Robert Wallace spent a 33 year career with the Central Intelligence Agency and is widely known for the very well done books he and co-author Keith Melton have produced on the history, culture and tradecraft of intelligence (including the SpyCraft book which was turned into a Netflix series and the Spy Sites series of books documenting the intelligence history of Washington DC, New York and Philadelphia).
This OODAcast examines Robert’s career from the beginning, resulting in interesting stories and insights into his leadership and management style relevant to any leader in business or government today. His professional life began as he received an MA in Political Science from Kansas University in 1968 and then received a draft notice which resulted in his two years of service in the US Army, including service in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta leading long-range reconnaissance patrol teams.
In the CIA his initial assignments were as a field case officer. He rose through the ranks at the agency and was Chief of Station in three locations where he directed the full range of CIA activities. Upon returning to headquarters he worked on budgets for the agency and defended spending in front of congressional oversight committees.
In 1995 Robert became deputy director of the Office of Technical Service (OTS) and in 1998 was appointed its director. The OTS is the organization most analogous to the “Q” branch in James Bond movies, responsible for creating spy devices and capabilities necessary to conduct clandestine operations with safety and security.
You will find Robert’s observations on both leadership and management at the CIA not only interesting but directly transferable and applicable to leading any large organization. And his insights into the value of intelligence for the nation and the value of information for companies is also brought to light.
Robert’s book collaboration with Keith Melton began with the 2008 book Spycraft, soon followed by The Official CIA Manual of Deception and Trickery. Their Spy Sites trilogy captures the history of American espionage from the Revolutionary War to today.