Thursday, September 01, 2005

Intel Rumors of the Day

After 9-11, President Bush has demonstrated that his commitment to intelligence reforms goes beyond mere rhetoric. Last fall, he appointed former Florida Congressman Porter Goss as CIA Director. Since then, Mr. Goss has embarked on a thorough house-cleaning at Langley, eliminating deadwood and malcontents who tried to undermine national policy through media leaks and "tell-all" books. Goss has also refocused the agency's efforts in human intelligence, covert operations and open source intelligence, its primary responsibilities under the new Director of National Intelligence (DNI) construct.

As the reform program presses ahead at the CIA, another spy agency is due for an overhaul. The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) made its share of mistakes before and after 9-11, and the Pentagon and the White House may be planning a similar mucking-out at that agency. A few months back, President Bush denied a request by the DIA Director (Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby) for another year on the job, an apparent indication of dissatisfaction with his performance, and that of his agency.

Now, with Jacoby's retirement looming, a search for his replacment is underway. Recent speculation has focused on Air Force Major General Tommy Crawford as a possible successor. Crawford currently leads the Air Force's Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (AFC2ISR) Center at Langley AFB, Virginia. In that position, General Crawford is in charge of dveloping and integrating cutting-edge technology and systems relating to command and control and intelligence.

A career fighter pilot, General Crawford previously served as Deputy Director of the National Security Agency (NSA), where he worked for General Mike Hayden, now the Deputy Director of National Intelligence (DDNI). Crawford's appointment as DIA Director would almost certainly bear General Hayden's stamp of approval. And, despite his limited intel experience, Crawford has impressed intelligence professionals who have worked with him in previous assignments.

One more rumor worth repeating: the Air Force's top intelligence job would become a three-star billet under a reported realignment of the Air Staff, being considered by incoming Chief of Staff, General Mike Moseley. Currently, the Air Force's senior intel officer is part of a larger XOI function within the Pentagon. The realignment of the Air Staff intel function--and re-designation as the A-2 function--suggests that intelligence will be an even higher priority under General Moseley, who assumes his new post on September 2nd.

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