Intelligence

Lawmaker voices concern about possible DIA nominee

Image of the Pentagon

Lt. Gen. Mary Legere’s handling of an Army intelligence database compromises her ability to be the Pentagon’s next intelligence chief, California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter said in a letter to Pentagon and intelligence community chiefs.

Multiple news reports peg Legere as a potential replacement for Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as Defense Intelligence Agency director. Flynn and his deputy announced April 30 that they would retire in the fall.

Legere is currently the Army’s deputy chief of staff for intelligence and has overseen the Distributed Common Ground System-Army (DCGS-A), a global system for collecting and disseminating intelligence that has drawn scrutiny on Capitol Hill for delays in its implementation. Hunter, a member of the House Armed Services Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, has been a vocal proponent of improving the Defense Department’s IT support for soldiers in the field.

“The nomination of Lt. Gen. Legere presents significant concerns, due to mismanagement of the Army’s failed attempts to provide a functional cloud-computing environment in response to multiple requests from theater,” Hunter wrote in a May 1 letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

“For instance, over the past four years, Congress has been led to believe that, within months, cloud capability would be operational for soldiers with urgent battlefield needs. It is now clear that Congress has received false assurances that the Army would provide cloud capability as part of the [DCGS-A] program,” Hunter wrote.  

Congress has since 2010 appropriated about $500 million for cloud computing for DCGS-A, according to Hunter. “With the lives of soldiers on the line, the Army’s cloud capabilities have proven inadequate or outright dysfunctional,” the letter said.

A Jan. 28 internal Army memo, reported by the Washington Times, revealed that DCGS-A is plagued by some of the same technical problems the Army pledged to fix two years ago. These include issues maintaining a functional server and browsing the intelligence database.

The Army had hoped moving DCSG-A to the cloud would help assure critics of the system’s readiness to support the service’s intelligence needs. Legere said in a press briefing last year that the Army had responded effectively to requests from Capitol Hill to make the program easier to use and had sped up deployment of a new iteration of DCSG-A.

An Army spokesperson declined to comment on DCSG-A in the context of the potential Legere nomination.

About the Author

Sean Lyngaas is an FCW staff writer covering defense, cybersecurity and intelligence issues. Prior to joining FCW, he was a reporter and editor at Smart Grid Today, where he covered everything from cyber vulnerabilities in the U.S. electric grid to the national energy policies of Britain and Mexico. His reporting on a range of global issues has appeared in publications such as The Atlantic, The Economist, The Washington Diplomat and The Washington Post.

Lyngaas is an active member of the National Press Club, where he served as chairman of the Young Members Committee. He earned his M.A. in international affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and his B.A. in public policy from Duke University.

Click here for previous articles by Lyngaas, or connect with him on Twitter: @snlyngaas.


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Reader comments

Sat, Aug 23, 2014 Not an FFRDC

A review of the past failures of DCGS and other Defense IT program failures point to the same root causes; - Failure to leverage commercial best practices - Use of 70s weapon systems engineering methods developed by FFRDCs - Use of an R&D resource like Mitre in spite of FAR prohibitions - Failure to hold anyone accountable for the billions wasted.

Tue, May 6, 2014 JTQ

Why a pic of the Pentagon? If confirmed, she'll be at Bolling AFB, DIA Hq's.

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