OODA OriginalUncategorized

And I Thought Eliot Jardines . . .

. . . had the toughest most thankless job in the Community:

Agency: Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Job Announcement Number:

SALARY RANGE: 107,521.00 – 139,774.00 USD per year

OPEN PERIOD: Thursday, February 02, 2006 to Friday, February 10, 2006
SERIES & GRADE: GS-0300,0000-15/15

DUTY LOCATIONS: 1 vacancy – Washington, DC
WHO MAY BE CONSIDERED: Applications will be accepted from United States citizens and nationals.


The Office of the Director of National Intelligence seeks a highly innovative, experienced intelligence officer to champion innovation in the Intelligence Community. The new Innovative Advisor should have broad understanding of all aspects of intelligence work as well as being well versed in change efforts and creative management approaches in the private sector. This person should have outstanding leadership skills, including the ability to write and speak persuasively on behalf of the Office of the DNI. The Innovation Advisor will bring together the most creative and promising ideas being developed both within and outside the Intelligence Community to inform senior DNI leaders and to identify and work with IC components to act upon potential opportunities to improve US Intelligence.

Note the week-long open period. That’s code for: “We already know what non-innovative incumbent we’re going to reward with the job.” And GS-15? That’s not high up enough in the food chain. There are still people who will blow off a 15. Things get a little tougher when an SES calls.

I kid because I love. Let’s give them credit for making the effort and actually opening up a billet. Even if it is lip service, it is big, puffy, collagen-enhanced lip service. IC billets don’t grow on trees, and that they’re willing to open up a slot at that level is a positive step.

I would hope that former IOs who might now be involved in business (real business, not contracting) or academia would sign up. Alternately, any of those fresh young faces that have been brought on in the hiring rush, who aren’t tainted by the old ways and who are ready and willing to move and shake. The culture doesn’t exactly encourage people who are active on the “inside” to mingle with the people who can really bring some innovative thoughts and idea into the mix. I think I was fairly rare in that (for a time) I was willing and able to talk to internal and external R&D folks, sought out promising academic work that would apply to my own efforts, and tried to break out of the hamster wheel that is the intelligence cycle. Given my current status you can see how successful that was. Did I mention this would be a thankless job?

Will try to track this and see who gets the gig, that’ll be the proof in the pudding.


The more I think about this the more annoyed I get.

Ostensibly this is a position that is destined to break rice bowls and piss a lot of people off. There are plenty of SES billets to go around for people to oversee the status quo, but a measly 15 slot for the champion of the future. A hundred grand and change to promote innovation and speak for the DNI? Compare that to the compensation the head of In-Q-Tel gets – a place where they’ve been bringing in and building up innovations (albeit slowly) – and you wonder how serious they really are about making this work.

I probably hit the nail on the head about my earlier comment about the short open period, but as always, I’m hoping for the best.

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji spent nearly 20 years in the US intelligence community. Trained in both SIGINT and HUMINT disciplines he has worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. At various points in his career he served as an expert in information warfare, computer network operations, computer forensics, and indications and warning. A veteran of the US Army, Michael has served in both strategic and tactical assignments in the Pacific Theater, the Balkans, and the Middle East.