Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis, Department of Homeland Security: Who Is Francis X. Taylor?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Francis Xavier Taylor was confirmed April 7, 2014, as the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) under secretary for intelligence and analysis. As the head of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, he is responsible for gathering intelligence from other government and non-government sources on potential threats to U.S. national security.


Taylor was born October 22, 1948, in Washington, D.C. His mother was a single parent who worked for the Department of the Army. Taylor graduated from Dunbar High School in Washington in 1966. He went to the University of Notre Dame, where he was in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC). Upon graduation with a B.A. in government and international studies in 1970, Taylor was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.

His first assignment in the Air Force was in its Office of Special Investigations. After some initial training, Taylor was an analyst in the counterintelligence division, focusing on the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.


In 1972, Taylor returned to Notre Dame, working on his M.A. in government and international studies, which he received in 1974. After earning his degree, Taylor returned to duty in the Office of Special Investigations. For about the next decade, he worked his way up the ranks, mostly working in Washington, but with one posting to Turkey.


Taylor took a year beginning in 1983 to study at the Armed Forces Staff College. Following that, he was named deputy director for operations in the Directorate of Counterintelligence and Investigative Programs, Office of the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy. He remained in that post until 1987, when he took another year for study, this time at the Air War College.


By this time, Taylor had worked his way well up the promotion ladder. His next assignment was as deputy commander of the 487th Combat Support Group at Comiso Air Station, Italy. He returned to special investigations in 1990, being named commander of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations in Osan Air Base, South Korea. In 1992, Taylor returned to Washington, taking on progressively more responsible positions in special investigations. He won his brigadier general’s star in 1996, and in 1998, he was named commander of Air Force special investigations. He held that job until 2001, when he retired from the Air Force after 31 years.


In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Taylor to be coordinator for counterterrorism for the Department of State, holding the rank of ambassador in the post. During the time he was in that post, he contradicted the Bush administration’s claim that Iraq had links to Mohamed Atta, the suspected ringleader in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In 2002, Taylor was made responsible for diplomatic security in the post of assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security and director of the Office of Foreign Missions.


In 2005, Taylor left government service to become chief security officer at General Electric, a position he held until 2013, when he started a consulting firm.


Taylor is married with three children, Jacquis, Justin, and Shari. His wife, Constance, is part owner of a catering firm. Taylor wasn’t the only member of his family to make a career in the military. His late brother Benjamin served in the Army for 20 years.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Statement of Francis X. Taylor, Nominee for Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis, Department of Homeland Security (pdf)

Obama Nominates Francis Taylor as Next Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis at DHS (by Jacob Goodwin, Intelligence Community News)


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