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Dennis Blair's Replacement: How about No One?

Bureaucracy is the problem, not the solution.

1:00 PM, May 22, 2010 • By JOHN NOONAN
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Now that Dennis Blair has officially resigned from his post, Obama officials are scrambling to find a new director of national intelligence (DNI). But why bother? 

Dennis Blair's Replacement: How about No One?

Unnecessary bureaucracy has a venomous effect on the national security establishment, whether it's infantry or intelligence. The director of national intelligence, which has ballooned to a 1500-man supporting office, was a top down solution to a bottom up problem. When the posting was created after 9/11, it was designed to address significant shortfalls in interagency communication. That problem was pressing and real -- and could have been solved with a few well-tailored internal policies and a modest cadre of motivated liaison officers. 

Acknowledging the fact that the DNI position was crafted with noble intentions, this is a case of the cure being worse than the disease. The office creates unnecessary turf wars and fiefdoms, adds another suffocating layer of management to a community that needs to be agile, adaptable, and motivated, and -- given the fact that the director of the CIA handled the DNI's duties for decades -- doesn't serve a discernible purpose. 

Secretary Gates recently said that he'd like to trim the fat off of the DoD's bloated flag ranks. Here's a good place to start: Don't replace Blair, dismantle the DNI office, and hand the duties of intelligence advisor over to Leon Panetta. 

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