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CIA Director's Remarks on Strategic Intent 2007-2011

Remarks to Employees by Central Intelligence Agency
Director General Michael V. Hayden on Strategic Intent 2007-2011
(as prepared for delivery)


January 4, 2007


Good afternoon and Happy New Year. I wanted to get together today because the start of a new year is the perfect time to talk about where we want to go as an Agency. Not only for this year, but for a few years to come.

We sent each of you a copy of our Strategic Intent the week before Christmas. I hope you've had a chance to read it closely. As we take action, as an Agency, to implement our goals, that document will have a profound impact on everyone at CIA.


Strategic Intent Overview

I see Strategic Intent as a clear, concise expression of who we are as an organization, the challenges we face, and our strategic goals.

It defines our mission. We are America's first line of defense. Put bluntly, we accomplish what others can't. We collect decisive intelligence, produce timely and insightful analysis, and conduct covert action to preempt threats and advance our nation's interests.

It declares our core values: Service, Integrity, Excellence. These are what we live and breathe, so it seems almost redundant to put them in writing. But these values inform our Intent as much as anything else.

First, there's Service—we put Country first and Agency before self. We pride ourselves on our unique and vital contributions to the strength and safety of the American people.

Second, Integrity—we seek and speak the truth. We want to be worthy of the great officers who came before us, and of our colleagues. Ours is an organization that runs on trust.

And third, Excellence—we must always hold ourselves, and each other, to the highest standards. And we must constantly reflect on our performance, learning from both our successes and our failures.

Our Strategic Intent also outlines the global environment we face and our nation's expectations. As intelligence officers, we confront a truly revolutionary period in global history, and a long war against terrorism.

Our customers, from the President on down, never have needed us more—not only to help combat known threats, but to identify hidden dangers and opportunities in this volatile era.

The American people look to us to protect them and to uphold and defend the Constitution. They expect us to operate largely in secret, but to do so in keeping with their values. That's a social contract we must always honor. In this spirit, we'll post our Strategic Intent on our public Web site as well.

So to keep that contract, succeed in our mission, live up to our American values, and remain the best in the world at what we do, our Strategic Intent lists the broad goals we need to accomplish.

We arrived at these 22 objectives after months of careful consideration and with your involvement—which was crucial if they were to be relevant and truly corporate. We received hundreds of comments and I want to thank everyone who stepped forward with ideas.

Our goals fall under five categories.

The first is integration. Integration of our great strengths as an Agency, integration with the Community, and working more closely with our foreign partners. This is the overarching theme of our Strategic Intent.

Next is fulfillment of our leadership role in the Community. I want all of you to know that the DNI asked us to add that goal. It is clear that CIA will maintain and build on its role as a Community leader. We've been given a mandate on HUMINT and open source collection. We will be the standard bearer on analytical tradecraft, and we will take the lead on coordinating foreign intelligence relationships.

The third category is strengthening core capabilities. Integration only pays off if the parts that are brought together are as strong as they can be. We will expand and deepen expertise across all our mission areas—analysis, espionage, covert action, as well as science and technology. And we'll need a support structure that makes it all possible.

Fourth, we will invest in our people. We want to recruit, develop, and retain exceptional officers from a diverse pool of talent. The single most important objective for our Agency's future is to offer our aspiring managers the training and experience they need to be effective leaders.

Fifth, we will create a 21 st century infrastructure. Given our mission, state-of-the-art IT isn't just nice to have—it's an existential necessity. We also need to modernize and expand our physical infrastructure and ensure we can stay in business under the most adverse conditions.

So we know where we want to go as an Agency. The tricky part lies in getting there. Today we kick off that second phase of our initiative, which will be far more complicated and labor intensive.


Steps Already Taken

We're not beginning from a standing start. We've already taken steps to advance the goals of our Strategic Intent, especially when it comes to integrating our Agency and investing in our people.

The Operations Center is a good example. An ops center is the nucleus of any intelligence service. Our business is all about information, and that's where it all comes together. That's why I hold staff meetings there every week.

It always surprised me that CIA didn't actually have a single ops center. There was a place everyone called the “Ops Center,” but in fact it had a wall down the middle, with the DI on one side and the NCS on the other. That is no longer the case—as of last week, we tore down that wall.

We now have a truly integrated CIA Operations Center, where all the Directorates, as well as the Open Source Center, are represented. Also, in keeping with our commitment to integration across the Community, officers from NSA and NGA work right alongside CIA officers there.

Our new Ops Center is very important for both its practical and symbolic effect, and I see it as an ideal proving ground for our future leaders.

I've also approved the formation of a new Clandestine Communications Center, which will bring together in one place all the elements that now handle the various forms of sensitive comms. It'll be another significant move toward greater cohesion and integration. The new center will be part of the S&T, with a director from the National Clandestine Service and two deputies, one from the S&T and one from Support.

We've revitalized the Covert Action Review Group and have placed it under Deputy Director Steve Kappes' direct supervision. The Group is addressing the challenges facing this critical mission area for our Agency.

Another important step we've taken is to give the Center for the Study of Intelligence a key role in fostering a common Agency culture and in creating a central repository for lessons learned from across CIA.

Beginning this month, Carmen Medina will guide CSI, with its deep understanding of our Agency's history and tradecraft, in performing these critical services—again, to forge greater integration and to improve our core capabilities.

We've also taken steps to bring our Agency family closer together, from newly arrived EODs to our retired colleagues. I hosted a cocktail reception for our new hires back in November, and that's going to become a tradition.

At the same time, we're reaching out to our retirees, whose wisdom and insight are so important to this organization. I've sent notes to them over the Web on what we're trying to achieve, and members of our leadership team have spoken directly to meetings of their regional associations.

As I said at Family Day back in September, the well being of our families is a top priority for Jeanine and me. Groups like our Family Advisory Board and Family Support Unit have made a real difference with their initiatives on behalf of our families, both here and overseas.

We started the Leadership Development Initiative to bring a corporate approach to building a deep bench of highly skilled and effective leaders. I'm excited by the prospect of what the LDI will do for our Agency's future. As part of our focus on developing and assessing Agency leaders, we will soon start the process by which every SIS officer will receive feedback from people above and below them, as well as their peers.

I established an External Advisory Board consisting of distinguished members of industry, academia, and government—people like former C/JCS Dick Myers, Dr. John Hamre, Carly Fiorina, and others with a tradition of service to our country. The Board will be meeting for the second time next week.

On the Seventh Floor, we have created a more responsive and corporate leadership structure. We've established the Corporate Governance Board and the Performance Review Board, as well as the Office of Policy and Corporate Coordination.

Key Agency officers, including the CIO, CFO, and C/HR are now direct reports to me and, most importantly, they are empowered as never before to set policy across Directorates. Among other things, they will help CIA's leadership team to focus more effectively on concrete initiatives to implement our Strategic Intent.

Working more closely with our foreign partners has been another major focus of ours—CIA must play the lead role in leveraging foreign services for intelligence critical to our national security. In my first month, I was on the phone to some three dozen of my counterparts. I've visited eight countries so far, and I intend to visit nine more in the next three months.

So that's what we've already done to address the goals embodied in our Strategic Intent. Today, I'd like to announce ten specific actions to give its implementation a head start.


New Initiatives

First, to foster integration, I want to see a single onboarding process for the entire Agency. Our new officers will EOD together regardless of Directorate, and my intent is to have groups of new employees stay together longer than they do right now. This will help us emphasize the concept of a unified Agency as clearly and as early as possible in every CIA career.

Second, we will eliminate time in grade as a requirement for promotion. Advancement at CIA will depend entirely on performance and potential, as measured against a defined set of criteria for each occupation.

Third, beginning with those who are currently GS-11s and below, we will require cross-directorate assignments before they can be promoted to GS-15. This dovetails with our requirement that all SIS candidates take a Community rotation in order to be promoted.

Fourth, I want to shift more intell dissemination to the Web. We'll have an integrated Agency brand on JWICS, SIPRNet, and unclassified networks. I'm intrigued by what the DI WIRe has been able to achieve, and it's clear that this is the way of the future.

Fifth is our Analysts Forward initiative. I've talked to Deputy Director for Intelligence John Kringen about placing more of our analysts in overseas positions, where they not only have a front-row seat for their accounts, but can accumulate regional expertise at an accelerated rate.

Sixth, we plan to move much more of our applications development off-site, into commercial workspaces that require SECRET clearances instead of TOP SECRET. This will give us access to a large and innovative pool of talent and will likely save us money, too. Our first effort on this front, IStudio, will begin operations by early summer.

Seventh, as an investment in our people, we will place 200 slots under my control that will be used for full-time internal and external training —whether for professional development, a degree, or whatever best serves our mission. This will ease the burden on our Directorates to cover for their people in training, and ensure that our Agency is meeting its corporate responsibility to develop a workforce that is second to none.

Eighth, I take my responsibility as National HUMINT manager very seriously. I've asked the NCS to establish a governing body that I will chair on a quarterly basis that will include the leaders of the HUMINT community from across the IC and the US military. I expect to chair the first of these in the first quarter of this year and expect us to tackle issues associated with tradecraft, as well as coordination and deconfliction of our activities.

Ninth, we're going to reestablish a senior Agency leadership position for counterintelligence—an. This officer will oversee offensive and defensive CI programs within the NCS; be responsible for Agency-wide CI; and represent us on CI issues within the Community, across the Executive Branch, and with Congress. Counterintelligence is too critical an issue not to have a senior member of our leadership team committed to it 24/7.

Tenth, we will create a small Office of Strategy Management that will serve as advocate and guardian of our Strategic Intent. The office will make sure that our budget and policies are in line with our strategic goals as an Agency, and that our Intent is aligned with the National Intelligence Strategy. Every major corporation has an entity like this. Here at CIA, it will be staffed by officers who might someday lead the organization, and it will report directly to Associate Deputy Director Michael Morell, Steve and me.

The initiatives I've outlined are just a start. In fact, there's very little that isn't on the table for discussion.

Beyond what I've mentioned, we're considering a wide range of actions, like rethinking the role that career services play in the Agency, and creating an Agency-wide Monster.com-style employment website. We're also looking again at information sharing within CIA, and I expect some fundamental changes in things like how we define “need to know” and what accesses and information an individual can carry from one job to the next throughout his or her career.


Moving Forward

I've asked Michael to put together an Action Plan by the end of March listing specific steps—with deadlines—that will transform our 22 goals into reality.

There will be five teams, he aded by the Deputies in each of our Directorates. T he teams will work across Directorate lines to find ways for us to meet every goal in our Strategic Intent.

The teams will address: integration; Community leadership; strengthening our core capabilities; investing in our people; and infrastructure. In essence, these teams will be integration in action.

It's at this stage in our strategic planning that your input is most important. Please think hard about the kind of organization you want CIA to be, and give us your best ideas. Send them to “Ask the Director” on CIALink, just as you did during the first phase of this project.

This is not a paper exercise. Once finalized, our Action Plan will be the document against which we measure our progress toward each goal . Every quarter, I will chair a PRB that assesses where we are and what needs to be done to meet our objectives on time. CIA managers' goals and objectives will reflect their responsibility to implement our strategic goals.

Every component will align their office's goals to our Strategic Intent. And ultimately, every single employee's performance will be judged by their individual contributions toward reaching our collective goals. Everyone will be in sync. One Agency, working together toward one mission.

Our Strategic Intent will drive our budget during the next five years. We will realign our resources to meet our priorities.

No doubt some of these changes will be disruptive at first. But that's an acceptable price to pay in the short term for a CIA that is more capable and agile in the long term.


Final Thoughts

Having discussed both the outlines of our Strategic Intent and some of its specifics, I'm eager to hear your questions and comments.

But before I open the floor, I want to underscore again exactly why we are pursuing this comprehensive—and very challenging—effort to set a strategic course for CIA.

I have told you many times how impressed I am with the work you do each and every day. Nothing makes me prouder as your Director than to say that the courage, skill and urgency with which you met the challenge of 9/11 endures to this day.

You've kept up an operational tempo unmatched in CIA's history, and you have done extraordinary things to protect our Homeland from another attack.

It is also true, however, that the operational demands of the recent past too often limited the time and energy CIA had to address the demands of the future.

We've gotten away with it for a few years—and for very good reasons—but no organization can thrive indefinitely without tending to strategic imperatives. Things like infrastructure, career development, succession planning and the constant push of our core capabilities to their highest level—these are the things that will enable us to maintain our operational pace and achieve success for years and years to come.

That's why what we're doing here is so important.

You and I know there's no way we can take an operational pause. Our first priority—head and shoulders above all others—is to do everything we can to protect the nation.

In other words, the effort we put into implementing our Strategic Intent will be a net gain in terms of the sheer amount of work we have to do as an Agency. Make no mistake—we'll all be a lot busier in the next year.

But the return on that effort is nothing less than the Agency we want to be—an intelligence service that is the model for all others, more closely integrated both internally and with our Community and foreign partners, even further ahead of the competition in expertise and technology, and absolutely worthy of the great Republic we serve.

So now let me turn it over to you.


Historical Document
Posted: Apr 03, 2007 09:02 PM
Last Updated: Oct 21, 2008 01:37 PM