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2011 DoDIIS Conference
Remarks by LTG Ronald L. Burgess, Jr.
2 May 2011
Good morning to everyone. As you can see, I am at the home office in Washington. I truly regret that my schedule doesn't allow me to join you in Detroit. We're up to our necks on budget matters and congressional hearings.
By now, you all have heard the President’s announcement last night. Yesterday’s military operation reflects our most significant counter-terrorism success since September 11, 2001. While we have closed one important chapter, the campaign against terrorism and our mission continue. I know that you join me in saluting those involved in the operation and remembering those who died on 9/11 and in our military and intelligence operations since.
While this is an important day, challenges remain ahead.
Thank you all for attending the conference this year.
I am grateful for this chance to update you on where we are today — and where we're going.
As some you may be aware, we are approaching DIA's 50th anniversary. It is an important time for us, internally, to take stock of our past and think about how our history is driving our future contributions.
And so before I get to today's challenges and where we are going, I want to set the stage by talking briefly about our past — where we've been and how far we have come.
And there are two practical reasons for doing so. First, our past shapes the context for understanding the agency's current and future direction. Secondly, as we confront today's challenges, it is helpful to appreciate how much progress we have made.
I'll start with a 50-year old Joint Chiefs of Staff memorandum. On 13 April 1961, the chiefs were responding to a number of questions posed by then Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. He was determined to create a "Defense Intelligence Agency" -- and he had questions for the chiefs about the future agency's roles and missions.
The chiefs endorsed the agency and they included this statement:
"national intelligence and military intelligence are indivisible in practice.”
The Joint Chiefs didn't say these two things were complementary.
They didn't write that they are mutually supportive.
The chiefs said that national intelligence and military intelligence are "indivisible in practice."
That was an important statement by the chiefs especially coming during the middle of the Cold War, before the Cuban Missile Crisis, before Vietnam and a quarter century before Goldwater-Nichols.
The chiefs' statement rang true then. And 50 years later it still rings as true as ever today. And this is key: there is a direct, unbroken line that runs from those words written 50 years ago to what we are doing today to integrate national intelligence and military intelligence. And those words stand to this day as a signpost pointing out our future direction.
As an aside, I have to mention also how fortunate DIA is that Secretary McNamara refused the chiefs' recommendation to name the new agency the "Military Intelligence Agency."
Calling the new agency "MIA" might have reflected what the Joint Chiefs at the time really thought about the Secretary's idea.
But that's a story for another time.
While DIA's authorities, responsibilities, footprint and size have grown significantly since it stood up on October 1st, 1961, its mission for integrating military and national intelligence continues.
And part of that mission from Day One included integrating the Department's secure information technologies. In the directive that stood up DIA, it was spelled out clearly:
"Integrate DoD intelligence automation and automatic data processing plans and programs, ensuring that they complement each other and those of non-DoD intelligence agencies to the maximum extent possible."
The lingo may be different from what we use today, but the mission is the same.
When the agency was founded in 1961, it had more responsibilities and functions than people. DIA began with 25 employees and 2,000 square feet of borrowed space in the Pentagon.
As the new kid on the block, our other leased space was not exactly glamorous. We got first dibs on some leftover Second World War buildings at Arlington Hall. They were so old we were afraid our new Top Secret safes would crash through the floors. And we also shared another building near the Pentagon with a brewery. [Lunch time was pretty interesting.]
In those first few months, DIA needed more of everything -more people, money, photo interpreter light tables and the list goes on. But what DIA needed most was time -something that no one at the time could predict was in very short supply.
The agency's first test was the Cuban Missile Crisis, as Grant Schneider talked about a little while ago.
Not long after Cuba receded from the headlines, DIA received its first computer: the IBM 7090. While NASA was using the same model for the Mercury and Gemini space launches, DIA was using its system to gather enemy order of battle data. It cost $2.9 million or could be rented for $63,500 per month. Today, it has far less capability than the smart phones in your pocket.
By 1965, DIA became the worldwide manager for the Intelligence Data Handling System -which laid the foundation for the advances in on-line computer networking that would follow in the 1970s.
While DIA brought these new computers on line, it was getting more involved in Vietnam -analyzing Viet Cong and North Vietnamese logistics, intentions, and air defense capabilities.
Agency employees were in theater, including professionals able to translate and exploit captured enemy documents. DIA also was given responsibility for collecting and analyzing intelligence on prisoners of war and missing in action.
While the war went on, DIA set up an Advanced Systems Development Division in 1967 for integrating defense intelligence systems.
DIA also provided the intelligence in support of the planned raid to free POWs held at Son Tay in 1970. At the 11th hour, a HUMINT source in Hanoi claimed the U.S. POWs had been moved to another camp. The raid went forward anyway, on the chance the source was wrong. As it turned out, the source had been correct and the raid was not successful.
During the 1970s, DIA provided intelligence in support of strategic arms control talks with the then-Soviet Union — SALT I, SALT II, and the ABM treaties.
That work evolved into supporting a new nuclear deterrence strategy and nuclear war plan requested by President Carter — designed to deny Soviet military victory.
Even though we had the old AUTODIN (Automated Digital Network) system during this time, intelligence dissemination was still almost 100-percent manual. Messages were printed out and slotted in mailboxes for couriers to retrieve.
Those messages had a very narrow format, requiring analysts to write like Western Union employees. The intelligence content was constrained by the structure and format of the messages. It would take almost another two decades to reverse this. Today, it is the content of the intelligence that drives the format — maybe a 2D or 3D map, audio file, movie, or still image.
In these early years, DIA launched a new computer effort to help analysts make sense of the data, called the Support for the Analysts File Environment (SAFE) program, in the late 1970s. The goal: automatically direct message traffic to analysts.
During this same time, DIA, the military services and combat commands were given shared responsibility for updating "order of battle" databases, which required secure sharing of information and automated update of databases. This led to the creation of the top secret network known then as Defense Secure Network Three (DSNET-3) which carried TS/SCI. It evolved over time and is known today as the Department of Defense Intelligence Information System (DoDIIS).
The 1970s closed with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. It signaled a new level of adventurism and a growing concern about Moscow's military build-up.
Secretary Weinberger, Ronald Reagan's new Secretary of Defense, went to Europe to brief allies on what the Russians were up to. Those allies wanted the briefs made public.
Weinberger turned to DIA and the resulting effort came to be known as the Soviet Military Power series, a decade-long effort. The production often volumes detailing the Soviet build-up reflected an agency that came of age in the 1980s.
Even while the Reagan defense build-up was underway, the Pentagon's pneumatic tube system was still carrying more top secret intelligence than was moving by computer.
By the middle of the decade, with the hijackings of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro, and TWA Flight 847, 1985 became known as "The Year of the Terrorist.”
DIA provided the intelligence needed during these crises, and also during the wars in Central America, and the 1986 airstrike on Libya. DIA's Central America Joint Intelligence Team was the nation's first national-level intelligence fusion center — a model followed by institutions today such as the National Counterterrorism Center. What makes these fusion centers possible today is the ability today to merge different agencies, intelligence disciplines and databases.
In 1986, Congress passed the landmark legislation known as the Goldwater Nichols Act, which in part designated DIA a combat support agency.
The 1980s rolled into the 1990s through a succession of crises, including the collapse of the Berlin Wall, Operation Just Cause (in Panama), collapse of the Soviet Union, and Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
DIA's intelligence support evolved quickly from a warning problem before Iraq's invasion of Kuwait to operational support for the commanders in the field and policymakers back in Washington. DIA deployed more than 100 analysts to Riyadh to provide direct support to General Schwarzkopf.
It was during this time that the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communication System (JWICS) was born. It began with three working hubs -in Riyadh, Tampa and the Pentagon. At first, it was for video-teleconferences only, so general and flag officers could talk face-to-face without having to travel.
Because this was a new, untested capability and bandwidth was in such short supply, JWICs could only obtain access to a satellite that was falling slowly out of orbit. So we actually had technicians in Riyadh hand-crank a small satellite dish to keep track of the falling satellite's trajectory. That is how we kept JWICs going during the war. We can now tell that story.
And lost in the news coverage over the war was the little-noticed cancellation of an important Department of Defense directive. It's title? "The Transmission of Classified Information Within the Pentagon Through the Pneumatic Tube System."
The cancellation notice stated: "The instruction has served the purpose for which it was intended and is no longer required."
Between the closing of the Pentagon's pneumatic tube system and DIA's hand cranked JWICS operation in Riyadh, we saw the end of one era and the beginning of another.
Within weeks, Pentagon workers began to reuse the old pneumatic tube system — this time snaking fiber optic cables through the old pipes to connect secure computers and VTCs throughout the building. A new age in secure intelligence information technology was underway.
While this was happening, DIA was also growing. The agency was given responsibility for the Missile and Space Intelligence Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and also the Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center, now known as the National Center for Medical Intelligence.
DIA provided intelligence support during Haiti and the Balkans Crisis during the mid-1990s. As the bandwidth expanded, JWICs went from VTC only to including the transmission of data between analysts. Now there was real work being done while general officers got face time with each other. By 1995, as the Defense Human Intelligence Service was established within the agency, JWICs had grown to 150 terminals.
Between 1995 and 1997, other members of the Intelligence Community began to bridge on JWICs. Today, when a CIA analyst emails a colleague at NSA, it goes through JWICs at DIA headquarters.
While JWICs' potential was recognized, it was still primitive and not everyone accepted it. Between VTCs, technicians would point the live cameras at analog clocks. If the second hand stopped moving, they would know to reinitialize the system. Pretty high tech. And we had JWICs terminals sit on a runway in Somalia for five months before being returned because an on-scene commander did not want a "10,000-mile screwdriver."
Fast forward to Predator UAVs with Hellfire missiles and today we have 10,000-mile triggers.
The next century opened, of course, with the attacks on the twin towers and the Pentagon. And that event for DIA, like the nation, divided how we think about time. There is a "before 9/11." And there is an "after 9/11."
DIA very quickly transformed from a headquarters-based agency with small numbers of deployed personnel to a forward-deployed agency, supported by a headquarters in Washington.
Today, DIA is twice the size it was before 9/11 and it supports approximately 850 personnel forward deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. Hundreds more are at the combatant commands and others are located at our overseas regional support centers that operate and maintain our classified networks and still others are located at our liaison offices in Ottawa, London, Canberra, Wellington and elsewhere.
From the original three hubs in 1991, we now support more than 1,400 room based VTC sites and more than 4,000 desk-top VTC machines. DIA supports more than 230 secure VTCs a day. That is nine every hour, or one every seven minutes. And we do that 24/7worldwide.
(U) With these numbers, I can safely say that DIA today is the most networked secure organization in the world thanks to many of the organizations and people attending this conference.
(U) DIA today is truly a global agency, operating 24/7, wherever our forces are engaged and at every point along the chain of command from the daily intelligence updates at the combatant commands, the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff all the way to the President's Daily Brief.
In support of those customers, DIA delivers:
- all-source analysis,
- HUMINT, and
(And, of course, we manage the world's premier top secret network: JWICS and serves as the executive agent for "A-Space," where analysts from across the Intelligence Community freely collaborate.
The agency's span of responsibilities and its ability to flex and respond to customers at so many different levels — literally from the Oval Office to the forward edge of troops in harm's way is remarkable.
From its humble origins — 25 employees and borrowed space next to a brewery — DIA has evolved significantly over the last 50 years.
And in so many ways, the story oldie’s evolution is centered on its responsibilities as the digital hub of the defense intelligence enterprise — or the functional intersection between national and military intelligence.
While we have much to be proud of, we have our fair share of challenges— many of which will be covered in greater detail during this conference. On the budget front, we are asking for less in FY 12 than we did in FY11.
That puts a premium on teamwork, across the department and across the IC. That will only grow in importance as the budget gets tighter. And it is going to get tighter beyond FY 12 and I understand the impact and the difficulties it will cause. That is just the reality we have got and we have to work through it. All the easy choices have already been made.
That leaves only hard choices and we will have to make tough trade-offs. In those choices we have to manage risk.
There is one place, however, where we cannot afford risk, and that is inside our secure IT networks, JWICS in particular.
Are there risks in sharing information? Yes there are. Are the risks of notsharing greater? Yes, I still believe that.
I will say it as plainly as I can: the foundation for information-sharing and collaboration in the Intelligence Community rests upon security. Without security, no agency will trust another with information — and understandably so. We need to be 100-percent certain that our system is clean, not most of the time. Allof the time. That responsibility rests upon all of our shoulders. Each of us needs to feel that weight every day.
Can we have security andcollaboration? Yes— I believe we can. We have to. And that is why I am so pleased to see the theme for this conference: "secure and collaborative intelligence." Are we taking steps to strengthen that security? You bet. Am I going to talk specifically about what we are doing in an unclassified forum? Not on your life.
Does DIA need industry's help to do this? Yes. Your ideas, your solutions and your skills are needed more than ever to guarantee our network security. I am well aware that 60-percent of my information technology workforce carries green badges. We simply cannot do the job without you.
In today's budget environment, you have to help us identify and achieve greater efficiencies. You need to be innovative. And that is why we are moving more towards performance-based contracting — and I know this will be discussed by other speakers and in the break-out sessions.
What tells me that you can do it— and that we can do this together— is the progress we have made together over the years — from three JWICs hubs in 1990-1991 to thousands today.
We are very fortunate that DS has been out in front of the budget realities we are facing today. When I became Director, I sat down with Grant Schneider and the decision was made to reinvent how we do business by delivering greater services at less cost. That was almost three years beforeSecretary of Gates' announcement at the Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kansas in May 2010 that the Pentagon defense spending "spigot" had been turned off.
These new fiscal realities demand that greater flexibility than ever before. And the evolving threats and challenges, and pace of change in external operating environment are significant and growing.
The world today is more challenging and uncertain than at any time I can recall.
The simultaneity of these challenges creates a profoundly complex environment. In that complexity lays uncertainty — and the potential for strategic surprise at any point along the spectrum of conflict, including war between major nation-states over vital interests.
In this environment, what does DIA need? It needs creativity. It needs commitment and dedication to maintaining and improving the world's most secure and advanced IT network — a network that can flex and adapt in response to changing needs in a highly complex and quickly evolving world. Many of tomorrow's needs likely are beyond prediction today.
Against the uncertainty and the threats, an intelligence IT system that is secure enough to enable true information-sharing and collaboration is our best hope for giving our customers the information they need to safely guide our nation in the years ahead.
As it has since 1961, DIA has needed the best technology to get the job done. Though the threats have changed over the years, the need today is greater than ever. And that is why I value our partnership and your participation at this conference.
Thank you for attending this conference and your continued commitment to DIA, the Intelligence Community, and our nation.
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This page was last updated January 25, 2013.