Director of National Intelligence Congratulates Graduates
By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jul. 26, 2013 The presidentially appointed leader of America’s intelligence community emphasized integrated effort as he spoke to hundreds of new National Intelligence University graduates today.
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper addressed graduates receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees in intelligence, strategic intelligence and science and technology intelligence during a ceremony held at a local community college campus so families could attend.
NIU’s students hold top-secret clearances and the school’s main campus is part of Defense Intelligence Agency headquarters at Joint Base Anacostia Bolling in Washington D.C., with graduate and academic centers located with the National Security Agency and National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.
“The NIU's become a worldwide respected institution with a dynamic and visionary strategic plan,” Clapper said. “But it's not all pie in the sky. You're actually integrating intelligence, which is a big thing to me, one student at a time. And that's precisely what the [intelligence community] needs from this institution and from you as graduates. So I salute you all for that.”
Overall, the intelligence community includes 17 executive branch agencies and organizations. They work both independently and collaboratively to, as the community mission statement reads, “collect and convey the essential information the president and members of the policymaking, law enforcement, and military communities require to execute their appointed duties.”
Clapper noted that it’s an exciting time for the intelligence community, and the nation faces more diverse threats than he’s seen in half a century. “We live with threats from terrorism, nuclear proliferation, cyber, and competition over natural resources,” the director said. He said responding to such a range of risks “calls for integration both horizontally, if you will, across the so-called stovepipes, and vertically, [with] now the added responsibility we have for attending to state and local and tribal partners.”
Shrinking budgets and sequestration have added to the danger, Clapper said, “because it's not realistic to think that we can ever do more with less. We're going to do less with less. We'll just have to identify and manage risks more closely than ever before.”
The intelligence community’s people, he added, “have the ingenuity, the drive and the innovation to figure out ways to get around and obviate and mitigate these reductions.”
Clapper noted the recent unauthorized disclosures of classified National Security Agency programs point up another challenge.
“The recent NSA leaks drama crystallizes some conflicting demands on us as intel professionals,” the director said. “A need to safeguard our citizens' lives, a duty to share intelligence information, a responsibility to protect sensitive sources and methods and an imperative to protect Americans' civil liberties and privacy. And we must synchronize [and] meld all of these competing forces simultaneously.”
He added, “And we should preferably do it out of the limelight and for us that's satisfaction enough.”
Graduates at today’s ceremony included enlisted and commissioned service members; agents from the FBI and military criminal investigation offices; State Department officers and representatives from other agencies.
NIU is a federal institution and the only university in the nation that allows its students to study and complete research in the Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmentalized Information arena. NIU graduates have served as directors of the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and National Geospatial Intelligence Agency; service and combatant command intelligence chiefs; the director of national intelligence and other posts.