By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 17, 2013 – The office of the undersecretary of defense for intelligence is reorganizing and streamlining its programs to better prepare for future strategic challenges, the principal deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence told reporters yesterday.
Following a comprehensive internal review, recent guidance by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and a congressional directive, the office will redesignate three deputy undersecretary of defense positions as directors for defense intelligence, effective Jan. 6, Marcel Lettre said.
The internal review looked at the office’s core missions and whether personnel were aligned appropriately for those missions, he added.
In his Dec. 4 announcement of efficiency reforms, Hagel set out eight areas in which the department would seek reductions. This included allowing the intelligence office to move forward on plans to realign and evolve its mission in response to the internal review.
The fiscal year 2010 National Defense Authorization Act directed the Defense Department to eliminate most uses of the title “deputy undersecretary of defense.” The deadline for that action originally was Jan. 1, 2011, but the fiscal 2011 NDAA extended the timeframe to Jan. 1, 2015.
A fourth director of defense intelligence will be added, to be responsible for technical collection and special programs. The move will strengthen operational oversight of the National Security Agency, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency Science and Technology Directorate, cyber operations and capabilities, and other special programs, he said.
“We looked across our organization and found pockets of expertise that were focused on these issues, particularly in the cyber arena, and … are moving toward pulling them all together into this new DDI,” Lettre said.
Under the new technical collection and special programs office are three directorates that are the focus for innovation and development, Lettre said: signals intelligence and cyber; measurement and signature intelligence, geospatial intelligence and special programs; and clandestine operations, global access and mission integration.
The office will give the department a sharper focus on oversight, he said, will drive the development of new capabilities and responses to strategic situations, and will put critical mass behind the effort to cultivate new technologies.
“We think that that is, after all, an area that we as a nation — as a Defense Department — harbor an advantage,” he added.
In addition to the titular changes, Littre said, the undersecretary’s office will make several organizational realignments at the directorate level, also effective Jan. 6:
– The intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance task force will be merged into an ISR operations directorate. With the move into the ISR directorate, the task force will shift from a focus on wartime missions to a more global mission that includes worldwide ISR requirements.
– The human intelligence, sensitive activities and national programs directorates will be merged into a single directorate to toughen oversight over clandestine operations and sensitive support activities.
– The counterintelligence and security directorates will be combined, because the directorates often work together to tackle the threat of insider attacks, and combining them will strengthen that effort.
The mergers reduce the number of offices reporting to the directors of defense intelligence from 20 to 12, he said, and help to achieve Hagel’s vision of a leaner, more agile Defense Department.
Overall, the structural changes are relatively modest, Lettre said, but they’ll generate a significant strategic payoff. And while in the short term they’re resource-neutral, he added, they put the office of the undersecretary of defense for intelligence on track to meet the Defense Department goal of a 20-percent reduction of headquarters budgets.
(Follow Claudette Roulo on Twitter @rouloafps)
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