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New DIA director says domestic and private sector partners important

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn

The newly-appointed director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) told employees to be responsive, timely and relevant not only to its military services customers, but also to the domestic and private-sector.

In an open letter to the men and women of DIA, director Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn said the agency’s analysis must be timely, responsive and relevant to the needs of customers that include the military services, and increasingly international, domestic and private-sector partners.

In an interview with the Armed Forces Press Service posted on the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) Web site on Aug. 13, Flynn said people are more important in intelligence gathering than technology and DIA would “bring to bear, for the defense community and specifically in support of our combatant commanders -- [the] commanders and organizations that are spread throughout the globe in support of our nation’s defense.”  

Flynn, who became DIA director July 24, told the DoD news service that his vision for the agency “is to operationalize the capabilities that DIA brings to bear, for the defense community and specifically in support of our combatant commanders -- [the] commanders and organizations that are spread throughout the globe in support of our nation’s defense.”

Flynn replaced Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess Jr., in the position.

DIA, headquartered at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, has personnel deployed in 139 countries around the world, with more than 500 serving combat forces in Afghanistan.

In his letter to DIA personnel, Flynn wrote “We must strengthen our human intelligence collection against strategic defense targets growing more difficult to penetrate, while fully incorporating counterintelligence. We must continue to integrate science and technology to enhance our operations.”

“The best technology to invest in is the technology between the ears,” he said. “Regardless of what we have in terms of technology, we have to invest in the people … so we’re leading technology and technology is not pulling us along.”

Such an investment, Flynn added, has everything to do with innovation -- allowing people to take risks in thinking and in trying new ways to present information, to bring ideas forward, and to allow people freedom of action to try new things.

Flynn, according to DoD, is known in the intelligence community as one of three authors in January 2010 of a report, “Fixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan,” published by the Center for a New American Security that was critical of intelligence in Afghanistan.

The report recommended sweeping changes for the intel community, including moving from a focus on the enemy to a focus on the people and culture of Afghanistan, or any country where U.S. forces are deployed.