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Intelligence Community Awards Ceremony

George Tenet, Director of Central Intelligence,
Intelligence Community Awards Ceremony

December 11, 1997

Good morning. I am delighted to be here at this celebration today to recognize the achievements of the outstanding members and organizations that comprise the Intelligence Community. I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome the families of our award recipients. You are part of the larger Intelligence Community family and I want you to know that we could not do our jobs without you. Your unfailing support for your loved ones made long hours--and in some cases days and months away from home--more bearable.

You are the back bone of any accomplishments we may individually or collectively achieve during the course of our careers. In the pursuit of what we do each and every day, we have an obligation to take care of you and to love you.

I want the loved ones, friends, and family of those honored today to know that we are honoring you today as well -- and that you have our respect and our admiration for your sacrifice.

So, at this moment, I would ask the rest of us to show you our gratitude and feeling with a round of applause.

When I was sworn-in as Director of Central Intelligence earlier this year, I laid out five core missions of the Intelligence Community.

We are:

  • Working to protect the lives of Americans everywhere.

  • Working to protect our men and women in uniform and ensure that they dominate the battlefield whenever they are called and wherever they are deployed.

  • Protecting Americans from threats posed by terrorists, drug traffickers, and weapons of mass destruction.

  • Providing our diplomats with the critical insights and foreknowledge they need to advance American interests and avert conflicts.

  • And, finally, we are focusing not just on threats but also on opportunities -- opportunities to act before danger becomes disaster and opportunities to create circumstances favorable to American interests.

All of those receiving awards today have made significant contributions to these core missions. They include:

  • The collection of strategic counternarcotics intelligence that will help stem the flow of narcotics into the United States;

  • New and innovative training programs that have enhanced our language capabilities in hard target areas; and,

  • Technical collection initiatives that have improved our force protection capabilities in Bosnia.

Through the hard work and dedication of the individuals being recognized here today, we have advanced operational and analytic tradecraft, created new collection architectures, and enhanced our counterintelligence capabilities. Quite simply, you are the embodiment of what our mission has always been: to be the Nation's first line of defense.

As you know, the Central Intelligence Agency recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. During that celebration, we honored those who founded the Agency, the many retirees who contributed so much of their lives to America's security, and those who carry on today. Those of you receiving Intelligence Community awards today are an extension of that same spirit, and your work has allowed our U.S. Intelligence Community to enter our second fifty years confident that we will successfully meet tomorrow's challenges.

Much remains to be done, however. We must continue the work you have started to better position ourselves to meet the challenges that face us. We must continue to drive innovation and modernization. We must find the right balance of resources to attack the difficult threats we face. We must adapt our organizations to take on new tasks efficiently and effectively. At the end of the day, we know that intelligence adds value and saves lives. Policymakers, military leaders, diplomats and law enforcement officials deserve the best possible support from their Intelligence Community and I am confident we will meet the challenge.

In closing, let me say I salute your integrity, commitment, and dedication. I salute your deep devotion to our country. By keeping an unrelenting focus on some of the most important threats to our country and taking risks to get critical information to our nation's leaders, you have set a shining example for future intelligence officers.

Finally, I have two requests to make of everyone in this auditorium. First, take care of each other -- those that work with you and for you. As a community we have always reached out to others in their hour of need. If we take care of each other, we will not fail. Second, as the holidays approach -- take time with your families, children, parents and loved ones. Honor them in the way they deserve -- show them the love and care that they show us each and every day.

God bless you all and thank you.

Posted: Apr 03, 2007 08:56 PM
Last Updated: Apr 03, 2007 08:56 PM