At a Glance
- Career History:
Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence
(since April 2007); Director of defense intelligence, Directorate of National Intelligence (since April 2007); Director,
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
(2001-2006); Vice President and Director of Intelligence Programs, SRA International, Inc., Fairfax, Va. (1998-2001); Executive Director, Military Intelligence, Booz, Allen & Hamilton, Mclean, Va. (1997-1998)
- Alma Mater: University of Maryland, B.S. in political science, 1963; St. Mary's University, Texas, Master of Science in political science, 1970
- Office: 1400 Defense Pentagon, Washington, 20301-1400, 703-545-6700
Path to Power
Clapper has been devoted to the field of intelligence since launching his military career more than 45 years ago, attending the Air Force's Signal Intelligence Officers Course after graduating from the University of Maryland in 1963 with a B.A. in political science.
In his early career he served two combat tours in the Southeast Asia conflict, working out of South Vietnam and Thailand and flying dozens of combat support missions over Laos and Cambodia.
Clapper has confronted many of the thorny problems that surged during the Bush administration's handling of the "war on terror."
Within two weeks of assuming his position at the Pentagon in 2005, Clapper took steps to end the controversial Talon electronic-data program that prompted worry about Big Brother-esque surveillance of U.S. government dissenters. The program, implemented in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, gathered and spread data about U.S. citizens and others deemed a potential threat to Defense Department facilities. The fact that this group included peaceful American demonstrators and activists hit a nerve among civil-rights groups, and Clapper promised that a replacement system would "lay to rest the distrust and concern about the department's commitment to civil rights."
Clapper was chosen for his DoD post by Robert Gates, a fellow intelligence veteran who previously served as CIA director.
When first starting his under secretary job, Clapper was working among men who were colleagues for decades, including Adm. John Michael McConnell, the former director of national intelligence, and Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, former CIA director. "For intelligence," he said at the time, "It's really a golden opportunity given the assembly of the leaders"
After retiring from the military, Clapper made at least three campaign contributions: one of $250 to former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) in his 1996 bid for the presidency, and two more to former Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John W. Warner (R-Va.). Support for Warner's Senate career included $250 in 1996 and $1,000 in 2000. Warner, who retired in January 2009 after five Senate terms, was considered one of the Republican Party's top experts on military affairs.