WASHINGTON, May 24 (UPI) -- The Pentagon's civilian chief of intelligence is now also director of defense intelligence in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
The move is meant to improve intelligence coordination between the 16 intelligence agencies, and was hinted at by the central players in congressional testimony early this year.
Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, will now also report to the national intelligence director, Mike McConnell. Clapper was confirmed as undersecretary of defense for intelligence in April. At his nominating hearing he told the Senate panel that he and McConnell had been friends for 20 years.
"I anticipate a very close, productive relationship with" him, Clapper said.
Clapper, who headed the NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency) from 2001 until 2006 and previously led the Defense Intelligence Agency, was an early and vocal supporter for a strong director of national intelligence office. He told Congress in 2004 he would support the transfer of NGA from the Defense Department to ODNI oversight, contradicting the views of then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
"I believe there are improvements that can be made by clarifying this relationship institutionally and partnering with the DNI to manage intelligence as a seamless enterprise," Clapper said at his April confirmation hearing.
In the Defense Department alone, there are eight main intelligence activities: service intelligence offices, the Joint Staff and combatant command intelligence directorate, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates and McConnell signed a memorandum of agreement this week dual-hatting the office.