Title: Standing Up the ODNI's Watch: An Interview with Dennis Chapman
Release Date: 2018-03-01
Document Date: 2005-10-17
Description: ODNI Watch is now operational. The purpose of the watch center is to alert the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to important events, maintain situational awareness, and provide external communications for the ODNI. The watch center aggregates tips on “important developments” from other intelligence community watch centers around the clock.
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(U//FOUO) Standing Up the ODNI's Watch: An Interview with Dennis
FROM: SIGINT Communications
Run Date: 10/17/2005
(U//FOUO) SIDtoday interviewed the Director of the ODNI (Office of the Director of National
Intelligence) Watch, Dennis Chapman , to learn about the Watch's status today and what lies
(U) Is an ODNI Watch in place yet?
(U) Yes, it's been up-and-running 24/7 since May 15th.
(U) What is its job?
(U//FOUO) First let me say what it won't do -- the Watch will not task the Intelligence
Community (IC). It has three main duties:
1. To alert the DNI, Deputy DNI, and the rest of the ODNI to important events worldwide
that demand their attention;
2. Maintain situational awareness; and
3. Provide external communications capabilities for the ODNI.
We also periodically issue a 1 to 1-1/2 page report called the "State of the Community" that
goes to the ODNI principals and highlights the intelligence communities response to specific
(U) Where is it located?
(U//FOUO) The Watch is currently operating from the National Counterterrorism Center at
Liberty Crossing in McLean, Virginia. It's a fantastic facility, but only a temporary home. The
Watch -- along with the DNI and PDDNI -- will move to offices within the Defense Intelligence
Analysis Center at Bolling Air Force Base around March of next year. Eventually, the entire
ODNI, to include the Watch, will acquire its own building and cease being a tenant of another
agency as required in the Intelligence Reform legislation.
(U//FOUO) My deputy,
, office manager
, and I are working out of NSA
HQ until we join the Watch at Bolling. We plan on retaining a beachhead here.
(U) How does the Watch operate? Does it look at reporting from all of the IC agencies?
(U//FOUO) No, we didn't want to get bogged down in looking at mountains of reports. Instead,
we're tipped by the preexisting IC watch centers - like NSOC, for example - to important
developments. Doing business this way keeps us a very lean operation and allows us to monitor
the IC response to events. In time, we expect to serve as a sort of umbrella operations center
for the whole IC.
(U//FOUO) The IC watches have all been terrific in the way they've dealt with us. By the way,
we try to deal exclusively with the watches, to ensure that everything funnels through them
and that they are in the loop.
(U) How big is the ODNI Watch?
(U//FOUO) Eventually it will be composed of 5 teams of 5 people each, from various agencies.
It's important to note that they work together as a team, not just as representatives of their
home agencies. An FBI special agent leads one team, a State Department employee has been a
tremendous asset... we're something of a poster child for how the IC can work together.
(U//FOUO) Each team has a Senior Watch Officer (DISES-level), an Executive Officer (a GS-11
or -12) and three watch officers at the GS-14 or GS-15 level. The watch operates on 12-hour
shifts with an innovative schedule that the watch-standers like very much. A tour in the Center
lasts 18 months and is considered a PCS.
(U//FOUO) There are also a few of us working as the "day staff" to support and manage the
Watch. Right now there are just three of us, but I expect that number to grow eventually to
(U//FOUO) We recently ran a vacancy announcement at NSA and throughout the community to
fill expected vacancies. Although the announcement closed on September 15, if anyone is
interested in learning more about the Watch and upcoming positions, they can contact
@nsa) or me
@nsa). Ideally, we're looking for people with watch
experience, good writing and communications skills, an awareness of the IC, and perhaps some
(U) How extensive are the computer linkages between the ODNI Watch and all of the IC
(U//FOUO) Our computer accesses are fairly good. Each watch-stander can log into the system
of his home agency - so an NSA'er can access NSANet, for example. In the future, we hope that
everyone on the Watch will be able to access networks belonging to all IC agencies. We also
want to develop more collaborative tools that fuse data from various Community sources.
(U) In the past, you have served as the Director of NSOC, the White House Situation
Room and the Office of Intelligence Support at the State Department.. How different is
this job -- Director, ODNI Watch Center -- from your earlier positions?
(U//FOUO) It's very different when you are starting something from scratch. It has its
challenges and frustrations, but it's been very satisfying!
(U//FOUO) For more information on the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, please
the JWICS or Intelink DNI homepage ("DNI Connection") ;
the DNI homepage on the Internet at: www.DNI.gov.
"(U//FOUO) SIDtoday articles may not be republished or reposted outside NSANet
without the consent of S0121 (DL sid_comms)."
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DERIVED FROM: NSA/CSSM 1-52, DATED 08 JAN 2007 DECLASSIFY ON: 20320108