Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart takes over at DIA
In a ceremony presided over by the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart assumed directorship from Acting Director David Shedd on January 23 in DIA Headquarters.
Dr. Michael Vickers highlighted Stewart’s leadership acumen and noted his history as a mentor. “[Stewart] began his career as a platoon commander, so he can bring out the big guns…but he’s also one of our warrior intellectuals,” Vickers said.
Many prominent defense and intelligence leaders were in attendance to welcome Stewart and bid farewell to Shedd, including FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo.
Stewart took the podium to thank his new colleagues and address the DIA workforce for the first time.
“My tenure here will not be about reversing the past or reinventing the agency or its mission,” Stewart said. “It will be about continuity and striving for excellence in our profession. … It’s about writing the next chapter, not a new book.”
“This requires a diverse and talented workforce motivated to solve problems and serve their country,” Stewart continued. “It will be my job and the job of the agency leaders to empower and lead this workforce and this is my pledge to you. In return I ask each of you, every day to bring your A-game – to innovate, challenge the status quo, speak truth to power, and do all we can do; just do it better.”
During the ceremony, Stewart was also given command of the Joint Functional Component Command for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance by Commander of U.S. Strategic Command Adm. Cecil Haney.
“I look forward to your strategic and critical thinking [because] you are taking command at a time when our strategic environment is more volatile than perhaps at any other time in our history,” Haney said to Stewart.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper spoke to Stewart’s successful career as a Marine and welcomed him to DIA, highlighting his reputation for getting “back to basics.”
“An intel agency organization bringing Vince aboard is a lot like your favorite football team hiring a new coach, one who’s competent with strategy and the X’s and O’s, but who puts the focus first on tackling form and blocking technique,” Clapper said.
In addition to welcoming a new director, Friday’s event was a celebration of Shedd’s distinguished career that spans more than three decades. He began his career at CIA, going on to hold increasingly senior positions at the agency and eventually serving at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence as the chief of staff, acting director of the intelligence staff, and deputy director for policy, plans and requirements. He was named acting director of DIA after serving four years as deputy director.
“Three things come to mind when you think of David,” Vickers said. “He’s been a visionary. He’s a champion of collaboration, and probably most importantly, he’s a true servant leader.”
Fellow intelligence agency directors in attendance also praised Shedd’s work throughout his career and presented Shedd with medallions and mementos, thanking him for his service.
The event concluded with Shedd offering a few remarks to his colleagues, employees, and international partners.
“My colleagues: From entry level to senior officers at DIA, you are Simon Sinek’s ‘why’ in defining DIA’s relevancy, which is now greater today than at any time in the agency’s history,” Shedd concluded. “Lt. Gen. Stewart… you have a great responsibility to ensure DIA continues this trajectory of improving intelligence collection, analysis, science and technology developments, and all the mission enabling underpinnings that define the agency’s future success.”