DNI Deputy Cardillo:  Time to embrace and leverage an evolved and more connected world

Robert Cardillo, the Deputy Director for Intelligence Integration, Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) closed out this year's GEOINT 2013* Symposium keynotes midday Thursday, stating that his address was the appropriate bookend to his superior DNI Clapper's opening session on Tuesday.  Adding to Clapper's three S's, Sequestration, Snowden and Syria, Cardillo adding a 4th "S", Soviet, as a proxy for Russia and the emerging problem in the Ukraine.

At this point he reminded the audience that the world has evolved, it's more connected, and the intelligence community (IC) has to embrace and leverage capabilities in this new environment to remain viable.  A nod to NGA Director Tish Long's address, he pointed out that immersion is about overcoming technical inhibitions, but it's also about overcoming cultural ones following that "integration is not an object, not an endpoint, but a state."  He's heartened by Dir. Clapper's continued leadership of the IC, along with Dir. Long and many others--"there has been and will be 5-7 years of continuous integration with support from leadership" above.  One result is the creation of National Intelligence Managers who create motivation, space and conditions for conversations which otherwise might not exist.  Currently totaling 17, he provided examples of subjects such as "Korea" or "Finance" as subjects areas around which these conversations are built.

Earlier Thursday morning, during a press only briefing, when asked to explain "in plain words" his own job title, in effect, what intelligence integration really is, he said that position was created to merge responsibilities for analysis and collection together--a quick look at his bio explains his appropriate match for this position.  Cardillo is responsible for finalizing the morning Oval Office briefing for Dir. Clapper, usually spends his afternoons with other deputies in the National Security Council, and at the end of his day finalizes "the book"--the President's Daily Brief--also for Dir. Clapper.  In addition he's responsible for overseeing the National Intelligence Council--the group of aforementioned National Intelligence Managers.

When asked during the public address how the IC can address some of the historic disincentives to integration, he acknowledged that spending in stovepipes is often a roadblock.  The key is to reward the behavior you want.  How and by what incentives?  Those who engage in the marketplace will be rewarded with new levels of understanding--those who don't choose to engage will fall behind.

In both the morning briefing and the midday address he made a comparison between the cases for WMD in Iraq and in Syria.  With Iraq "we veered, we got off track" but with Syria, later, "we not only learned from our mistakes but we also employed what we learned."  He continued "we have to get good at telling our story and telling it publicly."  In the morning press briefing, Cardillo was asked about sharing with allies (including new "allies", such as Ukraine).  "There are risks--people we don't want to have information might get ahold of it.  We also consider what we think recipients will with with information--become overly alarmed or become overly confident?"  When asked what he recommended in the case of Ukraine, he paused:  "My job is to give the decision maker the choice--I empathize with the challenge of what to do--our papers have nice columns in black and white, but it's often grey."  More important, says Cardillo, is to consider 1) why does the President need to know X? 2) why now? and 3) can he do something with it now?  He shared that "the President likes to think contextually about a problem set.  That doesn't mean he needs to know satellite backflips or Gigahertz information.  The President respects the profession and trusts us to manage what's under the hood."

A photographic interpreter early on in his career, he said to the GEOINT community "I'm personally proud to turn in your homework everyday."  However, he feels that while "GEOINT's competitive advantage in intel is its openness, that openness is also its weakness."  Previously "the world was wired differently--we no longer have a monopoly, but we're getting over that."  In closing out his public remarks he stressed "if we don't embrace non-traditional, unprotected sources of information, we'll fade away.  Putting up those barriers undermines our mission."

Photo provided courtesy of USGIF

Published Friday, April 18th, 2014

Written by Wes Stroh

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