NEW AT THE TOP
John O. Brennan
Position : President and chief executive, the Analysis Corp. (TAC), a Fairfax company that provides analysis and technology support to the federal government's counterterrorism efforts. TAC is a subsidiary of SFA Inc. of Crofton.
Career Highlights : Interim director, National Counterterrorism Center; director, Terrorist Threat Integration Center; deputy executive director, CIA; chief of staff to director of central intelligence, CIA; chief of station, Middle East, CIA; executive assistant to the deputy director of central intelligence, CIA; deputy director, office of Near Eastern and South Asian analysis, CIA; daily intelligence briefer at the White House, CIA; deputy division chief, Office of Near Eastern and South Asian analysis, CIA; chief of analysis, DCI's counterterrorism center, CIA; Middle East specialist and terrorism analyst, directorate of intelligence, CIA; political officer, U.S. Embassy in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Department of State; and career trainee, directorate of operations, CIA.
Age : 50
Education : BA, political science, Fordham University, including a year abroad studying Arabic and Middle Eastern studies at American University in Cairo; MA, government, University of Texas at Austin.
Personal : Lives in Herndon with wife Kathy and their son, Kyle, 19, and twin daughters, Kelly and Jaclyn, 17.
How did you get to where you are?
I decided to retire after 25 years in the federal government and try a new challenge in the private sector. . . . I like leading organizations, which I had the opportunity to do in the government by standing up the TTIC [Terrorist Threat Integration Center] and NCTC [National Counterterrorism Center]. And I believe I have a similar opportunity to lead and shape the future direction of the Analysis Corp. In the TTIC and NCTC, I had the opportunity and responsibility to lead a multidimensional organization with a variety of capabilities and employees from different parts of the government. I was invigorated by the challenge of integrating the individual organizations, databases and business lines.
I am a big believer in delegating responsibility and authority within the organization. But I am also a firm believer that leaders of organizations need to understand the business that they oversee and are involved in the day-to-day business activities, not from a micromanagement standpoint but from an awareness and guidance standpoint. I also think it was useful for me to have, early on in my career, specialized expertise, and mine happened to be on the Middle East and terrorism, to include Arabic language capability. This specialization opened doors for me to establish my credentials within the intelligence business, and overtime I tried to broaden my experience to include having opportunities to manage and lead the work of others.
The greatest challenge in the intelligence business is that there really is a high premium placed on accuracy of information as well as the intellectual and analytic rigor in one's work. There are major national security interests that are at risk. And the role of intelligence is absolutely critical, which was evidenced in the decision to go to war in Iraq. And every person in the intelligence community understands the importance of their role and strives to provide as much insight as possible to policy makers about intelligence challenges as well as the opportunities for U.S. interests. Lives are at stake of American citizens as well as lives of individuals who are helping the United States here and abroad.