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50th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony
Transcript: Remarks by LTG Ronald L. Burgess, Jr.
Director, Defense Intelligence Agency
September 29, 2011
(as prepared for delivery)
As we take this moment to reflect on the last 50 years, it is important to consider the decisions made by our nation's leaders at a very different time and place, and how those decisions and deliberations influence our world today.
In the summer of 1961, during deliberations over the creation of the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Joint Chiefs wrote in a report to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara that:
"national intelligence and military intelligence are indivisible in practice."
This important statement remains as clear, urgent and relevant on our 50th anniversary.
Anniversaries, however, require more than a look back. The full meaning of an anniversary requires that we also see our history as the foundation for DIA's contributions tomorrow.
And at this very moment that we are gathered here, thousands of DIA professionals around the world are forging our future in a highly complex and uncertain world, alongside our troops in harm's way, conducting some of the nation's most sensitive missions.
And as we look towards the agency's next half-century of contributions, we recognize our challenge: to build upon the agency's legacy by realizing the agency's full potential as the engine integrating national and military intelligence.
We will be doing so in an environment marked by accelerating change, risks, challenges and threats no less severe than those that have confronted this nation over the last half century.
And at those moments the nation leaders will turn to DIA for the nation's best all-source defense intelligence and the information required to prevent strategic surprise.
And DIA will answer those calls with its best analytic judgments based upon the best human and technical collection, as we have for fifty years. The men and women of this agency will deliver the information that commanders and policymakers need to know, not what they want to hear.
We will continue to speak truth to power because that is what the American people expect and deserve. That is our mission. That is what we deliver.
Let this time for reflection be a time to rededicate ourselves to our important mission. Ever mindful that no matter our accomplishments, we carry a grave responsibility to prove ourselves worthy of the public's trust every day.
As we leave this ceremony behind and begin our next half century of service, we recognize that this agency is more capable today than at any time in its past.
DIA's performance and contributions in the decade since 9/11 have been remarkable; some have said it represents our finest hour. Once a garrison agency with some deployments, DIA today is now a globally deployed professional intelligence service supported by a headquarters.
It has been a remarkable transformation, defined largely by an unrivaled commitment to teamwork. It is a commitment practiced daily at DIA that I believe is matched by others across the Intelligence Community.
Information-sharing, integration and cooperation always have been part of this agency's DNA, not because it's in vogue today, but because it's always been the right thing to do.
This is a legacy and an identity to be proud of. And it is a solid foundation for what the agency will be called upon to deliver in the years to come.
There are challenges ahead. This nation will be tested.
And this agency will be ready because inside DIA we never forget that, while much of what we do is secret, our work is a public trust.
We have a legacy worth celebrating. Now it is time for us to forge our future.
At this time I would like to call your attention to the screen for our tribute to the fallen.
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This page was last updated January 25, 2013.