Acting Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency: Who Is David Shedd?

Monday, September 15, 2014

On August 7, 2014, David R. Shedd was named acting director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which gathers information on military activities of other governments and non-state actors.

 

Shedd graduated in 1981 with a B.A. from Geneva College in Pennsylvania and later earned an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

 

He joined the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and in 1984 began serving tours in Mexico and in Costa Rica. In 1993, Shedd returned home and started assuming gradually more responsible management positions with the CIA. Beginning in 2001, Shedd worked on intelligence policy at the National Security Council. He helped craft the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 that was enacted in response to the publication of the 9/11 Commission report. That law, among other things, created the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), which would oversee all U.S. intelligence efforts, including the CIA. Shedd moved to the ODNI shortly after its creation, first as chief of staff to the director, then as acting director of intelligence staff. When CIA Director Porter Goss abruptly resigned in 2006, Shedd was suggested in some quarters as a replacement, but President George W. Bush went with Michael Hayden instead.

 

In 2007, Shedd was named director of national intelligence deputy for policy, plans, and requirements, again working on intelligence policy issues. In 2008, after Barack Obama had been elected as president, Hayden and Shedd were both in a meeting with Obama, attempting to convince him to maintain the CIA’s torture program. To demonstrate what was being done to prisoners, Hayden had Shedd stand, then suddenly slapped him and began shaking him.

 

According to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Shedd “played critical roles in almost every ODNI initiative from 2005 until his departure in 2010.”

 

Shedd was named deputy director of DIA in 2010. He focused on Syria policy and warned that the conflict could be a lengthy one and would get worse regardless of whether Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad remained in office, according to The New York Times.

 

In May 2014, Shedd’s retirement and that of his DIA boss, Michael T. Flynn, were announced. Just three months later though, Shedd was named as the agency’s acting director.

 

Shedd is a member of the board of advisors of the Strategic Intelligence track at Patrick Henry University, a conservative Evangelical institution that, among other things, teaches creationism. Shedd has been known to quote Biblical passages in his testimony before Congress.

 

Shedd and his wife, Lisa, have two sons.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

Director and Deputy of Intelligence Agency Are to Retire by Fall (by Eric Schmitt And David E. Sanger, New York Times)

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