear, chemical, biological weapons and the methods of their delivery.
- The third is dealing with vexing, lesser regional conflicts that continue to involve our armed forces in different parts of the world, and the armed forces of our close allies -- whether we are speaking of Haiti, Somalia, or Bosnia.
- And fourth, I would mention that we still have to concern ourselves with potential instability in the states of the former Soviet Union. There are plenty of prospects to try to work toward stability, but also we have to be on guard for things developing in an unanticipated and unexpected way.
These are the essential national security threats, but there are also major reasons for intelligence in this country. There are pressing needs to support, by intelligence, the formulation of policy -- to support the President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, on the wide range of issues involving very broadly our diplomacy, our trade policy, law enforcement, economic policies, and the like.
I would like to say what I think the objectives are for intelligence, and then turn to the subject of the connection between intelligence and defense -- one of the most important parts of our intelligence effort, and one which has occupied me both as Deputy Secretary of Defense and now as Director of Central Intelligence.
Let me just briefly mention the four purposes of intelligence in a post-Cold War era.
The primary mission of the Intelligence Community is to assure that the President and the other leaders of the nation have the best information available before making decisions -- before making diplomatic, military, or economic decisions that influence our lives and our welfare.
-- If we as a Community want to have that intelligence considered carefully by policy leaders and employed by them in sharpening their decision process, we have to maintain an unassailable reputation for objectivity -- an unassailable reputation for unvarnished treatment of the facts, never allowing ourselves to tailor our analysis to meet some policy conclusion that may be of convenience to one of our leaders at one time or another. If we do so, it will quickly destroy our credibility. The principal goal and mission that I have as the chief intelligence officer of our country is to make sure that the President has the best information available before he makes a decision.
- The second major new objective for intelligence concerns dealing with the growing problems of international terrorism, international crime, and international drug trafficking. Good intelligence can help avert tragedies associated with these criminal activities. The growing interrelationship of these phenomena -- and the growing interrelationship on an international basis between drugs, crime, and terrorism -- poses a very severe threat to our security and the security of our allies. We must devote attention to that threat.
- The third major objective for intelligence concerns counterintelligence -- making sure that our national security apparatus is not penetrated by agents of foreign powers seeking to undermine our security and discover our secrets. The most recent example we need to pay attention to is the Ames case, and it is a matter that will occupy me greatly as Director of Central Intelligence.
- Finally, I come to the fourth objective -- the one that I will address in more detail. That is the critical mission of providing effective support to military operations. More than ever before, this is necessary. The Intelligence Community must be clearly focused on the needs of the warfighter and the ability to support military operations.
I am pleased to say that a lot of good work has been done in this direction for quite a period of time. For example, former DCI Gates in 1992 established within the Central Intelligence Agency an Office of Military Affairs, designed to make a closer connection between the unified and specified commanders, the services, and the Central Intelligence Agency and the rest of the Intelligence Community. There is evidence that the CIA has done much better in supporting military operations -- in Somalia, in Haiti, and even in the humanitarian action in Rwanda.
We have made an effort to place senior intelligence officers within military commands, close to senior officers who are required to carry out military operations.
I intend to take this process further -- and I do so with the knowledge of a relationship between the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community that has not always been the best. But with Bill Perry as Secretary of Defense, and with me as Director of Central Intelligence, I think we have a unique opportunity to make this connection between intelligence and support to military operations even closer. I have appointed Rear Admiral Denny Blair to the new position of Associate Director of Central Intelligence, to be responsible for all aspects of our support to military operations, and to be the single person responsible for relationships between the Intelligence Community and the armed forces. He will be the single point of contact between me, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the CINC users of intelligence. He will also be responsible for laying out a 5-year plan, very similar to the bottom-up review, to lay out exactly what the Community should be doing over time to assure that we have the programs in place to support our warfighters.
A singular purpose of this effort is to assure that we provide future military commanders with dominant battlefield awareness. That is a very great challenge that we face, both in the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community -- to assure that future military commanders have dominant battlefield awareness. It is my view -- and a view that I know is shared by Bill Perry, and the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs -- that the effectiveness of US military forces is critically dependent on military commanders having this dominant battlefield awareness. This means that imagery, signals, and human intelligence must be integrated and distributed in a timely fashion to battlefield commanders. The goal here is to give joint force commanders real- time, or near real-time, all-weather, comprehensive, continuous surveillance and information about the battlespace in which they operate. Advances in intelligence technologies will put this goal within reach, and it will be possible for commanders to have this kind of surveillance and information available to them. It is made possible, in large measure, by the information technology revolution, both in the commercial and military arenas.
Dominant battlefield awareness, if achieved, will reduce -- never totally eliminate -- the "fog of war," and provide you, the military commanders, with an unprecedented combat advantage. All of our efforts at analysis, at modeling and simulation, point to the tremendous tactical advantage that comes when one understands where the enemy is and where the targets are. If the enemy does not have similar information, it means a victory will come more rapidly, and therefore the casualties will be lower.
We had a vivid example of this last week, in the rescue of the heroic Captain O'Grady. Every element of our military intelligence service was out looking for signals from his radio. And while it took five days to find him -- with better equipment, better coordination, better training, it might have been less -- we were able to use information to rescue this one heroic individual. There is no country in the world, nor has there ever been a time, when we had such technological advantage to allow us to support a single pilot downed in an adverse circumstance and bring him back. That kind of use of technology is an example of what can be done to help commanders know what the situation is and can help them be successful.
We in the Intelligence Community can help support dominant battlefield awareness in a number of ways.
- First, we have to assure that we develop our techniques to support the customer, to support the military consumer, to worry about distribution, and to worry about serving a military commander, rather than to develop things that are mostly of interest to ourselves.
- Second, we have to assure that there is integration of information from all sources, not from individual technical means.
- Third, we have to assure that there is interoperability of information systems, so that there is rapid communication between commanders, analysts, and civilian national command authority.
One step that we are going to take to try and improve this is the establishment of a new agency to assure that all of our imagery efforts are brought together in one coherent way to serve the needs of the military commander. I have put in place a study that I hope will quickly lead to the creation of this national imagery agency as a way of assuring that the collection, analysis, and distribution of imagery will serve today's and tomorrow's warfighters.
In sum, in the coming months and years, we will be taking a wide range of measures to improve our intelligence support to the military. Good intelligence can help put our military forces at their full potential. This is particularly important at a time when we have a smaller military that is being asked to take on a number of different challenges in remote and unfamiliar areas of the world.
In my judgment, the military and the Intelligence Community have an opportunity today to continue working as a team to achieve incredible goals -- whether turning back two divisions of Saddam Hussein's elite Republican Guard at the border of Kuwait, as we did last fall; or finding that one downed pilot, as we did in Bosnia last week. We can provide better effectiveness, less loss of life, and greater achievement of our national goals if we work together.
The Intelligence Community has tremendous technical and human capabilities. I am committed to putting the power of these capabilities directly in the hands of you here today, now and in the future.
I want to thank you for the opportunity to address you. And I wish each one of you the best of luck, and to thank you for serving this great country.