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Mike Flynn

24 - Army Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn
2012 Rank: 17

Director, Defense Intelligence Agency
Flynn is one of the few military officers who have remained in the thick of military operations — virtually nonstop — since 9/11. From his post as the chief intelligence officer for three years at the toughest time in Iraq to his position as the intel boss for the International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010, Flynn has proved to be a driven advocate for improved sharing and cooperation among the military and intelligence agencies. His 2010 report, “Fixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan,” published by the Center for a New American Security, blasted the intelligence community for its fixation on terrorists and insurgents, and its inability to understand the human dimensions of what was going on in Afghan society. Flynn became deputy national director of intelligence the following year, and a year later, was assigned to lead DIA. Now, Flynn is shepherding DIA through the process of building out the newly created Defense Clandestine Service, designed to increase the number of DIA intelligence-gatherers around the globe. He has run into opposition from both the CIA and the service chiefs, who see it as a way to take away some of their human intelligence-gathering capabilities. The initiative is still working its way through congressional committees, and the high-stakes fight is one worth watching.

Intelligence Policy Afghanistan Special Ops Middle East Army