One-time critic tapped to head Defense Intelligence Agency

The Pentagon has nominated Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn to be its next intelligence chief, according a statement released on Tuesday. The move gives the reins of an increasingly important agency to an officer perhaps best known for publicly criticizing U.S. intelligence related to the Afghanistan war.

If confirmed, Flynn will head the Defense Intelligence Agency, which has grown in its importance and share of defense spending, as military and intelligence operations have merged through counterinsurgency and terrorism operations over the past decade. He currently is assistant director of national intelligence for partner engagement, working for Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Flynn, as intelligence officer to then-war commander Stanley McChrystal, became best known to outer Beltway circles after publishing a paper in January 2010 via the Center for a New American Security calling intelligence officers “ignorant” and “disengaged” from Afghanistan. Then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the time questioned Flynn’s use of the public forum to express his discontent, but his spokesman said Gates supported its findings.

Gen. David Petraeus later kept Flynn on board when he took over the war command.

Flynn will replace the current DIA director, Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess.

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