Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper said Nov. 2 that his agency would take control of $50 billion in intelligence spending from the Defense Department in 2013. (File photo / Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS — The top intelligence official said he has reached a "conceptual" agreement with Defense Secretary Robert Gates to take control of $50 billion in intelligence spending from the Defense Department.
One of the raps against the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has been that it lacks unambiguous authority to implement the remaking of the intelligence community recommended in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper, picked in June as the fourth director of national intelligence, told an audience here that his office is poised to receive clear authority over national intelligence spending, which currently is hidden in the Defense appropriation.
Clapper said he has "secured at least conceptual agreement to take the national intelligence program out of the defense budget" in 2013. He said that he was cleared to "publicly say" that the transferred spending will total $50 billion.
The agreement is "one specific way that we'll accrue more authority actually to [the Office of the Director for National Intelligence] in the execution of that funding," he told the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation Symposium on Tuesday.
Clapper was responding to a written question from the audience about the authority of his office after his presentation at the symposium, an annual gathering of intelligence contractors and government leaders that he helped create in 2004.
A defense intelligence official said the change will not have a large impact because the director already had significant oversight of the national intelligence dollars within the Pentagon budget.
"Really it's an accounting line. It doesn't change any of the authorities of ODNI," said the official, who asked not to be named.
• http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20101102/DEPARTMENTS01/11020303/1001">Clapper promises thought will go into intelligence contract cuts