Understanding the President’s Cabinet: Director of National Intelligence
Religion & Liberty Online

Understanding the President’s Cabinet: Director of National Intelligence

Note: This is post #20 in a weekly series of explanatory posts on the officials and agencies included in the President’s Cabinet. See the series introduction here.


Cabinet position: Director of National Intelligence (DNI)

Department:  Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)

Current Director: Dan Coats

Department Mission: “The core mission of the ODNI is to lead the IC in intelligence integration, forging a community that delivers the most insightful intelligence possible. That means effectively operating as one team: synchronizing collection, analysis and counterintelligence so that they are fused. This integration is the key to ensuring national policymakers receive timely and accurate analysis from the IC to make educated decisions.” (Source)

Department Budget: The National Intelligence Program budget is $54.9 billion and the Military Intelligence Program budget is $16.8 billion. (Source)

Number of employees: Unknown

Primary Duties of the Director: “The Director of National Intelligence serves as the head of the U.S. Intelligence Community, overseeing and directing the implementation of the National Intelligence Program and acting as the principal advisor to the President, the National Security Council, and the Homeland Security Council for intelligence matters related to national security.” (Source)


Director Info

Director: Dan Coats

Previous occupation: U.S. Senator from Indiana

Education: B.A. from Wheaton College (IL) and J.D. from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.

Previous government experience: Along with being a Senator, Coats served as the U.S. Ambassador to Germany (2001 until 2005) and as a U.S. Representative from Indiana’s 4th congressional district (1981 to 1989).

Religious Affiliation: Presbyterian

Notable achievements:

• Served in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of staff sergeant

• Served as a member of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

• Served as President of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

• Served as co-chair (along with Senator Joe Lieberman) of the Center for Jewish and Christian Values

• Founder of  The Foundation For American Renewal

Notable quotes:

On Obama’s foreign policy: “On foreign policy issues, on which I’ve had a lot of experience, a president running around the world apologizing for America was just unacceptable to me. This foreign policy of hug your enemies and they’ll come our way is naïve and dangerous in a very challenging world environment right now.”

On character: “Character cannot be summoned at the moment of crisis if it has been squandered by years of compromise and rationalization. The only testing ground for the heroic is the mundane. The only preparation for that one profound decision which can change a life, or even a nation, is those hundreds of half-conscious, self defining, seemingly insignificant decisions made in private. Habit is the daily battleground of character.”

Previous and forthcoming posts in this series: Vice PresidentSecretary of StateSecretary of the TreasurySecretary of Education, Secretary of LaborSecretary of Defense, Attorney GeneralSecretary of the Interior, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of CommerceSecretary of Health and Human ServicesSecretary of Housing and Urban Development, Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of EnergySecretary of Veterans Affairs, Secretary of Homeland SecurityWhite House Chief of Staff, U.S. Trade Representative, Director of National Intelligence, Representative of the United States to the United Nations, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Administrator of the Small Business Administration

Joe Carter

Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).