James Clapper, a retired lieutenant general in the U.S. Air Force, serves as the country’s fourth director of national intelligence, where he leads the intelligence community and acts as the president’s lead intelligence adviser.
He was sworn in as DNI in August 2010, nearly six years after completing his tenure as director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, known as the National Imagery and Mapping Agency when he joined the agency as director in 2001.
Clapper’s government service also includes three years in two administrations as the defense under secretary for intelligence, where he served as the principal staff assistant and adviser to the secretary and deputy secretary on intelligence, counterintelligence and security matters for the department, where he also served as director of defense intelligence.
Directly following his retirement, he worked in industry for six years as an executive in three successive companies focusing on business in the intelligence community. He also served as a consultant and adviser to Congress, to the departments of Defense and Energy and as a member of several government panels, boards, commissions, and advisory groups.
He served in the Downing Assessment Task Force that investigated the Khobar Towers bombing in 1996, and was vice chairman of a homeland security commission chaired by former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore.
During Clapper’s 32-year military career, he served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency; assistant chief of staff for intelligence at U.S. Air Force Headquarters during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm; and director of intelligence for U.S. Forces Korea, Pacific Command and Strategic Air Command.
He started his career as a rifleman in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, served two combat tours during the Southeast Asia conflict and flew 73 combat support missions in EC-47s over Laos and Cambodia.
He is a recipient of three National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medals, two Defense Distinguished Service Medals, the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Coast Guard’s Distinguished Public Service Award, the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award and several other U.S. military and foreign government awards and decorations.
The NAACP recognized him with the National Distinguished Service Medal and has received the Presidentially-conferred National Security Medal.
Federal Computer Week named him one of the Top 100 Information Technology Executives in 2001.
Clapper holds a bachelor’s degree in government and politics from the University of Maryland, a master’s degree in political science from St. Mary’s University and an honorary doctorate in strategic intelligence from the then Joint Military Intelligence College.