Director of National Intelligence

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The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) is the United States government official subject to the authority, direction and control of the President who is responsible under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 for:

Admiral Dennis Blair was confirmed on January 28, 2009, but James Clapper was confirmed as his replacement in August 2010.

As was the case when the CIA headed the IC, the Director and Principal Deputy Director cannot both be active-duty military officers. A difference is that the Congress expressed a desire that one either be a military intelligence officer, usually of four-star rank, or have extensive experience in military intelligence. 50 U.S.C. § 403-3a

Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 established the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) as an independent agency to assist the DNI. The ODNI has about 1,500 employees. The National Counterterrorism Center is a major organization within the ODNI.

On March 23, 2007, DNI Mike McConnell announced organizational changes, which include:

  • elevating acquisition to a new Deputy DNI position
  • creating a new Deputy DNI for Policy, Plans, and Requirements (replacing the Deputy DNI for Requirements position)
  • establishing an Executive Committee
  • designating the Chief of Staff position as the new Director of the Intelligence Staff.

Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence

Donald M. Kerr was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence on 4 October 2007. Previously, he headed the National Reconnaissance Office, and he was previously the Deputy Director for Science and Technology at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Earlier in his career, he was the Assistant Director of the Justice Department's Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University.

Director of the Intelligence Staff

The Office of the Director of the Intelligence Staff (DIS) is responsible for synchronizing and integrating efforts across the DNI staff and components. This is roughly equivalent to the Intelligence Community Staff, previously a CIA component. Offices that fall under the DIS include:

  • Executive Secretary, Office of the Executive Secretariat
  • Director, Office of Legislative Affairs
  • Director, Office of Public Affairs
  • Director, Office of Administration
  • Director, Protocol Office

DDNI for Collection

The Office of the Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Collection was established to coordinate collection throughout the Intelligence Community under the authorities of the DNI and ensure that the National Intelligence Strategy (NIS) priorities are appropriately reflected in future planning and systems acquisition decisions.[1]

The Office of the DDNI for Collection looks across the entire collection business enterprise to develop corporate understanding of needs, requirements, and capabilities to ensure that a holistic view is taken on current and future collection systems. The Deputy Director for Collection brings together key IC stakeholders to get senior level insight into issues.[2]

The DDNI for Collection is supported by four Assistant Deputies:

  • Assistant DDNI for Collection Strategies
  • Assistant DDNI for Human Intelligence
  • Assistant DDNI for Open Source
  • Assistant DDNI for Technical Means

DDNI for Analysis

Primary authority for analytic activities rests with the Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis, who is also the Chairman of the National Intelligence Council. As of March 2007, there are six Assistant Deputy Directors for Analysis (ADDNI/A):[3]

  • ADDNI/A for the National Intelligence Council (also Vice Chairman, NIC)
  • ADDNI/A for the President's Daily Brief
  • ADDNI/A for Analytic Mission Management
  • ADDNI/A for Analytic Integrity and Standards (also the Analytic Ombudsman[4])
  • ADDNI/A for Analytic Transformation and Technology (also the Chief Technology Officer[5])
  • ADDNI/A for Community Support.[6]

100 Day/500 Day Plans

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has released Intelligence Community 100 Day & 500 Day Plans for Integration & Collaboration. These plans include a series of initiatives designed to build the foundation for increased cooperation and reform of the U.S. Intelligence Community.[7]


Prior to establishment of the DNI, the head of the United States Intelligence Community was the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI). The DCI concurrently served as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Establishment of the DNI position was one of the recommendations in the report by the 9/11 Commission investigating the September 11 attacks. The report, which was released on July 22, 2004, identified major intelligence failures that called into question how well the Intelligence Community protected US national and homeland security interests against attacks by foreign terrorists.

Soon thereafter Senators Dianne Feinstein, John D. Rockefeller IV and Bob Graham introduced legislation to create a Director of National Intelligence, S. 2645, introduced on June 19, 2002. Other, similar, legislation soon followed. After considerable debate on the scope of the DNI's powers and authorities, the United States Congress passed the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 by votes of 336-75 in the House of Representatives, and 89-2 in the Senate. President George W. Bush signed the bill into law on December 17, 2004. Among other things, the law established the DNI position as the designated leader of the United States Intelligence Community and prohibited the DNI from serving as the CIA Director or the head of any other Intelligence Community element at the same time. In addition, the law required the CIA Director to "report" his agency's activities to the DNI.

Critics say compromises during the bill's crafting led to the establishment of a DNI whose powers are too weak to adequately lead, manage and improve the performance of the US Intelligence Community.[8] In particular, the law left the United States Department of Defense in charge of the National Security Agency (NSA), the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. (The limited DNI role in leading the US Intelligence Community is discussed in the Intelligence Community article.)

On February 17, 2005, President George W. Bush named U.S. Ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte to the post, pending confirmation by the Senate. It was reported that President Bush's first choice for Director of National Intelligence was former Director of Central Intelligence Robert M. Gates, who was serving as president of Texas A&M University; however, Gates declined the offer.[9] Negroponte was confirmed by a Senate vote of 98 to 2 in favor of his appointment on April 21, 2005, and was sworn in by President Bush on that day.

On February 13, 2007, Negroponte was sworn in as Deputy Secretary of State, and John Michael McConnell became the 2nd Director of National Intelligence.

Directors of National Intelligence

Name Term of Office President(s) served under
John Negroponte April 21, 2005–February 13, 2007 George W. Bush
John McConnell February 13, 2007–January 28, 2009 George W. Bush
Dennis Blair January 28, 2009–Present Barack Obama

Principal Deputy Directors of National Intelligence

Name Term of Office President(s) served under
Gen Michael Hayden April 21, 2005–May 26, 2006 George W. Bush
LTG Ronald Burgess (Acting) June 2006–January 2007 George W. Bush
Donald Kerr October 2007-Present George W. Bush

Directors of the Intelligence Staff

Name Term of Office President(s) served under
LTG Ronald Burgess May 2007–Present George W. Bush

Deputy Directors of National Intelligence

Name Office Term of Office President(s) served under
Thomas Fingar Analysis May 2005-Present George W. Bush
Glenn A. Gaffney Collection January 2008-Present[10] George W. Bush
David Shedd Policy, Plans and Requirements May 2007-Present George W. Bush
Alden Munson Acquisition May 2007-Present George W. Bush