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Public Statements

Disclose Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. CHAMBLISS. Mr. President, I rise today to pay tribute to LTG Ronald L. Burgess, Jr., the current Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and one of the Nation's premier leaders in the intelligence community and in the United States military.

Lieutenant General Burgess retires this summer after a distinguished 38-year career. During his career, Lieutenant General Burgess has been recognized with numerous awards and decorations, which include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, United States Special Operations Command Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, NATO Medal--Former Republic of Yugoslavia, Parachutist Badge, Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge, and the Army Staff Identification Badge.

As a driving force in the intelligence community, General Burgess will soon conclude a career marked by exceptional leadership and strategic vision, both of which have significantly advanced U.S. national security interests while also strengthening our national intelligence and military intelligence capabilities during a very challenging period in our Nation's history.

Throughout his time in uniform, Lieutenant General Burgess has demonstrated an unyielding dedication to duty and an innate ability to inspire enthusiasm and commitment to serve those he leads. Lieutenant General Burgess's selfless service to country and his unparalleled personal drive have been instrumental in transforming defense intelligence into a more capable and cooperative enterprise, providing the critical intelligence required by military commanders and policymakers both at the defense and national levels.

Commissioned as a second lieutenant through the Auburn University ROTC Program in 1974, Lieutenant General Burgess began his career with a series of assignments in armor and military intelligence units in Germany and Ft. Stewart, GA, where he was directly responsible for planning multiple highly successful National Training Center rotations, numerous command post exercises, and an Army training and evaluation program.

Lieutenant General Burgess was recognized for his meticulous planning and forceful execution of operational procedures which contributed significantly to combat readiness. Later Lieutenant General Burgess held a variety of key staff and command positions, including Assistant Executive Officer to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Washington, DC in 1990, and as the battalion commander, 25th Infantry Division, from May 1993 to May 1994, at Schofield Barracks, HI.

From July 1995 to May 1997, Lieutenant General Burgess commanded the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade where he served with great distinction. As commander, he provided outstanding leadership which led to the unit's operational success in support of the Commanding General of the United State's Army South and the Commander U.S. Southern Command.

During this period, LTG Burgess skillfully integrated a multi-disciplined intelligence force into an extremely innovative war-fighting asset while also expanding the brigade's regional focus through more than 150 operational deployments across Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, and Korea. While commanding the 470th, LTG Burgess also served as acting vice director of intelligence, and subsequently the acting director of intelligence for U.S. Southern Command. During this period LTG Burgess guided a continuous flow of intelligence analysis in support of the year-long Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement hostage crisis at the Japanese ambassador's residence in Lima. LTG Burgess's support was key to developing the detailed analysis required by U.S. military commanders, our ambassador to Peru and the President to make timely and informed decisions leading to the safe withdrawal of American hostages.

Following his assignment at U.S. Southern Command, LTG Burgess served as the Director of Intelligence (J-2) for the Joint Special Operations Command, JSOC, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, from May 1997 to May 1999. During this assignment, Ron's leadership was instrumental in supporting continuous global deployments as well as major exercises and highly complex joint-service training events.

Mr. President, in June 1999, Ron returned to the Southern Command as the Director of Intelligence, J-2. Among his achievements while serving in that position, LTG Burgess led an interagency intelligence effort to create a fused Colombian intelligence capability that enhanced military and police cooperation against illegal global drug networks. LTG Burgess led Southern Command's intelligence response to many challenges including potential migrant operations, tracking of Cuban exiles, hurricane and earthquake disaster relief, and sustained counterdrug operations in both the area of responsibility and throughout transit zones.

From June 2003 to July 2005, LTG Burgess served as the Director for Intelligence (J-2) for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, JCS. As the J-2, Ron directed all-source intelligence analysis and reporting for the Chairman JCS, the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, and Unified Commands. LTG Burgess served as the focal point for crisis intelligence support to military operations, indications and warning intelligence in the Department of Defense, and Unified Command intelligence requirements. Assuming control of intelligence operations only months after the United States and coalition forces invaded Iraq, LTG Burgess was at the forefront of providing timely and insightful intelligence for operational requirements in Iraq, Afghanistan, transnational terrorism, and all developing global issues affecting U.S. interests abroad.
In August 2005, LTG Burgess reported to the Office of the Director for National Intelligence, ODNI, where he served as the Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Customer Outcomes, Director of the Intelligence Staff, Acting Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, and acting Director of National Intelligence. During this period, LTG Burgess played a key role in developing and reforming the Intelligence Community during an unprecedented period of global change. During Ron's tenure at ODNI, his leadership was key during the revision of Executive Order 12333, which governs all intelligence activities, the development of the first-ever joint manning document for military personnel assigned to organizations outside of the Department of Defense, critical Intelligence Community managerial operations were overhauled, and innovative human capital practices were implemented under his watch.

After completing his ODNI assignment, LTG Burgess was appointed the 17th director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, DIA, in March 2009. As the Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence I have personally witnessed Ron's thoughtful and ambitious program to strengthen DIA's ability to address the ever-changing requirements of military commanders and policymakers at the defense and national levels. LTG Burgess has focused DIA on our nation's greatest challenges including Afghanistan-Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, transnational terrorism, and preventing strategic surprise elsewhere around the globe. In doing so, Ron has reinforced DIA's ability to surge in support of contingency operations and crises, successfully launching a 24/7 crisis analysis cell at the start of the Libyan crisis and establishing an Afghanistan-Pakistan Task Force that refined the agency's ability to support ongoing combat operations

As DIA was celebrating its 50th anniversary, LTG Burgess charted an innovative, five-year strategy to strengthen and unite the agency's core defense capabilities while also focusing the agency on warning, core mission areas, partnership, and performance. DIA's new strategy emphasizes best practices to support our warfighters and policy makers in an era of persistent conflict and enduring U.S. fiscal challenges and sets the path toward achieving the strategy's major theme of ``One Mission--One Team--One Agency.''

As Director of DIA, LTG Burgess has worked to strengthen and improve the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System, JWICS, the secure backbone for much of the U.S. Intelligence Community, the White House, U.S. combatant commanders, and allies. Additionally, he has led the effort to establish the Defense Clandestine Service, DCS, which provides enhanced collection capabilities in support of the highest priority intelligence requirements of the Director of National Intelligence, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretaries of the Military Departments, and the Combatant Commanders.

No matter the range or complexity of the issues, Ron always kept himself, his colleagues and subordinates focused on the fundamental obligations and responsibilities borne by those entrusted with some of the Nation's most important and sensitive missions.

He frequently reminded DIA employees, ``While much of what we do is secret, our work is a public trust.''

And consistent with that view, Ron emphasized at every opportunity the non-negotiable need for intelligence professionals to always demonstrate the highest degree of integrity, both personal and professional. He often counseled new employees, senior managers and military attach├ęs headed to new postings that ``integrity is needed most when it is hardest to maintain.''

Mr. President, while much of what is said behind closed doors at the Senate Intelligence Committee is classified, I can tell you, my colleagues and the American people, that DIA is held in high esteem by the Senate Intelligence Committee, due in no small part to Ron's leadership. DIA is an indispensable, principal member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and has strengthened its performance as the functional intersection between defense and national intelligence. LTG Burgess leaves behind a more flexible and adaptive agency, one that is much more capable of meeting our national security challenges. Under his leadership, DIA has earned even greater respect within the Intelligence Community and continues to warrant Congress' strong support and trust.

Mr. President, while the Army and Intelligence Community will be losing a leader who has answered the call time and again at such critical points in our Nation's history, I know that Ron will be happy to reclaim his Saturday afternoons in the fall to root for his Auburn Tigers, and that the Burgess family will cherish more time with a husband and father. Mr. President, I wish Ron and his wife Marta the very best as he enters retirement. On behalf of a grateful Nation and my colleagues in the U.S. Senate, I thank Ron and his family for his many years of faithful service and a job well done.

Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.

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