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News | June 7, 2017

Incoming NIU President Discusses Academic and Leadership Philosophy

By DIA Public Affairs

Dr. J. Scott Cameron, recently selected to become the National Intelligence University’s new President, outlined his leadership and academic philosophies in a town hall meeting with NIU faculty and staff June 4 at the NIU campus in Bethesda, Md.

Dr. Cameron brings extensive national security, intelligence and higher education experience to his new role as National Intelligence University president. He currently serves as the Director of the Office of Weapons of Mass Destruction/Counterterrorism at the National Counterterrorism Center, having entered federal government service after serving 14 years in higher education in faculty and academic leadership roles at Washington State University from 1986-2000.

Cameron, who will begin his tenure in August, was selected through the most thorough and intense review process in NIU’s 55-year history. The selection board included members from across the Intelligence Community who evaluated dozens of qualified candidates in a nation-wide search.

In addition to the panel of senior executives from the Intelligence Community, the selection board included the NIU Board of Visitors and NIU faculty who provided feedback to narrow the selection to the top five candidates.

The top five were called in for face-to-face interviews and presentations to the NIU faculty, and in an unprecedented act of transparency, those interviews were open to viewers by VTC. After the panel narrowed the list down to the top two, those individuals were personally interviewed by the directors of several major intelligence agencies.

The final decision was made by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) director, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence and Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence.

At the town hall meeting Cameron told the audience, "Some of the perennial challenges that continue to impact the work of the intelligence enterprise will only be resolved by educating a new set of leaders differently; through world-class research that truly changes how we view and do our work; and by aggressive outreach to effect technology and knowledge transfer that will change our disciplines in ways that we're currently unable to do for ourselves. I’m here today because I believe that NIU can make that kind of difference.”

“My background is somewhat unique in the IC…we’ve successfully driven change in process, tradecraft, policy, laws, organizations, systems, and capabilities. I've been honored to be part of amazing IC successes and have lost sleep over a range of intelligence failures that few people will ever know about – the ones that could have cost us – but didn’t.”

Cameron’s wide-range of intelligence and security experience includes serving as the National Security Adviser to the Secretary of Agriculture after 9/11, serving in a Senior Sabbatical at the CIA, and at the National Counterterrorism Center leading intelligence management, analysis, collection, targeting support, tradecraft and capabilities development, advanced data analytics, science and technology, support to military and intelligence operations in the field, organizational reform, tactical and strategic operational planning, and policy support.

Cameron also discussed his immediate goals when he assumes the president’s chair in the fall of 2017, “My goal is for every member of the U.S. intelligence enterprise to think of NIU as 'my university. 'We must truly become the Center of Academic Life of the IC by ensuring that every member of the National Security Enterprise understands the role of NIU, utilizes its resources, and engages with, and becomes part of the NIU Community and its culture – regardless of whether or not they ever pursue formal education on this incredible campus. I look forward to building on the tremendous efforts made by NIU President Ellison and the rest of the NIU team to align the University’s efforts with IC priorities."

“Dr. Cameron is uniquely qualified to lead NIU as the university achieves its vision to become the center of academic life for the intelligence community (IC),” said DIA Director Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart, the selecting official, in announcing the appointment. “Dr. Cameron was selected through an extensive national search,” Stewart continued, “and I am confident that he will bring further success to NIU as it continues its growth and development into a national university dedicated to the intelligence profession and to excellence in defense of the nation.”

See Dr. Cameron’s biography here.

NIU is an accredited federal degree-granting institution whose main campus recently relocated to Bethesda, MD. Its alumni are past, present, and future leaders in the intelligence and national security communities and in the private sector. Notable alumni include a former director of national intelligence; former directors of CIA, NSA, DIA, and NGA; current and former heads of military intelligence; and a growing number of senior government executives and corporate leaders. For more information, visit: