New cyber role, budgetary measures headed to ODNI

Clapper plans for national intelligence cyber manager and $50 billion in DOD funding

In keeping with the establishment of specialized roles for cybersecurity across government, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence will soon launch its own cyber manager, according to James Clapper, director of national intelligence.

The new national intelligence cyber manager will support an overall push toward a better common operating picture of cybersecurity, he said.

“I do not believe the intelligence community is responsible for the cybersecurity of the country, but I do believe it’s responsible for contributing to the common operating picture,” Clapper said today at the GEOINT 2010 Symposium in New Orleans.

Clapper also said that in 2013, his office will take over some $50 billion of the Defense Department budget and route that money to the national intelligence program to help increase its authority and alleviate some pressure on DOD's bottom line.

An additional $30 billion in intelligence spending will be left within DOD coffers.

“DOD does [intelligence] differently, but there is still partnership,” he said.

In an effort to improve the U.S. intelligence posture, Clapper also is establishing a new role overseeing "partner engagement" – and that role will be tailored to “an unnamed Army intelligence officer who wrote an article about what’s wrong with intelligence.” 

In January, Maj. Gen. Michael Flynn, the top intelligence aide to then-International Security Assistance Force Commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal, wrote a damning article for the Center for a New American Security that said the U.S. intelligence strategy in Afghanistan was failing. In the article, Flynn also outlined how he thought the program could be fixed.

Clapper plans to use the Army officer’s experience and credentials to get U.S. intelligence on track. “I’m saying to him, ‘come show us how it’s done,’” Clapper said.

The moves are part of Clapper’s broader plans to “tweak” ODNI, which he has been charged with since assuming the national intelligence director role in August. He is the fourth to hold the job in the past five years.

Clapper is heavily pushing integration within the U.S. national intelligence community, which is made up of 16 agencies. At GeoInt, he said some of his biggest challenges have been establishing an “enterprise outlook” and balancing the competing priorities facing his organization.

“Frankly, we’re not there yet,” he said of achieving such a balance. “We need to find the sweet spot between information-sharing and security.”

Clapper also cited technology security as a growing concern.

“There are security inhibitions of bringing in new technology ... such as the pedigree, where that technology came from,” Clapper said.

But it’s another kind of new technology that is posing a threat to security, and the government desperately needs to catch up, he said.

“Wikileaks and the continued hemorrhaging of leaks in the media don’t do much for collaboration,” Clapper acknowledged. “If someone is downloading half a million documents, we need to find out about it contemporaneously, not after the fact.”

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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