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DoD Intelligence Nominee Envisions Role in Policy, Not Analysis

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 28, 2007 – Intelligence analysis is best left to the organizations set up for that purpose, President Bush’s nominee to be the next undersecretary of defense for intelligence told the Senate Armed Services Committee at his confirmation hearing here yesterday.

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James A. Clapper Jr. said neither the person in the position for which he’s been nominated nor “nonintelligence agencies” should analyze intelligence.

“I think that the position, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, … should play an important resource and policy and oversight role, but should not engage in analysis issues,” he said.

Clapper added that he agrees with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates that intelligence analysis for DoD should be done by “institutions officially charged with doing so,” such as the Defense Intelligence Agency and the CIA.

He also said ad hoc analytic cells bear watching.

“In prior incumbencies I’ve encountered those kinds of efforts,” he said, “and if I were the responsible intelligence official, (I) would want to engage them … to determine what the purpose was and what it is that was not being satisfied by the established intelligence institutions.”

The retired three-star general told the committee his experience would help him ensure DoD intelligence efforts meet the department’s needs while conforming with the nation’s new organizational structure under the national director for intelligence.

“It is a concern,” he acknowledged. “And having served in combat at the tactical level, having served as (an intelligence officer in a joint organization) three times, having served as a service intelligence chief once and having served as a director of a national agency embedded in DoD, as well as the Defense Intelligence Agency, I think I have some background and experience to examine all dimensions of that issue.

“And when it comes down to it,” he continued, “it's a balance that has to be struck between the competing fiefdoms, if you will.”

Clapper said he recognizes the challenges that await him if he’s confirmed.

“I regard the position of undersecretary of intelligence in DoD as a sacred trust, particularly now with so many of our magnificent men and women in uniform in harm's way in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. “I served two combat tours during the Southeast Asian conflict, so I do know what it's like to get shot at. And I understand how intelligence can literally be a matter of life and death.”

Clapper said he welcomes congressional oversight of DoD’s intelligence efforts.

“In the quarter century or so that I have dealt with the Congress in various capacities,” he said, “I've come to believe strongly in the need for congressional oversight, particularly over intelligence activities, which, for obvious reasons, cannot be fully transparent to the public at large. That places, I think, an even greater burden on intelligence leaders to ensure that the Congress is appropriately informed.”

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