Two top Pentagon intel officials quit amid spat

Aggressive efforts to shake up the way the DIA does business rankled bosses

Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)

Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn
(AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)

The three-star Army general who has headed the Defense Intelligence Agency for less than two years is being nudged aside amid conflict within the agency and between the general and leaders elsewhere in the intelligence community, a senior defense official said Wednesday.

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and the DIA’s civilian deputy director, David Shedd, announced in a joint statement to the agency’s workforce that they plan to retire by early fall. They made no reference to their reasons.

A senior defense official said Flynn had already been considering retirement but was encouraged to leave early as a result of friction linked in part to Flynn’s aggressive efforts to shake up the way the DIA does business. The official spoke about the circumstances of Flynn’s departure on condition of anonymity in order to discuss internal matters.

The official said Shedd’s departure is unrelated to the conflict surrounding Flynn’s leadership.

In their joint statement to DIA workers, Flynn and Shedd said they were pleased with the changes that had occurred on their watch.

“We are proud of the legacy of sustained superb performance of the thousands of men and women we have served alongside throughout these many years,” they said.

The traditional role of the DIA has been to provide military intelligence, including insight into the makeup and capabilities of foreign military forces, to U.S. combat units and defense planners and policymakers. It also provides “strategic warning,” or the forewarning of imminent hostilities, insurgencies, attacks on the United States or its forces or allies, hostile reactions to U.S. reconnaissance activities and terrorist attacks.

Flynn, a career intelligence officer, has led the DIA since July 2012. Typically, the director’s post rotates among the Army, Navy and Air Force about every three or four years. Flynn’s predecessor, Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Burgess Jr., served a little over three years, as did Burgess’ predecessor, Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples.

Shedd became deputy director of the DIA in August 2010.

No one has been selected yet to succeed either Flynn or Shedd.

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