Under orders to cut 20 percent from its budget, the Pentagon’s intel office also has to balance its commitment to new threats like cyber. By Stephanie Gaskell
The Pentagon’s top intelligence policy office is making staff changes to address new threats and meet expected budget cuts, including creating a director-level position to oversee cybersecurity and other “special programs.”
Marcel Lettre, the Pentagon’s newly confirmed principal deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, on Monday outlined a plan to cut the intelligence budget and staff. There are just under 200 people working for OUDI. Lettre said there will be cuts to both military and civilian personnel, including contractors, but didn’t say how many.
Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered his staff to reduce their budgets by 20 percent over the next five years. In restructuring, the intel office run by Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers will add a new “director for defense intelligence for technical collection & special programs” that will oversee cybersecurity and other programs – a move that illustrates the Pentagon’s attempt to protect important programs even in this new era of fiscal restraint.
Lettre told reporters that with the war in Iraq over and the war in Afghanistan winding down the office is facing “a different set of strategic challenges, many of which are enduring.”
OUDI’s plan to trim 20 percent from its budget includes some “modest structural changes,” including the consolidation of some counterintelligence and security experts to help combat insider threats, such as the shooting that happened at the Washington Navy Yard earlier this year.
The Pentagon’s ISR Taskforce, which had its hands full in Iraq and Afghanistan, will now be merged under the DDI’s Warfighter Support directorate.
Lettre said the changes are part of a move from a “heavy acquisition focus” to an “operational focus” and the Defense Department becomes “leaner and more agile.”
CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, this story has been updated to reflect that the indicated Pentagon staff changes come at the direction of Under Secretary of Defense Michael Vickers.