Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen has appointed retired Lt. Gen. Charles J. Cunningham Jr. as the director of the Defense Security Service, effective Nov. 8, 1999. He has been the acting director of DSS since June 7, 1999.
Prior to this assignment, Cunningham held several positions in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence) from September 1998 until his appointment in February 1999 as deputy assistant secretary of Defense (Intelligence.)
Cunningham served for 33 years in the U.S. Air Force. Upon retirement from the service, he joined Mowell Financial Group and Reflectone Inc., as the assistant to the Chairman of the Board. He subsequently became president and chief operating officer of Reflectone. Later he was tapped to be the director of the Center for Ethics in the College of Business at the University of Tampa.
In January 1991, Cunningham started his second career with the Department of Defense as the commandant of the Defense Intelligence College (now renamed the Joint Military Intelligence College) of the Defense Intelligence Agency. In October 1994, he became the chief, DIA Liaison at the National Defense Headquarters, Ottawa, Canada. He then moved in October 1997 to the position of the DIA senior regional representative in Europe and served there until September 1998.
In addition to numerous military awards, Cunningham was presented the Presidential Rank of Meritorious Executive in October 1994 and the Defense Intelligence Director's Award in August 1997.
The Defense Security Service is responsible for personnel security investigations within the Department of Defense, managing the defense portion of the national security industrial program and conducting personnel security research activities.