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activity that was previously done at the scores of worldwide listening
posts. Much of the Sigint flowing into these centers comes from satellites
and remotely operated stations.
Another problem created by the rapid changes in worldwide
communications technology is how to design the newest Sigint satellites
to target these systems. The enormously expensive eavesdropping birds
may be programmed in 2001 for a system or technology that becomes
obsolete by 2003. "We spend more money on one satellite in one year
than we do on all the analytic capabilities combined," said John Millis. "It
doesn't make a lot of sense doing Sigint from there anymore. Excepting
Elint, you shouldn't be spending one dollar more than we do to try and
intercept communications”regular voice and data-type
communications”from space. But we do make that investment. This is
something that we think that we have to move away from." The change in
philosophy is revolutionary in an agency that, since the late 1950s, has
moved nonstop toward space.
Because of the change, there have been repeated delays in completing
the next generation of NSA satellites, called Integrated Overhead Signals
Intelligence Architecture”2 (IOSA-2), while experts attempt to decide
which collection systems would be best. Originally the National
Reconnaissance Office, which builds NSA's satellites, said the new Sigint
constellation”a constellation is several satellites operating in concert”
would be defined by the end of 1999 and acquisition would begin about
2002. But now it appears that because of "the magnitude of the job," the
first systems will not be operational before 2010.
These are all areas where the House Intelligence Committee is
attempting to throw NSA a financial life buoy. "NSA now faces new, more
robust challenges, thanks to the explosion of the technology and
telecommunications industries," said its chairman, Porter Goss, in 2000.
"Each type of communications”radio, satellite, microwave, cellular,
cable”is becoming connected to all the others. Each new type of traffic
shows up on every type of communication. Unfortunately, as the global
network has become more integrated, NSA's culture has evolved so that
it is seemingly incapable of responding in an integrated fashion." Tim
Sample, who became staff director on Millis's death in June 2000,
minced no words in a talk to a group at NSA. He made it clear that for


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years NSA's leadership had simply ignored the agency's many problems.
Some on the House Intelligence Committee have been especially critical
of Barbara McNamara, a member of the agency's old school, who was
deputy director up until June 2000 and is now NSA's liaison officer to
England. "There was an attitude of, We'll do it ourselves, thank you very
much," said Sample. "We understand that there are some changes, but
we've been doing pretty well with what we've been doing, thank you. We'll
keep going." Sample assessed NSA's management problems harshly:


When it came to Sigint, we turned to NSA and we got a lot
of resistance. There was an issue of financial accountability,
and that was at best elusive. There was a sense of protecting
fiefdoms”and again we understand, we were hunkering
down here, for God sake, Congress is coming, don't let them
cut us again. We saw multiple efforts at projects throughout
the organization that in some cases were duplicative, and
were done more in the sense of the bureaucracy is not quite
working for me, I'll do it internal to my organization and that
way something might get done. Or there was a sense of
ownership within each organization.
We saw, we believe, that the agency was too insular. It
was that sense of we can do everything internally. It was a
sense of protection of people”which isn't bad, as long as it's
mixed with what kind of people do you need for the future.
What skill mix do you need to have. And then you help your
workforce get there.
From a management standpoint, we saw a major
protection of bureaucracy. Many managers, especially at the
more senior levels, didn't accept the writing on the wall. Not
just the Congressional writing on the wall, but the
intelligence, the target writing on the wall. That somehow in
our view, some of the management lost touch with the
workforce. And one of the most rewarding things I think I've
seen in the last four or five years is, if you dive down into the
workforce, the young people that have gotten into this game.
They have the same infection that almost all of us have had
when we started our careers in intelligence. It's a sense of
patriotism, it's a sense of accomplishment, it's a sense of
protecting national security. And many of them, we
thought”and not just NSA but other agencies”were
scratching their heads trying to figure out where are we
going? And that was important to us. So we're on a defensive
posture instead of an offensive one.



392
There was”and I know I'll probably get a lot of people
upset at this one”but there really was a philosophy of feel
better. Let's do some things to feel better about where we
are. And one of those areas was”without taking swipes at it,
because it was important”but one of the areas that was
emphasized was management awards. And I'm fully
supportive of rewarding people and of having agencies
rewarded for their efforts, of how they manage people and
how they manage organizations and how they do things. It is
an important part of life. It is an important part of human
value. It is not the most important part of intelligence. But
that's not the feeling that we had. We got the feeling that
that was a big priority.
And if you think I'm making this up, let me tell you one of
the phone calls that I got, that I will never, ever, forget. And I
will not tell you who called me. I will just tell you that this
individual was at the senior levels of NSA. And we were
about to produce a bill, and we were about to send it out the
door, and I got a phone call one morning”and this
individual said, "Tim, whatever you write, would you do me a
favor and not put it in the public bill." And I said, "Why? It's
unclassified." And the response was, "Because we're in line
for some management awards and if the media sees that, it
may ruin that opportunity." To us, that spoke volumes. To
us that said that many of the managers, including the senior
managers, were not quite with the picture, in our view.
And what we said basically was we see a lot of
management and very little leadership. And there is a major
difference. And we said that we saw a lot of people trying to
do a lot of good work, but that Sigint in the future was in
peril. And they were fairly harsh words, and they got a lot of
people upset, though my sense is for those in the workforce,
there was a lot of head shaking up and down, going, Yeah,
how do we fix this. And I will say this now, and I will say it
again and again, the issue here was facing change.


Asked in 2000 whether he believed Congress was attempting to
micromanage NSA”take over command of his ship”Hayden was
diplomatic. "Not Congress," he said. "We have occasionally skirmishes
with particular staffers, and those are honest differences of opinions. I've
got a natural inclination to think they're too detailed. We have a fair
amount of attention from Congress. . . . That's a good thing. What I
communicate to the workforce is: that says that what we do is important,
they're paying attention.


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"Now the dark side of that is they may have views on some things that
we're doing that we don't totally agree with. We'll get over it. The
important thing is that they care, and actually I have used that with the
workforce. I say we occasionally get the harsh words from our overseers.
Even when it's the harsh word”I'll tell you the exact metaphor I used.
You're watching somebody's kids playing down the street a little bit out
of sight, and they're soaping somebody's car windows. You kind of get a
little smile on your face”till you suddenly realize it's your kid. And what
happens then, you run out, you grab him by the ear, and you bring him
back in. That's a little bit like us and Congress. If they didn't care about
us, they wouldn't be making these statements that occasionally make us
less comfortable or embarrassed or feel that it's unfair criticism and so
on. But the underlying point is ... how important [Congress] thinks the
agency is."
"I think in the history of the agency, we were never a big player
downtown," said one NSA official. "Until Bobby Ray Inman. Bobby Ray
knew how to manipulate and he knew how to punch the buttons and he
knew how to ingratiate himself, and he had a reputation, and it was well
earned, as a straight shooter. But the problem was nobody else in the
agency knew how to do that. And they saw what he was doing but they
didn't understand how he was doing it or why he was doing it. So they
thought, If we ingratiate ourselves downtown, if we train our people to
respond to congressional inquiries, that this is okay. We'll figure out how
to do it. But they don't understand how to deal with Congress. I think
part of it is that the directors they brought up are political clowns,
klutzes, they don't understand how to deal with politicians. They think
that the aura of the agency will fake everybody out. And the problem is
that song isn't being bought anymore downtown. You can't go down and
say, 'Trust us' because it's no longer a question of secrets, it's a question
of money."


Realizing that NSA's very existence depended on reform, Hayden
issued an edict: "Our agency must undergo change if we are to remain
viable in the future." Nevertheless, he acknowledged that the attempt to
move an iceberg like NSA would inevitably produce fractures and
fissures. "There has been much discussion about this change," he told
the residents of Crypto City, "much agreement that it is necessary, but
some reluctance to take the actions to implement it."
Like someone who had just inherited an old car, Hayden decided to
call in the repairmen to explain what was wrong and offer suggestions on
how to fix it. He put together two groups to take a close look at what
makes NSA tick and directed them to write up report cards. One group
was made up of nineteen middle-ranking insiders, the other of five
outside experts on management.


394
The insiders, known as the New Enterprise Team and led by the
former deputy director for technology and systems, Jack Devine, were
brutal in their criticism. Hayden jokingly referred to them as "responsible
anarchists." "Absent profound change at NSA," they told Hayden, "the
nation will lose a powerful weapon in its arsenal. . . . NSA is an
organization ripe for divestiture: its individual capabilities are of greater
value than is the organization as a whole. The legacy of exceptional
service to the nation that is NSA is in great peril. We have run out of
time."
The team also made no bones about the source of the troubles:
current and past leadership. Without naming names, they were clearly
referring to then deputy director Barbara McNamara and past director
Kenneth Minihan as well as their predecessors. "NSA has been in a
leadership crisis for the better part of a decade," Hayden was told. "It is
the lack of leadership that is responsible for both NSA's failure to create
and implement a single corporate strategy, and for the complete
breakdown of the NSA governance process. . . . These short comings have
put us in dire straits. . . . Leadership has failed on multiple fronts. It has
not provided a corporate vision or strategy. It has been unable or
unwilling to make the hard decisions. It has been ineffective at
cultivating future leaders. And despite a decade of criticism from
stakeholders [Congress], it has failed to bring about real change. . . .
Indeed, the workforce has carried the NSA institution on its backs for the
better part of a decade."
The team also described the climate within the thick walls and high
fences in harsh terms, referring to "our insular, sometimes arrogant
culture."
Other criticisms included focusing on building bigger and better bugs
while paying little attention to the needs of NSA's customers”the White
House, Pentagon, CIA, and other users of Sigint. "[You] care more about
technology than about the customer," one critic told the team. Another
problem was duplication.
The outside team was no less sparing in its candor. Among the
criticisms was NSA's "slowness" in moving from old, comfortable targets,
such as microwave interception, to newer, more difficult targets, such as
the Internet. "Whatever the attractiveness of known targets and
technologies," Hayden was told, "leadership must decide smartly when to
move to more difficult but potentially more lucrative targets."
Like its in-house counterpart, the outside team also criticized the
agency's secrecy-driven culture. "Much of this can be attributed to the
historic insularity of the Agency," they said, "which grew up in a culture
of 'NSA doesn't exist and doesn't talk to people who don't work at NSA.' "
At another point, the team noted "the 'Super Secret NSA' image ... is no



395
longer useful to Agency needs."
Again, much of the blame was directed at the current and former
senior management, which cultivated not only a culture of excessive
secrecy but also one of fear. "We are concerned the present mindset
fostered a society where people were afraid to express their own
thoughts," the outside team told Hayden. "Even though people spoke to
us with true candor, they always wanted to avoid attribution because of
the perception that the information was going to be used against them."
Nevertheless, the employees made it clear that NSA was heading for the
rocks. "The staff knows NSA is falling behind and is not properly
addressing the inherent problems of the emerging global network," said
the team, "and the present management infrastructure does not appear
to be supporting the required changes."
"In a broad sense," Hayden said, both panels painted a picture of "an
agency that did not communicate with itself, or with others, well.
Which”my view now, not theirs”is the by-product of a great deal of
compartmentalization and insularity built up over almost half a century.
A management culture that found it difficult to make the tough
decisions, largely because the decisions were so tough." Also, he said,
"They found that accountability was too diffuse throughout the agency.
I've used the phrase, 'You damn near have to rent Camden Yards to get
everybody that thinks he has a piece of the action in on a meeting.'
Smaller team, which gives us a little more agility."
Hayden immediately set about implementing many of the panels'
recommendations. On November 15, 1999, he instituted "100 Days of
Change," an ambitious plan to put many of the reforms into place in a
little more than three months. At the same time, he sought to consolidate
his power in order to blunt any opposition from the conservatives. "Even
the best game plan," he warned, quoting legendary University of Alabama
football coach Paul (Bear) Bryant, "ain't got no chance if the players don't
execute it." So Hayden threw out the unwieldy senior management
groups that held much of the power. The Senior Agency Leadership Team
(SALT), the Critical Issues Group, and the Corporate Management Review
Group vanished overnight. The one management group he kept, the
Executive Leadership Team, he stripped to the bone, leaving only the
director, deputy director, deputy director for operations, and deputy
director for information security.
To help correct the budget problems that caused so much grief for his
predecessor, Hayden hired a chief financial manager, a first for NSA.
Going outside the agency, he chose Beverly Wright, a Harvard MBA with

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