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About R J Hillhouse

  • Dr. Hillhouse has run Cuban rum between East and West Berlin, smuggled jewels from the Soviet Union and slipped through some of the world’s tightest borders. From Uzbekistan to Romania, she's been followed, held at gunpoint and interrogated. Foreign governments and others have pitched her for recruitment as a spy. (They failed.)

    A former professor and Fulbright fellow, Dr. Hillhouse earned her Ph.D. in political science at the University of Michigan. Her latest novel, OUTSOURCED (Forge Books) is about the turf wars between the Pentagon and the CIA and the privatization of national security.

    Dr. Hillhouse is an expert on national security outsourcing. Her controversial work has twice elicited a formal response by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence--the only times that office has ever publicly responded to the writings of a private citizen.

    She is a regular media guest and available for interviews.

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  • "This gripping blog is filled with compelling posts on private intel corporations, mercenaries, the CIA, and the War on Terror."
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OUTSOURCED.

« To The Spies Who Monitor Me: Security Issue | Main | DNI To Share Open Source Expertise with Intel Community »

June 18, 2007

Comments

Joshua Foust

While it is shocking, I guess it shouldn't be surprising. After all, McConnell is a classic case of the revolving door, moving between higher and higher government positions and executive jobs at various contractors. I mean, he moved into ODNI after being in charge of Intelligence and National Security at Booz-Allen, and after running a lobbying group for Intel contractors. That he has made utilizing intel contractors a new keystone of ODNI isn't really out of character, though it is most certainly outrageous.

Josh Rovner

McConnell's explanation is in the current issue of Foreign Affairs:

"The U.S. intelligence community's European colleagues... are able to build, launch, and operate a new satellite system in about five years and for less than a billion dollars. By contrast, a U.S. spy satellite system, although admittedly more complex than a European equivalent, can take more than ten years and cost billions of dollars to develop. This is due, in part, to the larger number of requirements the United States tends to place on individual systems and its higher aversion to the risk of mission failure, both of which increase the systems' complexity and the demands placed on the technology. If the U.S. intelligence community is to close this gap, it will need a more disciplined, agile acquisition policy. It was to this end that the DNI recently elevated the task of acquisitions to the level of a deputy director of national intelligence (there are four deputy directors)."

R J Hillhouse
McConnell: If the U.S. intelligence community is to close this gap...

Holy crap! We need those contractors to close the satellite purchasing gap with the Europeans!

Can a missile acquisitions gap be far away?

Retired

It looks like the intelligence community is on the same acquisition "track" as that of the Air Force, i.e., the contracting out of both technical requirements as well as program/project management responsibilities. A couple of decades of this resulted in the Air Force Space Command having almost no one in house below the rank of lieutenant colonel who knew how to manage a program. Now, systems management and integration contractors oversee design and build contractors, similar to high caste machines independently designing building android armies in Star Wars II. Could Dr. Hillhouse be the Princess Leia that saves us from this before it is too late?

R J Hillhouse

Princess Leia???!!!!

Just as I was starting to get on board with the dangers of the "acquisition gap" and identify with Dr. Strangelove and the mine shaft gap he warned the president about!

Aside from Princess Leia, excellent analogy with Star War II. The current trends are chilling.

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Acknowledgements

  • A tip of the hat to investigative journalist Tim Shorrock who inspired the name of this blog with his path-breaking 2005 article, "The Spy Who Billed Me."

    Shorrock has a dedicated web page on outsourcing in intel. It links to many of his articles which are must-reads for anyone interested in the privatization of intelligence.