Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn (Staff)
Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and his deputy, David Shedd, will retire by early fall, DIA officials confirmed.
The men announced their intentions in a joint email to agency personnel April 30.
“As we look back on our nearly 70 combined years of service to DIA, our military, the intelligence community and to our nation, we are proud of the legacy of sustained superb performance of the thousands of men and women we have served alongside throughout these many years,” the email to the DIA workforce stated. “It has been our distinct honor to serve with you and so many others in defense of our nation.”
Flynn has helmed DIA since July 2012, while Shedd joined as deputy director in August 2010.
Flynn, the one-time top intelligence adviser to Gen. Stanley McChrystal in Iraq and Afghanistan, has not been shy about calling for change in DIA and in the broader defense intelligence community — an approach that insiders speculate may be behind his departure.
In an interview with C4ISR & Networks earlier this month, Flynn emphasized the need for intelligence agencies to work more closely in concert, and to get ahead of the technological curve.
“What we’ve found on the battlefield, we knew that working together and integrating people and capabilities worked. Integration is en vogue right now in the intelligence community,” Flynn said. “Everyone likes to say they’re innovative, but everyone also likes to say we need to be more innovative. Why can’t we be? Look at all the innovation exploding around us; why can’t we be innovating? The intelligence community has always been innovative but it’s like we have to force it into our systems. It shouldn’t be that way. We should be driving innovations and not being driven by new developments in technology. We should be the ones developing that technology.”
Rumors about Flynn’s departure began swirling as the news broke Wednesday afternoon.
According to the Washington Post, Flynn is being “pushed out” amid disagreements among intelligence community and Defense Department leadership. One of Flynn’s top goals since taking over at DIA has been to herald a new era of intelligence operations — one marked by collaboration and high-tech capabilities.
A senior official said Flynn’s push to get analysts “up and out of their cubicles into the field to support war fighters or high-intensity operations” did not necessarily sit well at DIA, the Post reported.
The notice to DIA employees highlighted the transformational work done at the agency to overhaul intelligence operations and business processes and to apply lessons of more than a decade at war.
“We have refocused emphasis on training, education and professional development. We have harnessed your creative power to grow the seeds of innovation. Our investment strategies are smarter,” the email stated. “We are a leading voice and implementer within the [intelligence community] for the seminal ICITE initiative. We have created a new science and technology directorate that now has considerable momentum. We are transforming our all-source analytic enterprise, especially in support of our warfighters. We have integrated mission services to provide seamless support around the world. And we achieved all of this and more, together.”