The Defense Department has begun a new effort to better integrate defense intelligence with the broader intelligence community and make the department a better, more versatile organization, a senior Pentagon spokesman told reporters April 24.
“What we’ve done here is we’ve formed a new effort here called the Defense Clandestine Service,” said Navy Capt. John Kirby, the deputy assistant Secretary of Defense for media operations. “It’s essentially designed to integrate defense intelligence capabilities with the broader intelligence community by leveraging unique military capabilities.
“It’s also designed to further professionalize our intelligence workforce and offer some career progression inside the intelligence community,” Kirby added. “And we’ll also provide general direct support, not only to DOD collection, but also to the intelligence community’s collection.”
Kirby said the intent is to use “existing capabilities and existing personnel to better focus on this particular kind of intelligence.”
He noted this new, joint effort, which has already began, is intended to be complementary to other intelligence efforts.
“I think the practical result will be a rebalancing of our efforts and our focus on the human side of intelligence collection,” Kirby said. “We’re very, very proficient at the technical side of intelligence collection and I think this will help us get a little bit better at the human intelligence effort.”
Another benefit of this new effort, according to Kirby, will be better career progression for military officers in the intelligence community as “another professional track for they can pursue.”
Kirby noted while the Defense Clandestine Service is a DOD initiative, it will be in support and complementary to the Director of National Intelligence’s work.
“Yes, there are other intelligence communities who do this and they will continue to do this,” Kirby said. “This isn’t about supplanting anybody, it’s not about taking over anything, it’s not about militarization of intelligence collection; it’s about making us better contributors to the overall team effort.”
Kirby emphasized this initiative will build upon the best intelligence practices and lessons learned during the past decade.
“We’re a learning organization and we’ve learned a lot over the last 10 years,” he said, “and one of the things we’ve learned is that we can do better in this realm and we can contribute better to the intelligence community across the interagency in this realm.”