New DOD intel office opens this month

'The most pressing challenge facing DOD is arranging itself to operate in an environment where surprise is commonplace.'

' DOD's Stephen A. Cambone

As the head of a new organization intended to better share intelligence information across the Defense Department, Stephen A. Cambone is mostly concerned with avoiding surprises.

Surprises such as the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which revealed critical government intelligence failures. Intelligence agencies need to be more predictive and proactive to defend against such attacks, Cambone said.

'The most pressing challenge facing DOD is arranging itself to operate in an environment where surprise is commonplace,' Cambone told a congressional panel earlier this year. 'Defense intelligence has an important role to play in helping to avert surprise and mitigating its effects when it occurs.'

Cambone was sworn into his new post as DOD's first undersecretary of intelligence in mid-March after Senate confirmation. This month, the new Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence at the Pentagon opens for business.

Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld created the post to emphasize the importance of intelligence gathering and sharing. Officials said the need for a DOD intelligence unit was underscored by the terrorist attacks and the administration's war on terrorism.

The office will initially have 100 employees, who will come from throughout Defense, including command, control, communications and intelligence posts.

Cambone previously worked as the director of program analysis and evaluation. He also was principal deputy undersecretary of Defense for policy and director of research at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University.

Cambone's office will have responsibility for intelligence systems and programs currently under the C3I teams, he told Congress.

Coordinate intelligence

Cambone said he will work with CIO John Stenbit to coordinate intelligence and other C3 system efforts. Stenbit's office will continue to have oversight responsibility for Defense-wide C3I, as well as IT programs and budgets.

'I [will] provide intelligence information in a timely fashion that will permit [Stenbit] to adjust Defense-wide capabilities to meet emerging challenges and to support the combatant commanders, especially in time of hostilities,' Cambone said.

In a May 8 internal memorandum, deputy secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz further outlined the scope of the office and set mandates and deadlines for Defense agencies to work with the new unit.

At a press conference last month, Rumsfeld said the new office will 'help pull together [intelligence] agencies in the department so that they can interact with the CIA and the other intelligence entities in the United States government in a more professional and coordinated way.'

One immediate benefit of a senior-level office for intelligence in the Pentagon will be better contingency planning, Rumsfeld said. For example, the agency will determine if it is possible to increase the warning time an intelligence agency receives before an imminent attack, he said.
'That's the kind of a question that Dr. Cambone's office could then work with the intelligence community and make judgments,' Rumsfeld said. 'What would be the cost, and is it possible to increase warning time? Is the benefit worth the cost?'

Cambone said another priority is to increase the attention paid to counterintelligence.

'The end of the Cold War did not reduce appreciably the efforts of hostile espionage services to target DOD activities,' he said.

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