Director of National Intelligence

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Director of National Intelligence
Seal of the Director of National Intelligence
Avril Haines
since January 21, 2021
Office of the Director of National Intelligence
StyleMadam Director
The Honorable
Member ofCabinet
National Security Council
Homeland Security Council
Reports toPresident of the United States
SeatWashington, D.C.
AppointerPresident of the United States
with Senate advice and consent
Constituting instrument50 U.S.C. § 3023
PrecursorDirector of Central Intelligence (DCI)
FormationDecember 17, 2004
First holderJohn Negroponte
DeputyPrincipal Deputy Director of National Intelligence (P/DDNI)

The director of national intelligence (DNI) is a senior, cabinet-level United States government official, required by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 to serve as executive head of the United States Intelligence Community (IC) and to direct and oversee the National Intelligence Program (NIP). All IC agencies report directly to the DNI. The DNI also serves, upon invitation, as an advisor to the president of the United States, the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council on all intelligence matters. The DNI, supported by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), produces the President's Daily Brief (PDB), a top-secret document including intelligence from all IC agencies, handed each morning to the president of the United States.[1]

President George W. Bush strengthened the role of the DNI on July 30, 2008, with Executive Order 13470,[2] which, among other things, solidified the DNI's authority to set goals for intelligence gathering and analysis and to set policy for intelligence sharing with foreign agencies and for the hiring and firing of senior intelligence officials.[3] The DNI was given further responsibility for the entire IC's whistleblowing and source protection by President Obama via Presidential Policy Directive 19 on October 10, 2012.

Under 50 U.S.C. § 3026, "under ordinary circumstances, it is desirable" that either the director or the principal deputy director of national intelligence be an active-duty commissioned officer in the armed forces or have training or experience in military intelligence activities and requirements. Only one of the two positions can be held by a military officer at any given time. The statute does not specify what rank the commissioned officer will hold during their tenure in either position. The DNI, who is appointed by the president of the United States and is subject to confirmation by the United States Senate, serves at the pleasure of the president.

Upon the inauguration of President Joe Biden, the position was elevated to Cabinet-level. The DNI attends all Cabinet meetings and liaises with the Executive Office of the President and other Cabinet secretaries in the execution of their duties.



Before the DNI was formally established, the head of the Intelligence Community was the director of central intelligence (DCI), who concurrently served as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

The 9/11 Commission recommended establishing the DNI position in its 9/11 Commission Report, not released until July 22, 2004, as it had identified major intelligence failures that called into question how well the intelligence community was able to protect U.S. interests against foreign terrorist attacks.

Senators Dianne Feinstein, Jay Rockefeller and Bob Graham introduced S. 2645 on June 19, 2002, to create the position of Director of National Intelligence. Other similar legislation soon followed. After considerable debate on the scope of the DNI's powers and authorities, the United States Congress passed the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 by votes of 336–75 in the House of Representatives, and 89–2 in the Senate. President George W. Bush signed the bill into law on December 17, 2004. Among other things, the law established the DNI position as the designated leader of the United States Intelligence Community and prohibited the DNI from serving as the CIA director or the head of any other intelligence community element at the same time. In addition, the law required the CIA Director to report their agency's activities to the DNI.

Critics say compromises during the bill's crafting led to the establishment of a DNI whose powers are too weak to adequately lead, manage and improve the performance of the intelligence community.[4] In particular, the law left the United States Department of Defense in charge of the National Security Agency (NSA), the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).


The first Director of National Intelligence was U.S. ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte who was appointed on February 17, 2005, by President George W. Bush, subject to confirmation by the Senate. It was reported that President Bush's first choice for DNI was former director of central intelligence Robert M. Gates, who was serving as president of Texas A&M University, but who declined the offer.[5] Negroponte was confirmed by a Senate vote of 98–2 on April 21, 2005, and he was sworn in by President Bush the same day.

On February 13, 2007, Mike McConnell became the second Director of National Intelligence, after Negroponte was appointed Deputy Secretary of State. Donald M. Kerr was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence on October 4, 2007, and sworn in on October 9, 2007. Kerr, from Virginia, was previously the director of the National Reconnaissance Office and the deputy director for science and technology at the CIA before that. Earlier in his career, he was an assistant director at the FBI, in charge of their Laboratory Division from 1997 to 2001.

On July 20, 2010, President Barack Obama nominated retired Air Force lieutenant general James Clapper as the fourth DNI. Clapper was confirmed by the Senate on August 5, and replaced acting director David C. Gompert. This followed Obama's dismissal of the third DNI, retired Navy admiral Dennis C. Blair, whose resignation became effective May 28, 2010.[6]

The fifth DNI, Dan Coats, the sixth DNI, John Ratcliffe, and acting DNIs Joseph Maguire, Richard Grenell and Lora Shiao, all served between March 16, 2017, and January 21, 2021, during the administration of President Donald Trump.

The seventh and current DNI is Avril Haines, who took office on January 21, 2021. The first woman to hold the office, she was nominated by President-elect Joe Biden on November 23, 2020[7] and confirmed by the Senate on January 20, 2021.[8]

Website issues[edit]

Declan McCullagh at wrote on August 24, 2007, that the DNI site was configured to repel all search engines to index any page at This effectively made the DNI website invisible to all search engines and in turn, any search queries.[9] Ross Feinstein, Spokesman for the DNI, said that the cloaking was removed as of September 3, 2007. "We're not even sure how (the robots.txt file) got there" – but it was again somehow hidden the next day. On September 7, McCullagh reported that the DNI appeared to be open to web searches again.[10]

Reform initiatives[edit]

In September 2007, the Office of the DNI released "Intelligence Community 100 Day & 500 Day Plans for Integration & Collaboration". These plans include a series of initiatives designed to build the foundation for increased cooperation and reform of the U.S. Intelligence Community.[11]

Office of the Director of National Intelligence[edit]

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 established the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) as an independent agency to assist the DNI. The ODNI's goal is to effectively integrate foreign, military and domestic intelligence in defense of the homeland and of United States interests abroad.[12] The ODNI has about 1,750 employees.[13] Its headquarters are in McLean, Virginia.

On March 23, 2007, DNI Mike McConnell announced organizational changes, which include:

  • Elevating Acquisition to a new Deputy DNI position
  • Creating a new Deputy DNI for Policy, Plans, and Requirements (replacing the Deputy DNI for Requirements position)
  • Establishing an Executive Committee
  • Designating the Chief of Staff position as the new Director of the Intelligence Staff

The ODNI continued to evolve under succeeding directors, culminating in an organization focused on intelligence integration across the community.[citation needed]


The ODNI leadership includes the director, principal deputy director and chief operating officer.[14] In addition, the Director of Defense Intelligence reports to the DNI.

There are two directorates, each led by a Deputy Director of National Intelligence:[14][15]

There are five mission centers, each led by a director of that center:[14][15]

There are also four oversight offices:[14][15]

Organization seals[edit]

United States Intelligence Community[edit]

The USIC comprises 17 intelligence agencies and organizations:

  • Air Force Intelligence
  • Army Intelligence
  • Central Intelligence Agency
  • Coast Guard Intelligence
  • Defense Intelligence Agency
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of State
  • Department of the Treasury
  • Drug Enforcement Administration
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Marine Corps Intelligence
  • National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
  • National Reconnaissance Office
  • National Security Agency
  • Naval Intelligence
  • Space Force Intelligence


Position succeeded the Director of Central Intelligence.

No. Image Name Start End Duration President(s)
1 John Negroponte April 21, 2005 February 13, 2007 1 year, 298 days George W. Bush
2 Mike McConnell February 13, 2007 January 27, 2009 1 year, 349 days
3 Dennis Blair January 28, 2009 May 28, 2010 1 year, 119 days Barack Obama
David Gompert
May 28, 2010 August 5, 2010 69 days
4 James Clapper August 5, 2010 January 20, 2017 6 years, 168 days
Mike Dempsey
January 20, 2017 March 16, 2017 55 days Donald Trump
5 Dan Coats March 16, 2017 August 15, 2019 2 years, 152 days
Joe Maguire
August 15, 2019 February 20, 2020 189 days
Ric Grenell
February 20, 2020 May 26, 2020 96 days
6 John Ratcliffe May 26, 2020 January 20, 2021 239 days
Lora Shiao
January 20, 2021 January 21, 2021 1 day Joe Biden
7 Avril Haines January 21, 2021 Incumbent 2 years, 319 days

Line of succession[edit]

The line of succession for the director of national intelligence is as follows:[16]

  1. Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence
  2. Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Intelligence Integration
  3. Director of the National Counterterrorism Center
  4. Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center
  5. Inspector General of the Intelligence Community


Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence[edit]

Name Term of office President(s) served under
Michael Hayden April 21, 2005 – May 26, 2006 George W. Bush
Ronald L. Burgess Jr.
June 2006 – October 5, 2007
Donald Kerr October 5, 2007 – January 20, 2009
Ronald L. Burgess Jr.
January 20, 2009 – February 2009 Barack Obama
David C. Gompert November 10, 2009 – February 11, 2010
Stephanie O'Sullivan February 18, 2011 – January 20, 2017
Susan M. Gordon August 7, 2017 – August 15, 2019 Donald Trump
Andrew P. Hallmana
October 30, 2019 – February 21, 2020
Neil Wileya May 13, 2020 – February 2021 Donald Trump, Joe Biden
Stacey Dixon August 4, 2021 – present[17] Joe Biden
a.^ Hallman's and Wiley's position was Principal Executive, which did not require Senate confirmation. The duties were the same as those of a principal deputy director.[18]

Chief Operating Officer[edit]

Name Term of office President(s) served under
Deirdre Walsh February 2018 – May 2020 Donald Trump
Lora Shiao October 2020 – present Donald Trump, Joe Biden

Director of the Intelligence Staff/ Chief Management Officer[edit]

Name Term of office President(s) served under
Ronald L. Burgess Jr. May 2007 – February 2009 George W. Bush, Barack Obama
John Kimmons February 2009 – October 2010 Barack Obama
Mark Ewing[citation needed] November 2010 – n/a Barack Obama, Donald Trump

Inspector General of the Intelligence Community[edit]

Name Term of office President(s) served under
Charles McCullough October 7, 2010 – March 2017[19] Barack Obama, Donald Trump
Michael Atkinson May 17, 2018 – May 3, 2020[20][21][22] Donald Trump
Thomas Monheim April 3, 2020[23][24]a – present Donald Trump, Joe Biden
a.^ Monheim became Acting IG upon Atkinson's being put on administrative leave on April 3. He remained Acting IG upon and after Atkinson's official removal on May 3.[24]

Deputy directors of national intelligence[edit]

Name Office Term of office President(s) served under
Beth Sanner Mission Integration May 2019[25] – present Donald Trump
Kevin Meiners[26] Enterprise Capacity n/a – present Donald Trump
Karen Gibson National Security Partnerships April 2019[27] – 2020 Donald Trump
Corin Stone[28] Strategy & Engagement n/a – present Donald Trump

Assistant directors of national intelligence[edit]

Name Office Term of office President(s) served under
Deborah Kircher ADNI for Human Capital October 2011[29] – present Barack Obama, Donald Trump
John Sherman Intelligence Community Chief Information Officer September 2017[30] – June 2020[31] Donald Trump
Trey Treadwell[32] Chief Financial Officer n/a – present Donald Trump
Catherine Johnston ADNI for Systems and Resource Analyses May 2018[33] – present Donald Trump
Roy Pettis[34] ADNI for Acquisition, Procurement and Facilities n/a – present Donald Trump
James Smith[35] ADNI for Policy and Strategy (Acting) n/a – present Donald Trump

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "CIA to Cede President's Brief to Negroponte", February 19, 2005, The Washington Post
  2. ^ "Executive Order 13470". Federal Register. National Archives and Records Administration. July 30, 2008. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  3. ^ Strohm, Chris (August 1, 2008). "Bush Orders Intelligence Overhaul". CongressDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2016 – via republished by Nuclear Threat Initiative at
  4. ^ Kaplan, Fred (December 7, 2004). "You Call That a Reform Bill?". Slate.
  5. ^ "Robert M. Gates profile". The Washington Post. November 8, 2006. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  6. ^ Miller, Greg (May 21, 2010). "Dennis C. Blair to resign as Director of National Intelligence". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 3, 2010.
  7. ^ Jones, Dustin (November 23, 2020). "Avril Haines Nominated As First Female Director Of National Intelligence". NPR. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  8. ^ Jones, Dustin (January 20, 2021). "Senate confirms Avril Haines as director of National Intelligence". Fox news. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  9. ^ McCullagh, Declan (August 24, 2007). "Feds use robots.txt files to stay invisible online. Lame". CNET. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  10. ^ McCullagh, Declan (September 7, 2007). "National Intelligence Web site no longer invisible to search engines". CNET. Archived from the original on February 15, 2014. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  11. ^ "Director of National Intelligence Moves Forward with Intelligence Reform" (PDF). ODNI News Release No. 20-07. September 13, 2007.
  12. ^ "Public Affairs Office, ODNI". Office of the Director of National Intelligence. ODNI. Archived from the original on March 19, 2013. Retrieved April 14, 2013.
  13. ^ Clark, Charles (September 2012). "Lifting the Lid". Government Executive. Archived from the original on January 2, 2014. Retrieved April 14, 2013.
  14. ^ a b c d "Leadership". Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  15. ^ a b c "Organization". Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  16. ^ "Designation of Officers of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence To Act as Director of National Intelligence". Federal Register. 78 FR 59159. September 25, 2013. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  17. ^ Collins, Carol (August 4, 2021). "Stacey Dixon Confirmed as ODNI Principal Deputy Director; Avril Haines Quoted". Executive Gov. Retrieved August 5, 2021.
  18. ^ "Andrew Hallman Joins the Office of the Director of National Intelligence as Principal Executive". October 31, 2019. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  19. ^ Poulsen, Kevin (February 12, 2018). "U.S. Intelligence Shuts Down Damning Report on Whistleblower Retaliation". The Daily Beast – via
  20. ^ Haberman, Maggie; Savage, Charlie; Fandos, Nicholas (April 3, 2020). "Trump to Fire Intelligence Watchdog Who Had Key Role in Ukraine Complaint". The New York Times. Retrieved May 24, 2021.
  21. ^ "Trump Defends Firing 'Terrible' Intel Community Watchdog as Republicans Question Sacking". Politico. April 4, 2020. Retrieved May 24, 2021.
  22. ^ Kelly, Amita; Neuman, Scott (May 24, 2021). "Fired Intel Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson Pushes Back On His Dismissal". National Public Radio. Retrieved May 24, 2021.
  23. ^ "Office of the DNI on Twitter". Archived from the original on April 4, 2020. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  24. ^ a b "Trump Fires Intel IG, Taps White House Confidant for Pandemic Oversight Role". Government Executive. April 4, 2020. Retrieved May 24, 2021.
  25. ^ "Deputy DNI for Mission Integration". Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  26. ^ "Deputy DNI, Enterprise Capacity". Archived from the original on October 22, 2020. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  27. ^ "Karen Gibson Named Deputy Director of National Intelligence". Executive Gov. April 23, 2019. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  28. ^ "Deputy DNI, Strategy & Engagement". Archived from the original on October 20, 2020. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  29. ^ "Assistant DNI, Chief Human Capital Office". Archived from the original on August 4, 2020. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  30. ^ "Chief Information Officer". Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  31. ^ "IC CIO Announces Departure" (Press release). Office of the Director of National Intelligence. April 20, 2020. John Sherman, Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the Intelligence Community (IC), today announced that he will depart the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in June to serve as the Principal Deputy CIO for the U.S. Department of Defense.
  32. ^ "Leadership". Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  33. ^ "Assistant DNI, Systems & Resource Analyses". Archived from the original on August 4, 2020. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  34. ^ "NRO Honored at Intelligence Community Acquisition, Facilities, and Log". National Reconnaissance Office. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  35. ^ "Assistant DNI, Policy & Strategy". Archived from the original on August 10, 2020. Retrieved August 9, 2019.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]