An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

July 26, 2013

Lt. Gen. Flynn NIU Graduation Remarks – As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, Dr. Ellison.

Good morning graduates. It is my honor to congratulate you – in the presence of your parents, families, friends, staff, faculty, and honored guests – as you reach major milestone in your careers and in the history of NIU:

You are all graduates of National Intelligence University's 50th Anniversary Class!

As Dr. Ellison mentioned in his welcome remarks, this institution has grown tremendously in size and impact during its first 50 years: from humble origins as the Defense Intelligence School, housed in WWII-era barracks on Anacostia Naval Station to an accredited university that offers three degrees of intelligence.

This is a university that is expanding the literature of intelligence every day with books and hard-hitting research from the National Intelligence Press, a university that engages international intelligence leaders in common dialogue, and a university that continues to produce the current and future leaders of our profession.

This year NIU marked the occasion of the 50th anniversary with a variety of activities which, if I remember correctly, included a homecoming – although I'm not sure how that works without a football team or pep squad. We'll have to look into that.

But the 50th anniversary year has also been a milestone event in other ways. Most importantly, the quality and the joint nature of the NIU education you all received was formally recognized this year by our nation's senior-most military and civilian intelligence leadership.

In October, GEN Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, named NIU a Joint Professional Military Education Phase 1 schoolhouse, the first schoolhouse to receive this approval since before Sept. 11. Completion of Professional Military Education is an important career milestone for military officers – and necessary for future promotions. Just a few months later, in February, Director of National Intelligence, who I will introduce in just a second, took similar action by designating full-time master's study at NIU a joint duty qualifying experience for Intelligence Community civilians – which is a truly tremendous opportunity for our young and talented civilian workforce.

These two milestone achievements highlight the fact that this university is doing exactly what it should be doing: integrating intelligence one student at a time while graduating leaders for a safer and more secure nation.

Director Clapper, in my role as your Executive Agent for the National Intelligence University, I can assure you that this institution has both very deep roots and a very bright future. NIU is well on its way to achieving its vision of becoming the Center of Academic Life for the Intelligence Community.

To the Class of 2013: CONGRATULATIONS. Well done! You should be immensely proud of yourself. You have tackled rigorous coursework in a challenging field of immense importance to the nation. And I've heard that you've excelled.

According to one of the leaders who sat in on a CAPSTONE briefing with the bachelors students, "The NIU bachelor's students produce briefings which are on par with those done by students at the National War College." Now that is quite the compliment.

And the list of thesis titles from the masters students covers almost every corner of the globe – from China, Iran, North Korea, the Middle East, India, Africa, the Philippines, Latin America, to here in the United States – covering the most vital issues we wrestle with in the IC every day – Terrorism, Cyber threats, counter-intelligence, Space, Drug trafficking, Human Trafficking, regional instability … and so many others.

As our nation will no doubt face daunting security challenges in the years ahead, I have full confidence that you students are ready to assume the mantles of leadership in your organizations.

The common bonds that you formed through joint study here are crucial. Remember that each of you is a force for integration and collaboration – which are the keys to avoiding strategic surprise and providing our national leaders crucial decision advantage. I challenge each of you to carry forward NIU's culture of integration as you move to your next duty station, and I challenge each of you to mold the IC into the organization it needs to be for the future.

It is entirely fitting that on this, the culminating event of the 50th anniversary of this fine institution, we are joined by some of the most distinguished members of our profession, including Director Clapper and General John Allen, Class of 1984.

It is an honor for me to introduce our commencement speaker:

The Honorable James R. Clapper, the fourth Director of National Intelligence, has a long and deep track record of support for intelligence education and is a very special friend to NIU.

As DIA Director 1992-1995, he was the Executive Agent for the school. In the mid-1990s, he served as an instructor in the graduate program, teaching a course entitled "The Future of the Intelligence Community" on Saturday mornings, and he was the chair of several master's thesis committees – hopefully he wasn't too hard on them.

Director Clapper was awarded an honorary Doctor of Strategic Intelligence by NIU in 1995, and he returned again as the commencement speaker in 2007 and was made an "honorary member of the Class of '007."

He has been a guest of honor at several alumni dinners over the years, and it was through Director Clapper's leadership that this institution finally became the National Intelligence University in 2011.

Ladies and Gentleman, the Director of National Intelligence.