ODNI shakes up the cyberstructure
If confirmed, Representative John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) will take over a reorganized office of the Director of National Intelligence.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence announced on Friday afternoon a reorganization to consolidate cybersecurity, create a military affairs adviser and close the National Security Partnerships Directorate (NSP).
The move was announced on May 8 by Richard Grenell, the acting director of National Intelligence, the same week that the Special Senate Committee on Intelligence held a confirmation hearing for Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) who was appointed by President Donald Trump to lead ODNI on a permanent basis.
According to the ODNI announcement, four separate cybersecurity-focused organizations will be consolidated into a single entity called the IC Cyber ââExecutive. “This position will provide a single ODNI focal point for the cyber mission, which will strengthen the cyber posture of the IC to better defend the national security interests of the United States,” ODNI said in a statement. The announcement did not include the name of the head of the new organizations.
âODNI will be providing additional information on the IC Cyber ââExecutive in the coming weeks,â Matt Lahr, DNI’s deputy assistant for strategic communications, told FCW in an email.
The most significant change appears to be the extinction of NSP, which, according to the announcement, will bring “all of the mission management functions of ODNI into one organization and integrate the ODNI partnership organization into the groups of strategic communication and information sharing âandâ will move ODNI from four directorates to three, reducing manpower and management overhead. â
Friday’s announcement appeared to take the Senate panel by surprise.
An intelligence committee official told FCW that the committee chairman and vice chairman Senses Richard Burr (RN.C.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) Wrote to Grenell asking him to consult the committee before making organizational changes.
“Not only has that not happened here, but they have yet to send the committee the notice from Congress required by law,” said the Senate official. “So we have no idea of ââthe reasoning behind the changes, or if they are wise.”
At Ratcliffe’s confirmation hearing on May 5, Warner said in his opening remarks that Grenell, in taking the interim head of ODNI, “quickly instituted a hiring freeze and a reorganization the purpose of which was not has not been communicated by the intelligence monitoring committees “.
Senator Martin Heinrich (DN.M.) also tried to emphasize this point during the Ratcliffe hearing.
âCongress did not authorize organizational changes to ODNI. We did not allocate funds for this purpose, but Acting Director Grenell reorganized the ODNI,â said Heinrich. “If this were confirmed, would you organize this reorganization and seek permission … from Congress to reorganize you if you deem it necessary?” “
Ratcliffe said he had “not considered or talked about any sort of organizational change” for ODNI.
In one late afternoon tweet, ODNI said they had “notified congressional oversight committees in advance of this announcement.”
Adam Mazmanian is editor-in-chief of FCW.
Prior to joining the editorial team, Mazmanian was a writer at FCW covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was a technology correspondent for the National Journal and held various editorial positions at the B2B SmartBrief news service. Mazmanian has written reviews and articles for The Washington Post, Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine, and other publications.
Click here for previous Mazmanian articles. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.