Intelligence Gathering Needed to Ensure National Security, DIA Director Says

Defense Intelligence Agency / Wikimedia Commons
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Defense Intelligence Agency / Wikimedia Commons
Defense Intelligence Agency / Wikimedia Commons

Intelligence is a critical guarantor of national security, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) said this week at the Intelligence and National Security Alliance Summit. When crisis arise, having the ability to gather the intelligence needed to ensure national security — no matter what form that intelligence takes or where it comes from — makes all the difference to securing the nation and providing our war fighters the information they need to get the job done.

Army Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn told the summit, “In light of future trends … and in light of the absolutely critical role of intelligence for our national security, we must do the following.”

“We must adjust our operating model to refocus on our mission and our unique strengths. We must continually emphasize burden sharing, partnerships and integration. And we must instill flexibility and agility to respond to crises. That is our new normal.”

Flynn said that these changes are the result of hard learned lessons over the last decade of war.

Indeed, prior to September 11, 2001, the country’s intelligence gathering capabilities were fractured between multiple agencies that rarely communicated with one another and still expected threats to come from other nations, instead of terrorist organizations.

As an example of the “new normal,” Flynn used the ongoing situation in Syria. He said the DIA’s Middle East-Africa Regional Center is working closely with U.S. Central Command, the Joint Staff, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the White House to monitor the crisis.

Flynn further stated:

“Whether it’s determining our support to the allied campaign in Libya, debating our relationship with Egypt after continuing shifts in power, or deciding our role in Afghanistan after U.S. troop withdrawal – we are constantly facing a wide and broad range of major security decisions, the dynamics of which are constantly shifting, and the effects of which will be felt for years and decades to come.”

The Defense Intelligence Agency is integral as a member of “an integrated team supporting Central Command, European Command, Africa Command, certainly Cyber Command. And we also support the military planning that’s going on at every level up to and including the Joint Staff.” DIA is also involved in policy making.

Cyber security was a hot topic at the summit and attendees spent a significant amount of time discussing a variety of issues in regards to it, including inside threats and state-sponsored attacks. The militarization of these types of attacks is new to the DIA, one that it is actively trying to understand and counter.

Public debate about the future of intelligence gathering, particularly in the realm of cyber security, and what it means to national security continues, especially in light of the recent news reports that the National Security Agency (NSA) was collecting data about American citizens.

While some digging into the facts of the NSA’s activity in that case show that the NSA was not spying on Americans any more than Amazon.com or Target.com do in collecting personal data, it again raises the ever present question of how much privacy must be sacrificed in the name of security.

As important as intelligence gathering is to national security, it is not immune to the financial problems the country is facing, according to Flynn.

“We are an extremely valuable asset to the national security enterprise,” he said, “and one whose demand signal is skyrocketing, while available resources for the foreseeable future will only be further constrained.”

He added:

“Getting America’s fiscal house in order is and should be a major priority for the U.S. government,” Flynn said.”Right now, though, we are strongly concentrating on maintaining the valuable and irreplaceable asset of intelligence and making sure we are managing sequestration so that we can maintain the strength and success of the community, absorb risk where we can, and invest for our future – the right training, regions, and issues where the next crossroads will pop up.”

As with many other areas of defense, the DIA is being asked to do more with less.

Flynn said the DIA is in the process of its first-ever full audit and he has launched a special task force to focus on the agency’s reliance to spend money as wisely as possible. While mandates to cut waste are taken seriously, he said he also wants to make sure money is being allocated correctly so the agency can effectively fulfill its purpose to strengthen national security.

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  1. WendyInnes Thanks for all the comments everyone. Personally I'm with Benjamin Franklin in the thought that "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”. However, I'm also not a terrorist looking up bomb making instructions on the internet or visiting jihadist chat rooms. While I certainly do not want another 9/11 to happen, I don't want my government spying on me either. There needs to be a balance between privacy and security.
  2. Terry Brewer How ironic, since we spend billions every year, for decades on end, supporting the very people who keep killing the citizens of the world. And by "be put to death" I do not necessarily mean after they are tried and convicted of their crimes. I mean by whatever means necessary to end the threat. Peace officers and military personnel the world over kill criminals on a daily basis to eliminate the threat they pose. So your statement, while I understand it, is not germane to this situation. My fault - I didn't express my thought very clearly. I am referring to a full-out elimination of the threats, via a joint effort by the civilized people of the world. It is the next step in the process of evolution - the unmitigated violence for the sake of violence, under the guise of religious beliefs, needs to stop if we are ever to grow as a species. Our world population has been stagnant for a very long time now. We may be growing intellectually as far as computers and televisions, but we are as deadlocked today as far as murdering each other as we have been for a thousand or more years.
  3. Cecelia Henderson I agree that security is important to safety, but why are you spying on law abiding citizens. I can't see that you've been all that successful at stopping terrorism, but I hear that employees know what their lovers are doing 24/7. You can't even tape mosques which are breeding grounds for terrorism. You need to be closed down until we have a President that knows how to control you.
  4. Cecelia Henderson I agree that security is important to safety, but why are you spying on law abiding citizens. I can't see that you've been all that successful at stopping terrorism, but I hear that employees know what their lovers are doing 24/7. You can't even tape mosques which are breeding grounds for terrorism. You need to be closed down until we have a President that knows how to control you.
  5. Jennifer Lynn Foster As far as privacy is necessary the fraternal order is un-necessary. jlf.
  6. Jennifer Lynn Foster As far as privacy is necessary the fraternal order is un-necessary. jlf.
  7. Kevin C. Smith Of course they are listening! heck, they were probably reading it as you typed it...
  8. Kevin C. Smith lol!
  9. Kevin C. Smith Most civilized nations no longer have capital punishment. I would go so far as to say that none of them do, since the practice disqualifies a nation as "civilized".
  10. Terry Brewer If our government cannot figure out how to keep us safe without spying on us, then we need to get rid of the threats - terrorists have held much of the world hostage for way too long - they are murderers, cannibals, kidnappers and rapists. They, along with any who offer them comfort and shelter need to be put to death - just like a murderer in most civilized nations would be. Taking away rights and freedoms from law abiding citizens does nothing to curtail crime or evil persons.
60 comments
WendyInnes
WendyInnes

Thanks for all the comments everyone. Personally I'm with Benjamin Franklin in the thought that "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”. However, I'm also not a terrorist looking up bomb making instructions on the internet or visiting jihadist chat rooms. While I certainly do not want another 9/11 to happen, I don't want my government spying on me either. There needs to be a balance between privacy and security.

Terry Brewer
Terry Brewer

How ironic, since we spend billions every year, for decades on end, supporting the very people who keep killing the citizens of the world. And by "be put to death" I do not necessarily mean after they are tried and convicted of their crimes. I mean by whatever means necessary to end the threat. Peace officers and military personnel the world over kill criminals on a daily basis to eliminate the threat they pose. So your statement, while I understand it, is not germane to this situation. My fault - I didn't express my thought very clearly. I am referring to a full-out elimination of the threats, via a joint effort by the civilized people of the world. It is the next step in the process of evolution - the unmitigated violence for the sake of violence, under the guise of religious beliefs, needs to stop if we are ever to grow as a species. Our world population has been stagnant for a very long time now. We may be growing intellectually as far as computers and televisions, but we are as deadlocked today as far as murdering each other as we have been for a thousand or more years.

Cecelia Henderson
Cecelia Henderson

I agree that security is important to safety, but why are you spying on law abiding citizens. I can't see that you've been all that successful at stopping terrorism, but I hear that employees know what their lovers are doing 24/7. You can't even tape mosques which are breeding grounds for terrorism. You need to be closed down until we have a President that knows how to control you.

Jennifer Lynn Foster
Jennifer Lynn Foster

As far as privacy is necessary the fraternal order is un-necessary. jlf.

Kevin C. Smith
Kevin C. Smith

Of course they are listening! heck, they were probably reading it as you typed it...

Kevin C. Smith
Kevin C. Smith

Most civilized nations no longer have capital punishment. I would go so far as to say that none of them do, since the practice disqualifies a nation as "civilized".

Terry Brewer
Terry Brewer

If our government cannot figure out how to keep us safe without spying on us, then we need to get rid of the threats - terrorists have held much of the world hostage for way too long - they are murderers, cannibals, kidnappers and rapists. They, along with any who offer them comfort and shelter need to be put to death - just like a murderer in most civilized nations would be. Taking away rights and freedoms from law abiding citizens does nothing to curtail crime or evil persons.

Lloyd Ritchey
Lloyd Ritchey

The rotting corpses of 300 million innocents murdered _by their own governments_ last century alone are a testament to the objective fact that the State itself is hazardous to your health.

Patty Hunt
Patty Hunt

US security should not be an IQ test!

Leon Hall
Leon Hall

I thought I'd remind you folks that we had TWO clear exact warnings about the Boston bombers and we know how that turned out. Thanks to NDAA there have been 250,000 Federal self written warrants (no judge needed) that were executed, resulting in 7 arrests for non-terrorist activities like smoking a joint while watching TV and 2 arrests for "alleged terrorist activities", which by the standards they set now means some of my posts would be considered "terrorist activity". :-/ Now that leaves 249,991 people that had their door smashed in by heavily armed guys pointing guns in their faces FOR NO REASON AT ALL. As a bonus, those innocent people are legally BARRED from talking about it to anyone! (And you thought you were mad before?) LOL

Paul Grajciar
Paul Grajciar

I think that the reason given as to why we are being monitored is plausible. It's supposedly a large field of data a that is anylyzed with an algorithm that notices anomalies which are then scrutinized. Therefore if you don't fit the profile that the program looks for you should never worry about being "spied" on. However this type of surveillance in unscrupulous hands can be used to manipulate and control us. Nothing is secret or sacred that is collected. And that is everything that you have done digitally or in cyberspace. We have a two edged sword and a powerful elite in this and other countries whom I think would be inclined to use this data to further their own means. There is real danger in this possibility.

Tim Daniel
Tim Daniel

So, we violate everyone's security (and the 4th amendment) and guarantee national security across the board, forever!

William Vassos
William Vassos

None beyond the 4th Amendment. If we conducted ourselves appropriately, avoided getting mixed up in the regional politics of the world and propping up tyrants the state would not have an excuse to take such drastic and unconstitutional measures.

Sebastian Aziz
Sebastian Aziz

Your point is Pam? Isn't that what I'm saying? Please re-read what I wrote. Being secured "against" unreasonable search and seizures is not the same as privacy protections. Amendment 4 is clearly referring to "unreasonable searches and seizures." It is SPECIFIC. However, my point was that although "privacy" is not stated explicitly in the Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court (interpreters of the Constitution) stated that it is IMPLIED in the respective amendments I listed. We are actually on the same position, so I'm not sure what your argument is.

Kim Baxley
Kim Baxley

One of our great founders stated: "He who would sacrifice Liberty, for a little security, deserves neither."

Pam Pinkston
Pam Pinkston

Sebastian: The 4th Amendment CLEARLY states "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures...and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." The NSA does NOT get individual warrants; they do broad-sweep data gathering. Also, they claim phone records are third-party records and thus are not subject to the 4th Amendment. THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY IS CLEARLY MENTIONED IN THE CONSTITUTION AND THE NSA HAS CLEARLY NULLIFIED IT WITH IMPUNITY!!!!!!!

William Davis
William Davis

This is a moot question since national security is not up for a vote. In my life time, I have seen all our privacy rights violated in the name of security. Hello communism ... My own personal polls show, people want communism!!

Jim Dunn
Jim Dunn

And who doesn't think this can be or has been abused as a political tool ?

Dan Sanders Prewitt Hove
Dan Sanders Prewitt Hove

for example..in "Skypes'" agreement, it states that all media may be recorded and considered public accessible.

Dan Sanders Prewitt Hove
Dan Sanders Prewitt Hove

much of the information gathered was given by peoples concent. Whenever you download a program from the internet be sure to ALWAYS read "Have Read and Agree to these Terms". and the privacy statement. Most of them always include in there the right of the company to place cookies and record other info of yours which they may sell or use for marketing purposes....You give them the right for this information to be gathered. You may decline these terms... but don't expect to be able to use their programs.

Stephen Bone
Stephen Bone

None. You cannot sacrifice freedom to obtain freedom. This is Orwellian gibberish.

Mark A Sawdon
Mark A Sawdon

the war on terror is a fraud. false flags/patsies/and fbi entrapment on almost every case they can cite as the reasoning behind their spying. the system is going after americans now, as designed, as the u.s. is the last piece of the puzzle towards global control. the beacon of light is being turned off...

William Wade
William Wade

Has anyone ever truly defined "national security" or "intelligence"? I would love to know the "official" definitions -- and I bet there would be more than a little debate over the answers

Carlos Perez
Carlos Perez

It is a lot of people living from this boloni and we paid for all.

Richard Raznikov
Richard Raznikov

None. The 'security' issue is a front for police states. The highest form of security is when the state does not spy on anyone.

Elise Hokman
Elise Hokman

The NSA needs to be abolished. It is redundant. We have the fbi, cia, and 5 armed forces...that's plenty. And, if you want to know anything about anybody within our country's boundaries...have probably cause and a court order..

Sebastian Aziz
Sebastian Aziz

The right to privacy isn't exclusively mentioned in the Constitution, but the U.S. Supreme Court has held that it is a fundamental liberty deserving protection because privacy is implied in the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments (Due Process Clause). It's obvious that the Founding Fathers knew there will come a time where the government will infringe upon such right of the people.

Keith Watkins
Keith Watkins

homeland security stinks like the SS in Nazi Germany

Johnny Ritchie
Johnny Ritchie

I think terrorism and the internet and gun dearhs will be here forever...all we can do is limit the deaths.

Jodell Bumatay
Jodell Bumatay

As an American Veteran, I was asked to work for Naval Military Intelligence for Satellite Weapons Targetting in 1997. At that time, I turned down that Security Clearance position out of moral belief that I did not want to support covert wars. As a private citizen, I worked inside of computer security in the early nineties. At that time, no one would have believed what people I knew told me about security systems. We were still locked into a Cold War Era mentality. I do believe it is time for the government to become more transparent and also I agree with computer security analysts that Americans need to be trained in computer security so that they can become involved with their own computer security vs allowing the government to maintain control over who is secure and who is not.

Larry Rivas
Larry Rivas

You have a better chance of being hit by a car than a terrorist. And it's not because of the work they're doing to keep us safe.

John Thompson
John Thompson

its called ..how far do we have to go.???.. ..to get enough dirt on someone so we can blackmail them into doing what we want them to do ...thats what it comes down to ..in politics .or business..

Steve Cox
Steve Cox

Tom, the Constitution doesn't guarantee those rights to citizens. It guarantees those rights to "the people."

Joyce Rollins
Joyce Rollins

As much as the public allowd without true revolt.