Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, stressed the importance of military intelligence and discussed his vision for the years to come at the Intelligence Senior Leadership Conference here last week.
“The changes that have occurred in the areas of operations that we are finding ourselves in are immense,” Flynn said. “Despite the fiscal challenges that we are likely to face in the coming decade, the increases in the demand for intelligence are unprecedented right now, and I see only an increase in the demand for even more and better intelligence in the future.”
DIA, which is a multi service joint agency, employs more then 17,000 military and civilians and just over 4,000 contractors. DIA is globally deployed in 139 countries. “We have the entire defense attaché system,” Flynn said.
“We really have to stress the training and education of the language and the cultural knowledge, and we really are going to have to step up our game.
“As the world has taken sort of shape we have really learned a lot about where we were in terms of sort of our legacy footprint and where we need to be in the future. I think that is really important,” Flynn said.
“I think where the DIA will move toward is a greater understanding of the culture of the societal structures within these regions that we are operating in, particularly places like Africa, places like the middle east, places like south Asia, places like Southeast Asia or the pacific basin. We have to have what I would call a much better fingertip feel for the environments in which we are operating within. And we will do that through presence, we will do that through a very well trained, sophisticated, well resourced group of intelligence professionals, and they are going to be made up of Army elements, Marine elements, Navy, Air Force and definitely our civilian professionals,” he said.
Flynn discussed how far the intelligence community has come in just the past years.
“The United States intelligence system provides the nation a strategic advantage when applied, when focused, prioritized and applied properly and that’s really, I think if I look back 30 years and I look back 10 years … we have really come a long way, fundamentally better then we were even just a few years ago,” Flynn added.
“The Army is the foundation of our military, and at the end of the day it is the building blocks upon which everything else will be strengthened upon so the military intelligence, the Army intelligence component that we train out here [is] filling most of the requirements out there today. And so when I look at the time frame I was here and then I fast forward through the last eight years, the extraordinary effort that the United States Army Intelligence Center has worked its way through to provide a lot of talented people in the foreign combat zones that we have in support of our forces, has just been extraordinary,” he said.
Flynn, a long-time Army colleague of Maj. Gen. Gregg Potter, commanding general, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, said he attended ISLC to demonstrate to the rest of the attendees how important the Army intelligence system is to the nation’s defense and how important USAICoE is to train the future of Army intelligence in support of the nation’s defense.
In a fiscally constrained environment deciding where to smartly invest in future capabilities to ensure our nation’s defense is also a priority for Flynn.
“As I go around to all the different services, service centers that train intelligence professionals … what I am asking for out here is some help with some investment decisions on training … focusing on the people that we are going to train and also looking at innovative ways to develop new tools for the people that we do train,” he added.
“Fort Huachuca is in great shape. Nobody out here has to worry about this place being looked at. This is a place where if I was investing, this would be a good bet, because of the amazing platform that it provides and just the classrooms, the futuristic classrooms that are being used.
“One of the things that Gregg Potter has done is he has brought in some of our flagship tools into the classrooms to ensure that when our Soldiers go to their units and they then deploy into harm’s way that they are using the exact same tools that they will use on the battle field, and he’s going to extraordinary efforts to do that,” Flynn said.