Remarks of Central Intelligence Agency Director
Gen. Michael V. Hayden, USAF
at the February 26, 2007
Senior Intelligence Service Promotion Ceremony
(as prepared for delivery)
February 26, 2007
Good morning. With all the new officers coming into our Agency, we decided
it would be a wise move to promote some new executives as well. That's
why it's my great pleasure to welcome 52 exceptionally capable men and
women into the ranks of our Senior Intelligence Service.
also like to welcome their families and friends. Thanks for coming to
Headquarters, and thanks for cheering on those who mean so much to
you—and so much to us, too. You can be very proud of them. It's never
been easy to become an SIS officer, and the criteria are getting
tougher all the time—we're paying a lot closer attention to foreign
language ability, experience in other Directorates and Agencies, things
So if any of our new SISers are playing down
the significance of their promotion, you'll know better. Each of our
inductees had to have a lot of intellectual firepower, strong expertise
in his or her field, and a natural talent for leadership to make the
cut. This is a very impressive group, and I'm honored to welcome them
It's worth taking a moment or two to contemplate
what it means to become an SIS officer. For me, the military equivalent
was achieving flag rank. I always saw it in terms of being trusted
enough to have stewardship of a national treasure—whether it was a
small office or an entire Agency.
When you've earned a
senior Federal rank, you're struck by the degree to which the American
people trust you to look after their interests. It's an enormous
responsibility. It's as if you're being told, “You've proven to us that
you're worthy of safeguarding part of the national patrimony—take good
care of it. And make sure it's better than it was when you pass it to
At our Agency, that whole concept of
public trust, of responsibility, of stepping forward to lead, is
invested with a deeper sense of virtue. You're certainly not doing it
for public recognition—that just isn't in the cards. The salary is a
bit higher, but you won't see the kind of bonuses executives get in
private industry. You don't get a fancy title—people still call you by
your first name. And, unlike the military, you don't get a star or a
When I came to NSA as Director, there had been a
longstanding tradition that officers in the Senior Executive
Service—it's S-E-S there, not S-I-S—had flags on their badges. Well, we
decided to take the flags off.
For one thing, a badge at
NSA has the same purpose as one at CIA—it's a form of ID that gets you
in the door. It's not a symbol of rank. So from that standpoint, an
executive's badge should be the same as that of a junior officer.
that, embellishing a badge to show seniority seemed to trivialize what
it means to be a member of the Senior Executive Service. If you want to
adorn your badge with a custom lanyard, that's one thing. Personally,
I'd go with a black and gold Steelers one if I could. But an executive
officer is best distinguished by simply being a good leader, and by
faithfully serving the Republic.
As SIS officers, you
embody the “One Agency, One Community” spirit behind our Strategic
Intent. You might work in a particular Directorate, but you serve our
Agency, and the Intelligence Community as well. You were chosen for the
SIS in part because you've excelled at assignments throughout CIA,
you've taken our corporate interests to heart, and we've judged that
you will be both a superior leader and a careful custodian of this
The tense of that last sentence is important: “you will
be” all these things. An SIS officer gets chosen not as a reward for
past service, but to give our Agency the benefit of your outstanding
promise, whether as an executive manager or substantive expert.
background, your experience, your training, and your skill complement
those of your colleagues and will enable CIA to deliver on our
pledge—our obligation—to defend our country and protect its interests
worldwide. As an SIS officer, you are prepared to serve wherever you
are directed, in whatever capacity best serves our Agency and our
That's our expeditionary mentality—our
willingness to go wherever our mission takes us. It's something we've
always had as an Agency, and it's a quality we must foster and
strengthen if we're going to live up to what the American people expect
Our expeditionary mentality implies agility in
adapting to the needs of a given mission. We should always be ready to
adjust fire as necessary. If operating from an Embassy just won't cut
it, we must be able to quickly come up with a more creative and
effective platform. And above all, an expeditionary mentality means
taking calculated risks. Without that, an intelligence service loses
its identity—and certainly its effectiveness.
of creative flexibility and risk tolerance applies not only to our
officers serving in the National Clandestine Service, who steal the
secrets critical to our national security. It relates to the work of
- It applies to our
analysts, who must not only comprehend the world as it is, but make
those leaps of insight needed to anticipate the opportunities and
dangers that lie ahead for our policymakers.
applies to our support officers, who lay the foundation for every
success, and are adept at giving us a foothold anywhere in the world on
- And it applies to our science and technology officers, whose genius for doing what our enemies thought impossible is legendary.
individual assignments will carry their own particular challenges, but
there are some broad tests of leadership that we'll all share during
this critical chapter in the life of our Agency. Now I know every
Director probably says that sort of thing at these ceremonies—that this
is a pivotal time for CIA—but in this case, it's acutely true.
fortunate that our challenges are those of a healthy, thriving Agency.
You've heard the figures. We had more than 130,000 applications last
year. And we're growing at a tremendous rate—about one seventh of this
Agency was hired in the past 12 months. Forty percent of our entire
workforce has started here since 11 September 2001. That is truly
amazing growth, unprecedented in CIA's history.
bringing the right kind of people on board, too. It's a diverse group
with talents, languages, and experiences we can immediately apply to
the big challenges we face, like the war on terrorism.
it also creates intense torque and stress. One seventh of our Agency
with no more than a year's experience requires an awful lot of coaching
and mentoring. And you've seen all that media hype about how young
adults today like to job hop? It's not happening, at least at CIA.
attrition rate in Fiscal Year '05 for officers who had been with the
Agency for five years or less was about six percent. In FY '07, we're
on track for a rate of less than three percent. More of our junior
officers are deciding to stay, and our Agency is becoming even larger
Bottom line: we need to bring people
along more quickly than ever before in terms of training, developing
expertise, building a strong sense of Agency identity, all those
things. We're attacking that problem in several different ways, and at
every career stage.
You've heard me talk about these
initiatives: the single onboarding process, programs like Analyst
Forward and slots for full-time academic leave, our Leadership
Development Initiative, and a relentless emphasis—especially for our
first- and second-line managers—on teaching and mentoring. That's on
top of our excellent and very rigorous occupational training programs.
And there will be more to come.
We simply have to get
this right, or the leadership five, 10, or 15 years from now will have
to clean up after us. If we succeed in giving our junior officers a
solid grounding while tending to all the other imperatives—internal and
external integration, strengthening core competencies, improving IT and
infrastructure, and all the other elements of our Strategic Intent—we
will have set a healthy course for CIA for at least a decade.
as I said back in early January, we've got the trajectory—what we need
now is velocity. You'll help generate it through your skill and hard
work. And I anticipate that a lot of it will come from the sheer energy
we get from having a lot of new people coming into workforce, many of
them quite young.
This influx poses a challenge, as I've
said, but it also opens up tremendous possibilities for our Agency. It
makes it a lot easier for us to forge ahead in terms of
transformational initiatives, because people who are new to any
organization are naturally a lot more receptive to change.
for the men and women of this Agency, there's a lot of blue sky. Our
relatively youthful workforce, the preeminence of intelligence in
dealing with the threats our nation faces, and our corporate policies
that reward outstanding performance—like ending time-in-grade—give our
people a great prospect for advancement, and for making a real
difference. The level of opportunity at our Agency is as good as it's
ever been, if not better.
The fact is, we're finally
getting around to meeting the demands of the future—things like
infrastructure, leadership development, succession planning, and all
the other necessities for keeping our Agency competent, collaborative,
and central. And while those issues might appear to be several
ridgelines down the battlefield, we've got to address them now. And we
are. When the Action Plan for our Strategic Intent comes out at the end
of next month, that's when the heavy lifting will really begin.
course, we're at war, too. That's the defining fact of life for CIA.
We're not going to get a break on the nonstop operational tempo, so
it's going to get even busier around here as we get into the thick of
implementing our Strategic Intent.
But that's what we must do if we're going to pass this Agency along to our successors as the national treasure it's always been.
William Donovan once said of the nucleus of talent that would become
our forerunner organization, the OSS , “This is no place for a guy
bound by the law of averages.”
Given the exceptional men and women we're honoring today, neither is CIA.
to each of our new SIS officers: thank you. Thanks for stepping forward
to help lead this great Agency, and thanks for contributing your
formidable strengths to defending our nation. Well done, all of you.