Bush swears in McConnell as new DNI

At Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., today, President Bush made official the beginning of Michael McConnell’s tenure as director of national intelligence. McConnell is now the second DNI since the post was created, replacing incoming Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte.

McConnell, a retired vice admiral in the Navy, was director of the National Security Agency from 1992 to 1996. Since then, he has been a senior vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton, leading projects related to computer network attack and defense responsibilities for the Defense Department.

Previously, McConnell was intelligence director for the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the first Gulf War and led projects supporting the President’s Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection, focusing on the vulnerabilities of the banking and financial sector.

In his speech, Bush said he has asked McConnell to continue reforming the intelligence community, focusing on integration, information sharing and collaboration. Bush also directed him to fix acquisitions problems, to “restore agility and excellence…and ensure that our nation invests in the right intelligence technologies.”

McConnell, in his remarks, looked to the past for solutions to the government’s procurement problems. “In this area of technology, we need to recapture the acquisition excellence of the Cold War,” he said.

During that time, the CIA had the special authorities for acquisition, which allowed it to develop capabilities with speed and authority, McConnell said. He called on Congress to provide bipartisan consensus for funding and for program stability.

McConnell also pledged to reform intelligence community workforce policies and to allow first- and second-generation Americans with language skills to join.

The speed of intelligence work is increasing because of the rise of globalization, rapid transportation, global connectivity and ever-advancing technology, McConnell said. "The timeline is no longer a calendar; it is a watch,” he said.

As director of national intelligence, McConnell will be the principal adviser on intelligence issues related to national security to Bush, the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council. He will also lead the 16-agency intelligence community and an office staff of more than 1,500 employees.

The Office of the National Director of Intelligence was created in 2005 based on a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission.


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