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Toward a Better Intelligence Community Relationship
Remarks by John Deutch, director of central intelligence, the National Defense University graduation, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C., , Wednesday, June 14, 1995

Thank you very much. It's a pleasure for me to be here today. I think the invitation to address you came when I was deputy secretary of defense. And much to my surprise, and perhaps to your surprise, I am here as director of central intelligence. But it nevertheless makes a good deal of sense.

I know there are many members of the intelligence community here, members in each of these classes. It reflects what has been a growing, and I think quite laudable, trend to integrate more and more of the higher level interagency, and I might say international educational and professional development, experiences into a broader group.

I have participated in literally dozens of graduation ceremonies when I was dean of science, when I was provost at MIT. It always gives me a certain feeling of -- a positive air of what the future has to bring, and what accomplishments have occurred for the students and the families of the students taking place in the education program.

Here, though, is a particularly unique ceremony, because all of you are individuals who are going to, if history is any guide, become leaders -- leaders in your professional military or diplomatic or intelligence areas in each of your nations and certainly in the United States. So this may be the most distinguished class that I have ever had the opportunity to address, and I want to tell you that I am very, very pleased to have this opportunity, and I want to wish each of you personally the greatest professional and personal advancement and satisfaction during your forthcoming career. So, as I say, I am really pleased to be here on this really wonderful day.

The last time I spoke at the National Defense University I was deputy secretary of defense, and I tried to address the question, "Are we spending enough on defense?" I suggested at that time that that was a long question if you were really interested in an answer about what the defense strategy, what the defense programs should be for this country in the post-Cold War world.

Here, I appear as the director of central intelligence, and once again I would like to suggest to you that there is a question being discussed that is diverting us from a proper attention to what intelligence should be doing in a post-Cold War era. And the wrong question really is always "Is it oversimplification?" It's the question that starts "Do we need an intelligence community? Do we need a Central Intelligence Agency in the post-Cold War world?"

That question is raised by a variety of people for different reasons. For some of those people it's an honest interest in trying to discover how to save resources, how to reduce expenditures on national security after the Cold War. For others, it reflects a frustration about some of the very highly publicized failures that have occurred in the intelligence community, such as Rick Ames, other matters -- Guatemala, what have you -- and a sense that maybe we don't need intelligence after all.

I believe that there is no question about the fact that this country needs a modern, effective and highly sophisticated intelligence community, and that indeed it needs a Central Intelligence Agency to defend this nation and its allies against the new and complicated threats that we face after the Cold War. We do have an entirely different set of threats than was true in the bipolar era of the Cold War, when it was the United States and its allies facing the Soviet Union and the prospect at any time of nuclear holocaust.

It's a very different and highly different set of variegated threats that will occupy us, and probably our children, for some time to come. And I will try to tell you today why my reasoning leads me to the conclusion that sophisticated intelligence is part of the policy response that we need in our continuing efforts to promote peace and democracy throughout the world. And it then becomes only a subsequent subject about how you meet those intelligence needs once you've identified them as supporting national purposes, what the role is of clandestine human intelligence for the CIA or what have you.

But let me begin with what the threats are. They are well known to you, who have been studying here during the past year. They have been enumerated by the Department of Defense most directly in the Bottom-up Review started up by my friend [former] Secretary [of Defense Les] Aspin, who has recently passed away. Let me review what those threats are in a post-Cold War era, the essential threats to national security from the perspective of the United States and of this administration.

The first is the possibility of major regional conflict, when they occur as they did in Iraq, when they occur in North Korea or elsewhere in the world. The second is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction -- nuclear, chemical, biological weapons and the method of their delivery. The third is dealing with vexing lesser regional conflicts that continue to involve our armed forces in different parts of the world and the armed forces of our close allies, whether we are speaking of Haiti, Somalia or Bosnia. And fourth, I would mention that we still run the risks and have to concern ourselves with potential instability in the former Soviet Union and in the states of the former Soviet Union. There are plenty of prospects to try and work toward stability, but also we have to be on guard for things developing in an unanticipated and unexpected way. These are the essential national security threats.

But there are also broader reasons for intelligence in this country. There are pressing needs to support by intelligence the policy formulation of policy process of the president, secretary of state, secretary of defense, on a wide range of issues involving, very broadly, our diplomacy, our trade policy, law enforcement, economic policies and the like. I would like to briefly say a word to you about what I think the objectives are for intelligence and then return to the subject of the connection between intelligence and defense, one of the most important parts of our intelligence efforts and one which has occupied me both as deputy secretary and now as director of central intelligence.

So I will say to you briefly what the key purposes are for intelligence, and then I would like to address very briefly the question about do we have the intelligence capabilities that we need, especially to support our national military leaders and to help them face the challenges ahead. And let me just briefly mention the four purposes that I see for intelligence in the post-Cold War era.

The primary mission of the intelligence community is to assure that the president and the other leaders of the nation have the best information available before making decisions -- before making diplomatic, military or economic decisions that will influence our lives and our welfare. And if we as a community want to have that intelligence considered carefully by policy leadership and used by them in sharpening their decision process, we have to maintain an unassailable reputation for unvarnished treatment of the facts and never allowing ourselves to tailor our analysis to meet some policy conclusion that may be of convenience to one of our leaders at one time or another. If we do so, it will quickly destroy the credibility.

And if there is one message that I want to leave to every officer in this room, it is the certainty that we have had since we have been in the Defense Department that when a military officer says something to you it is based on the facts, unassailably their most objective opinion clearly arrived at as best as can be on the available information, and provided in a straightforward and honest fashion. The principal mission that I have as the chief intelligence officer of the country is to make sure that the president has the best information available to him before he makes a decision,

The second major new objective for intelligence concerns dealing with the growing problems of international terrorism, international crime and international drug trafficking. Good intelligence can help avert tragedies associated with these criminal activities. The growing interrelationship of these phenomena and the growing interrelationship on an international basis between drugs, crime and terrorism poses a very severe threat to our security and the security of our allies and friends. It rivals that that is threatening us by potential military adversaries, and we must devote attention to that threat.

The third major objective for intelligence concerns counterintelligence, making sure that our national security apparatus is not penetrated by agents of foreign powers seeking to undermine our security and discover our secrets. The most recent example that we need to pay attention to this aspect of our intelligence activities is indeed the Ames case, and it is a matter which will occupy me greatly as director of central intelligence.

And finally, I come to the fourth objective and the one that I want to return to in a bit more detail, and that is the critical mission of providing effective support to military operations. The intelligence community must see as one of its central purposes providing effective support to military operations. More than ever before this is necessary.

The intelligence community must be clearly focused on the needs of the war-fighter and an ability to support military operations. And I am pleased to say that a lot of good work has been done in this direction for quite a period of time.

For example, Director [of Central Intelligence Robert] Gates in 1992 established in the Central Intelligence Agency an Office of Military Affairs, designed to make a closer connection between the unified and specified commanders, the services, and the Central Intelligence Agency and the rest of the intelligence community. There is evidence that the Central Intelligence Agency has done much better in supporting military operations in Somalia, in Haiti and even in the humanitarian action in Rwanda. We have made an effort to place senior intelligence officers within military commands close to senior officers who are required to carry out military operations.

I intend to take this process further, and I do so with a knowledge that the history of the relationships between the Department of Defense and the intelligence community have not always been the best. But with Bill Perry, my friend and my boss over -- as secretary of defense and with me as director of central intelligence, I think we have a unique opportunity to make this connection between intelligence and support to military operations even closer.

I have appointed Rear Adm. Denny Blair to the new position of associate director of central intelligence to be responsible for all aspects of our support to military operations and to be the single person responsible for relationships between the intelligence community and the armed forces. He will be the single point of contact between me, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CinC [commanders in chief of unified commands] users of intelligence. He will also be responsible for laying out a five-year plan, very similar to the one which we undertook in terms of the Bottom-up Review, to lay out exactly what the community should be doing over time, to assure that we have the programs in place to support our warfighters.

A singular purpose of this effort is to assure that we provide future military commanders with dominant battlefield awareness. That is a very great challenge that we face, both in the Department of Defense and in the intelligence community, to assure that future military commanders have dominant battlefield awareness.

It is my view, a view that I know is shared by Bill Perry, by the chairman and the vice chairmen of the Joint Chiefs, that the future effectiveness of U.S. military forces is critically dependent on military commanders having this dominant battlefield awareness. That means that imagery, signals, human intelligence must be integrated and distributed in a timely fashion to battlefield commanders. The goal here is to give a joint force commander real-time or near real-time, all-weather, comprehensive, continuous surveillance and information about the battle space in which they operate. Advances in intelligence technology will put this goal in reach, and it will be possible for commanders to have this kind of surveillance and reconnaissance information to them, and it is made possible in large measure by the information technology revolution that we have enjoyed, both in the commercial and the military circles.

Dominant battlefield awareness, if achieved, will reduce -- never totally eliminate -- the fog of war and provide you, you the military commanders, with an unprecedented combat advantage. All of our efforts at analysis, at modeling and simulation point to the tremendous tactical advantage that comes when you understand where the enemy is and where the targets are, and if the enemy does not have similar information, it means that victory will come more rapidly and therefore the casualties will be lower.

We had a vivid and simple example of this, it seems to me, last week, in a very small but individually important event, in the rescue of the heroic Capt. [Scott] O'Grady [Air Force pilot shot down over Bosnia June 2 and rescued June 8]. Every element of our military intelligence service was out looking for signals -- out looking for signals from his distress radio. And while it took five days to find him -- with better equipment, better coordination, better training it might have been less -- we were able to use information to go and save and rescue this one heroic individual. It can be done better next time, but there is no country in the world, nor has there ever been a time when we had such technological advantage to allow us to support a single pilot down in an adverse circumstance and bring him back. That kind of use of technology can be -- is an example of what can be done to help commanders know what the battlefield is and help them be successful.

We in the intelligence community have a lot that must be done to support this kind of dominant battlefield awareness. First, we have to be sure that we develop our techniques to support the customer -- to support the military user, to worry about distribution and to worry about serving the military commander rather than develop matters that are mostly of interest to ourselves. Secondly, we have to ensure that there is integration of information from all sources -- not from individual technical means. Third, we have to assure that there is interoperability of information systems, so that there is rapid communication between commanders, analysts and civilian National Command Authority.

One example of a step that we are going to take to try and improve this is the establishment of the new agency to assure that all our imagery efforts are brought together in one coherent way to serve the needs of the military commander. I have put in place a study which I hope will quickly lead to the creation of this national imagery agency as a way of assuring that the collection, analysis and distribution of imagery will serve today's and tomorrow's war-fighters.'

In sum, in the coming months and years we are going to be taking a wide range of measures to improve our intelligence support to the military. Good intelligence can help put our military forces at their full potential. It's particularly important at a time when we have a smaller military that is being asked to take on a wide number of different challenges in remote and unfamiliar areas of the world.

In my judgment, the military and the intelligence community have an opportunity today to continue working as a team to achieve a credible goal. Whether turning back two divisions of Saddam Hussein's elite Republican Guard on the border of Kuwait, as we did last fall, or finding that one downed pilot, as we did in Bosnia last week, we could work together to provide better effectiveness, less loss of life and greater achievement of our national goals if we work together.

The intelligence community has tremendous technical and human capabilities. I am committed to putting these capabilities and these powers directly in the hands of you here today, now and in the future. And I want to thank you for the opportunity for being here with you, for addressing you, and I wish you, each one of you, the best luck and the greatest good fortune in serving this great country.

Thank you very much. Published for internal information use by the American Forces Information Service, a field activity of the Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), Washington, D.C. Parenthetical entries are speaker/author notes; bracketed entries are editorial notes. This material is in the public domain and may be reprinted without permission. Defense Issues is available on the Internet via the World Wide Web at