Remarks for CIA Director John O
Addressing Challenging and
Consequential Issues of Our Time
Remarks for CIA Director John O.
Brennan as Prepared for Delivery at the National Defense University
Foundation American Patriot Award Ceremony. Washington DC, November 5, 2015.
Source : CIA.
Good evening everyone. Thank you all very much.
It is quite humbling for me to represent the women and men of
the Central Intelligence Agency, and deeply gratifying to see them receive such
heartfelt acclaim. They neither seek nor expect public praise, but I can tell
you that by virtue of the courage, skill, and commitment they devote to their
country each day, they have quietly and most certainly earned it. And I know
that the Agency workforce is very grateful for this outstanding award and
profoundly appreciative of the kind words spoken tonight.
I first want to thank Cathleen Pearl, Al Zimmerman, and
everyone at the National Defense University and the NDU Foundation. We are
exceedingly fortunate to have a great university here in our Nation’s capital
focused entirely on issues of national security, preparing our best and
brightest military and civilian leaders for the critical work that needs to be
done to safeguard our country and advance our national security interests around
At its core, CIA is very much a learning organization. Our
officers have both studied and taught at NDU for many years, and we have always
enjoyed a close and highly productive partnership.
So beyond the gifts of knowledge and insight from which we
have long benefited, tonight I thank our friends at NDU for honoring the
Agency’s workforce with the American Patriot Award, and for inviting our
officers into the illustrious ranks of past recipients.
I also want to thank General Paul Selva, Vice Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, for his gracious comments about the Agency. We at CIA are
very proud to work shoulder-to-shoulder with our partners in uniform in hotspots
around the globe. And it is true that the bond between CIA and America’s armed
forces has never been stronger.
I also want to express my gratitude to Ambassador Peter
Westmacott and, indeed, to all our British friends and colleagues who work
closely with us in seeking to make this a safer, better world. Sir Peter has
represented his country with tremendous skill and integrity, most recently here
in Washington as well as throughout his distinguished career. And I want to
reciprocate his praise for CIA with my own for the British services, which carry
out their vital work with nothing but the highest standards of tradecraft and
My thanks go out as well to the Assistant to the President
for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, Lisa Monaco, for her thoughtful
tribute to the Agency. Lisa is one of the most knowledgeable, talented, and
hard-working public servants in this city, and it is always a pleasure to
support policymakers like Lisa, who are expert in their fields and who greatly
value the work of intelligence officers.
I also want to thank the former Undersecretary of Defense for
Intelligence, my good friend Mike Vickers, for speaking on behalf of the Agency
where he began his remarkable career. Mike is one of the finest intelligence
officers of his generation and a truly outstanding public servant, and I’m glad
he could be with us tonight.
When President Obama asked me to serve as Director of the
CIA, I said that it would be the greatest privilege of my professional life. And
after more than two-and-a-half years in office, I can tell you that leading the
Agency has been everything I expected and much more.
I truly have the best job in the world. It offers the deep
satisfaction of serving our Nation and helping to protect our way of life, and
it offers the opportunity to address some of the most
challenging and consequential issues of our time.
But what really sets this job apart is that I get to work
with the most talented, dedicated, innovative, selfless, courageous, and
hard-working women and men this Nation has to offer—the men and women we honor
Because of the secrecy our work requires, CIA often comes
across as a faceless entity. But tonight’s ceremony is an important reminder
that our work is carried out by real people.
The women and men of CIA come from farming communities and
industrial hubs, border towns and bustling cities, the Sun Belt and the Rust
Belt. They are graduates of community colleges, military academies, state
universities, and the Ivy League. They are writers, runners, dancers, bikers,
surfers, and singers. And they are drawn together by their love of country,
sense of duty, and willingness to serve.
Vice President Biden once said that it takes a special breed
of patriot to do what CIA officers do. They do not come home to ticker-tape
parades. There are no ceremonies in the Rose Garden. They work in secret,
performing their jobs not for accolades or for personal gain, but because they
know their work is essential to our national security.
In every corner of the world and in its most dangerous
places, CIA officers have served wherever their country has needed them—sometimes
in force, sometimes standing alone. As I speak, they are working to disrupt
weapons transfers, counter cyber threats, foil terrorist plots, dismantle drug
cartels, break up syndicates engaged in human trafficking, and carry out many
other essential missions.
For nearly seven decades, Agency officers have gone to
extraordinary lengths to safeguard our Nation, advance its interests, and
protect its citizens. Along the way, they have never hesitated from taking the
risks and making the sacrifices necessary to defend our freedom and security.
Since CIA’s founding, we have lost 113 of our colleagues in
the line of duty. We strive every day to be worthy of their sacrifice, to repay
in some small measure the debt that we owe them, and to carry on the noble cause
for which they served and ultimately gave their lives.
And on behalf of our Agency family, I want to thank all of
you in attendance tonight—our brothers and sisters in the armed forces, the
Intelligence Community, the Foreign Service, law enforcement, and in other
agencies and departments across our government, as well as our overseas partners—for
your inspiring words of support and friendship, and for the wonderful
recognition you have given to some very worthy American patriots.
Thank you all very much.
Related Topic :
Challenges of Ungoverned Spaces" by John O. Brennan (13-07-2016).
Overarching Challenge of Instability" by John O. Brennan (29-06-2016).
IS a Formidable, Resilient, and Largely Cohesive Enemy" by John O. Brennan
Between Transparency and Secrecy" " by David S. Cohen (21-04-2016).
Has Become a Hallmark of Our Time" by John O. Brennan (03-03-2016).
Intelligence Is the Cornerstone of National Security Policy" by John O.
The OSS Legacy" by John O. Brennan (07-11-2015).
Challenging and Consequential Issues of Our Time" by John O. Brennan
: Between Policy Success and Intelligence Failure" by John O. Brennan
CIA of the Future" by David S. Cohen (15-09-2015).
Does Not Keep Secrets Merely for Secrecy’s Sake" by John O. Brennan
Intelligence in a Transforming World"
by John O. Brennan (13-03-2015).