Marine Corps officer takes Defense Intelligence Agency reins

26 Jan 2015 | Terri Moon Cronk Defense Media Activity

Surrounded by senior leaders in the defense and intelligence communities, the first Marine Corps officer to become director of the Defense Intelligence Agency took office Jan. 23 in a ceremony at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling.

Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart took charge of DIA and the Joint Functional Component Command for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.

Michael G. Vickers, under secretary of defense for intelligence, called Stewart a “warrior intellectual.”

“Vince is strongly known for his leadership,” said Vickers. “He mentored a number of our intelligence officers, and he will be a great leader of the Defense Intelligence Agency.”

While DIA has endured a lot of change in the last few years, Stewart will consolidate that change and lead the agency to a new level, according to Vickers.

Dedicated Warfighter, Respected Leader

Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, called Stewart a well-known intelligence professional, a dedicated warfighter and respected leader.

“I look forward to your strategic thinking and critical thought, because you are taking command when we are facing a strategic and security environment that’s more complex, dynamic and volatile than perhaps any time in our history,” Haney told Stewart.

James R. Clapper, director of national intelligence, noted that Stewart is the first Marine and the first African-American to lead a major intelligence agency.

“He’s always been a great champion of Marine Corps intelligence, which grew on his watch in size, capability and relevance,” said Clapper. “Everywhere he’s gone, he’s perfected the basics of intelligence work.” 

He called Stewart an extremely competent intelligence officer, a great Marine and an inspired choice to lead the agency.

Stewart, who was promoted to lieutenant general earlier that day, expressed his gratitude for the leaders he’s had during his career. 

“I really am standing on the shoulders of giants,” said Stewart. “While I’ve had the opportunity to serve in many positions, this is one of the greatest honors of my career. The opportunity to lead this magnificent organization is truly a unique and humbling experience.”

Building Upon the Path in Place

The new DIA director said his tenure will focus on striving for excellence in the intelligence profession, and building upon the path already put in place by his predecessors.

His leadership, Stewart said, is about carrying out the legacy set forth since the agency’s founding 50 years ago, setting an even higher standard of excellence and moving the agency into the future by focusing on the most important and difficult defense intelligence issues.

“It’s about building on today’s successes for a greater tomorrow,” Stewart added. “It’s about writing the next chapter, not a new book.”

The agency’s focus will continue to be one that supports military commanders in the field and defense leaders at home, according to Stewart.

“We must continue to meet new threats on the battlefield,” said Stewart, “and establish even better ways to outmaneuver our adversaries.”