Director of National Intelligence

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Director of National Intelligence
Seal of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.svg
Seal of the Director
Dan Coats official DNI portrait.jpg
Dan Coats

since March 16, 2017
United States Intelligence Community
StatusHead of a federation of agencies
Member ofCabinet
National Security Council
Reports toPresident of the United States
SeatWashington, D.C.
AppointerThe President
with Senate advice and consent
Constituting instrument50 U.S.C. § 3023
PrecursorDirector of Central Intelligence (CIA)
FormationApril 22, 2005
First holderJohn Negroponte
April 21, 2005
DeputySusan M. Gordon, Principal Deputy Director

The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) is the United States government Cabinet-level official—subject to the authority, direction, and control of the President of the United States—required by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 to:

The Director produces the President's Daily Brief (PDB), a top-secret document including intelligence from all the various agencies, given each morning to the President of the United States.[1] The PDB is seen by the President and those approved by the President.

On July 30, 2008, President George W. Bush issued Executive Order 13470,[2] amending Executive Order 12333 to strengthen the DNI's role.[3] Further, by Presidential Policy Directive 19 signed by Barack Obama in October 2012, the DNI was given overall responsibility for Intelligence Community whistleblowing and source protection.

Under 50 U.S.C. § 403-3a, "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 his or her tenure in either position.

Coats being sworn in as Director of National Intelligence by Vice President Mike Pence on March 16, 2017.

The DNI is appointed by the President and is subject to confirmation by the Senate, and serves at the pleasure of the President. The current DNI is Dan Coats, who was nominated for the office on January 5, 2017, by then-President-elect Donald Trump.[4] The DNI and Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence both resigned with effect on January 20, Trump's Inauguration day. Pending Coats' confirmation, Mike Dempsey was acting DNI from January 20, and became a member of President Trump's Cabinet on February 8,[5][6] the first time that the DNI was a Cabinet-level position. The United States Senate Intelligence Committee held Coats' confirmation hearing on February 28,[7] which approved Coats on March 9, by a 13–2 vote.[8] The Senate confirmed his nomination with an 85–12 vote on March 15, and he was sworn into office the next day.[9]



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 Director of National Intelligence position. 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" his 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 US Intelligence Community.[10] 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 limited DNI role in leading the US Intelligence Community is discussed on the Intelligence Community page.)


The first Director of National Intelligence was US 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.[11] Negroponte was confirmed by a Senate vote of 98 to 2 in favor of his appointment on April 21, 2005, and he was sworn in by President Bush on that day.

On February 13, 2007, John Michael 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 most recently the Director of the National Reconnaissance Office, and previously the Duty Director for Science and Technology at the US CIA and earlier in his career the Assistant Director of the Justice Department's FBI.

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.[12] 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. Another blog entry by McCullagh on September 7, states that the DNI site should now be open to search engines.[13] This explanation is plausible because some software used for web development has been known to cause servers to automatically generate and re-generate robots.txt, and this behavior can be difficult to turn off. Therefore, if the web developers working for the DNI had tried to solve the issue by simply removing robots.txt, it would have looked like it worked at first, but then fail once the server had undergone a self-check for the robots.txt file.[14] robots.txt has been configured to allow access to all directories for any agent.

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.[15]

On July 20, 2010, President Obama nominated retired Lt. (three-star) Gen. James R. Clapper for the position. Clapper was confirmed by the Senate on August 5, and replaced acting Director David C. Gompert. The prior DNI was retired Navy four-star admiral Dennis C. Blair, whose resignation became effective May 28, 2010.[16]

Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)[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.[17] The budget for the ODNI and the Intelligence Community for fiscal year 2013 was $52.6 billion[18] and the base request for fiscal year 2014 was $48.2 billion.[19] The Military Intelligence Program (MIP) base budget request for fiscal year 2014, excluding overseas contingency funds, is $14.6 billion, which together with the NIP, comprise an Intelligence Community budget request of $62.8 billion for fiscal year 2014.[20] The ODNI has about 1,750 employees.[21]

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 a new organization focused on intelligence integration across the community. The ODNI has six centers and 15 Offices that, together with the centers, support the Director of National Intelligence as the head of the Intelligence Community (IC) in overseeing and directing implementation of the NIP and acting as the principal advisor to the President, the National Security Council, and the Homeland Security Council for intelligence matters related to national security. The six ODNI centers include:

  • Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA)
  • Information Sharing Environment (ISE)
  • National Counterproliferation Center (NCPC)
  • National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC)
  • National Intelligence Council (NIC)
  • Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive (ONCIX).

ODNI organization[edit]

The ODNI is divided into core, enabling, and oversight offices. The Principal Deputy Director (PDDNI) to the DNI, in a role similar to that of a Chief Operating Officer, oversees operation of ODNI offices, manages Intelligence Community (IC) coordination and information sharing, reinforces the DNI's intelligence-integration initiatives, and focuses on IC resource challenges.

Core mission[edit]

The core mission functions of the ODNI are organized under the Deputy DNI for Intelligence Integration (DDNI/II). The DDNI/II facilitates information sharing and collaboration through the integration of analysis and collection, and leads the execution of core mission functions. These include:

Mission enablers[edit]

Mission enablers include policy, engagement, acquisition, resource, human capital, financial, and information offices.


Oversight offices include the General Counsel, civil liberties, public affairs, Inspector General, Equal Employment Opportunity, and legislative affairs functions.[17]


  Denotes an Acting Director of National Intelligence
No. Director Term of Office President(s) served under
Position succeeded the Director of Central Intelligence
1 John Negroponte official portrait State.jpg John Negroponte April 21, 2005 – February 13, 2007 George W. Bush
2 Mike McConnell, official ODNI photo portrait.jpg Mike McConnell February 13, 2007 – January 27, 2009
3 Dennis Blair official Director of National Intelligence portrait.jpg Dennis C. Blair January 29, 2009 – May 28, 2010 Barack Obama
David Gompert official portrait.jpg David Gompert
May 28, 2010 – August 5, 2010
4 James R. Clapper official portrait.jpg James R. Clapper August 5, 2010 – January 20, 2017
Michael Dempsey.jpg Mike Dempsey
January 20, 2017 – March 16, 2017 Donald Trump
5 Dan Coats official DNI portrait.jpg Dan Coats March 16, 2017 – present

Directors by time in office[edit]

# In Office Director Days Rank by Length of Term President
ClapperJames R. Clapper
2,360 days (6 years, 168 days)
McConnellJohn Michael McConnell
714 days (1 year, 349 days)
G. W. Bush
NegroponteJohn Negroponte
663 days (1 year, 298 days)
G. W. Bush
BlairDennis C. Blair
484 days (1 year, 119 days)

Line of succession[edit]

The line of succession for the Director of National Intelligence is as follows:[22]

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


Principal Deputy Directors 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 – January 2007 George W. Bush
Donald Kerr October 2007 – January 2009 George W. Bush
Ronald L. Burgess Jr.
January 2009 – February 2009 Barack Obama
David C. Gompert November 10, 2009 – August 2010 Barack Obama
Stephanie O'Sullivan February 18, 2011 – January 20, 2017 Barack Obama
Susan M. Gordon August 7, 2017 – present Donald Trump

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 November 2010 – present Barack Obama, Donald Trump

Intelligence Community Inspector General[edit]

Name Term of Office President(s) served under
Charles McCullough November 2011 – present Barack Obama, Donald Trump

Deputy Directors of National Intelligence[edit]

Name Office Term of Office President(s) served under
Robert Cardillo Intelligence Integration (oversees collection and analysis) September 2010 – October 2014 Barack Obama
Peter Lavoy Analysis December 2008 – n/a George W. Bush
Vacant Collection April 2010 – n/a Barack Obama
David Shedd Policy, Plans, and Requirements May 2007 – n/a George W. Bush
Dawn Meyerriecks Acquisition and Technology September 2009 – n/a Barack Obama
Dawn Eilenberger April 2017 – 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 – present Barack Obama
Al Tarasiuk Intelligence Community Chief Information Officer February 2011 – 2015 Barack Obama
Marilyn A. Vacca Chief Financial Officer April 2009 – present Barack Obama
L. Roger Mason Jr. ADNI for Systems and Resource Analyses May 2009 – present Barack Obama
Dawn Meyerriecks ADNI for Acquisition, Technology and Facilities n/a – present Barack Obama

Assistant Deputy Directors of National Intelligence[edit]

Name Office Term of Office President(s) served under
Dan Butler Assistant Deputy Director for Open Source April 2008 – n/a George W. Bush, Barack Obama
Andrew Hallman Assistant Deputy Director for Intelligence Integration September 2010 – present Barack Obama, 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. ^ "Bush Orders Intelligence Overhaul". The New York Times. Associated Press. July 31, 2008.
  4. ^ "Trump selects former Indiana Sen. Coats for top intelligence post". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2017-01-23.
  5. ^ "President Donald J. Trump Announces His Cabinet". 2017-02-08. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
  6. ^ "President Trump announces his full Cabinet roster". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
  7. ^ Matt Smith (February 28, 2017). "Former Sen. Dan Coats to face questions during nomination hearing for director of national intelligence". Fox59. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  8. ^ Matt McKinney (March 9, 2017). "Former U.S. Sen. Dan Coats' nomination as director of national intelligence advances to full Senate". The Indy Channel. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  9. ^ "Dan Coats Sworn in as National Intelligence Director". 2017-03-16. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
  10. ^ Kaplan, Fred (7 December 2004). "You Call That a Reform Bill?". Slate.
  11. ^ "Robert M. Gates profile". The Washington Post. November 8, 2006. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  12. ^ McCullagh, Declan (2007-08-24). "Feds use robots.txt files to stay invisible online. Lame". CNET. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
  13. ^ McCullagh, Declan (2007-09-07). "National Intelligence Web site no longer invisible to search engines". CNET. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
  14. ^ "Auto generated robots.txt file in WordPress". Codegrad. February 10, 2013. Archived from the original on August 9, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-12.
  15. ^ "Director of National Intelligence Moves Forward with Intelligence Reform" (PDF). ODNI News Release No. 20-07. September 13, 2007.
  16. ^ Miller, Greg (May 21, 2010). "Dennis C. Blair to resign as Director of National Intelligence". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 3, 2010.
  17. ^ a b "Public Affairs Office, ODNI". Office of the Director of National Intelligence. ODNI. Archived from the original on 19 March 2013. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  18. ^ "National Intelligence Program" (PDF). Budget for Fiscal Year 2013. US Government Publishing Office. p. 85. Retrieved 14 Apr 2013.
  19. ^ "National Intelligence Program" (PDF). The Budget for Fiscal Year 2014. US Government Publishing Office. p. 75. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 April 2013. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  20. ^ "DoD Releases MIP Base Request for FY 2014". Department of Defense. Archived from the original on 12 April 2013. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  21. ^ Clark, Charles (September 2012). "Lifting the Lid". Government Executive. Archived from the original on 2 January 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  22. ^ "Designation of Officers of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence To Act as Director of National Intelligence". Federal Register. 78 FR 59159. 2013-09-25. Retrieved 2016-10-30.

External links[edit]