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News | June 5, 2024

David Cattler formally takes the helm as DCSA Director at Quantico ceremony

QUANTICO – David Cattler’s assumption of the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) directorship was formally recognized at a ceremony held at the National Marine Corps Museum on May 29, 2024.

“I am thrilled to have you aboard leading our nation’s Gatekeepers during this next chapter of DCSA,” said the Honorable Milancy Harris, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security, in her keynote speech while reflecting on Cattler’s extensive military and civilian experience.

“You’re taking the helm at a pivotal moment,” Harris told Cattler as more than 250 guests – including former and current senior Department of Defense officials, congressional staff and industry executives – joined DCSA leaders and workforce as well as Cattler’s family and friends to witness the official assumption of directorship.

“Your team has been planning and executing transformative efforts since DCSA was created,” said Harris, who officiated the ceremony. “I'm proud of the work they've done, mindful of what's ahead, and excited to see what will be accomplished under your leadership.”

After her remarks, Harris presented the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security medallion to Daniel Lecce, for distinguished service while fulfilling simultaneous roles as DCSA acting director and deputy director from Sept. 28, 2023, to March 24, 2024.

“I personally appreciate the stability, consistency, honesty and transparency you provided to I&S and to the DCSA workforce during the interim period between directors,” said Harris while presenting the award to Lecce, who continues serving DCSA as the agency’s deputy director.

“Dan launched a nationwide unity of effort roadshow designed to listen to the workforce and hear their concerns firsthand. By addressing these concerns and being proactive, Dan's actions ensured DCSA continues to be an employer of choice.”

Immediately after the award presentation, the moderator read Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s orders appointing Cattler as the director of DCSA. Harris presented Cattler with the certificate of commission, signed by Austin, appointing him as the new DCSA director with all the privileges and authorities appertaining to the office subject to the conditions prescribed by law.

In his remarks Cattler noted the attendance of Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines. “I’m honored you’re here,” said Cattler. “You’re a terrific leader of the intelligence community and in the international community of intelligence and security services. I’m proud to count you as a mentor and a friend.”

Cattler also acknowledged others in the audience to include former Naval Academy classmates, intelligence and security agency directors, senior executives, and key stakeholders such as Matthew Eanes, director of the Performance Accountability Council's Program Management Office within the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Cattler also shared why he was excited to lead an agency focused on security and counterintelligence after his many years of service in the intelligence community.

“I learned a lot about security while I was in NATO, especially that I needed to learn more about security,” said Cattler who previously served as assistant secretary general for intelligence and security at NATO.

Cattler’s 20 years of experience in national security and intelligence also included leadership positions as assistant director of National Intelligence and chairman of the National Intelligence Management Council within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

“There’s so much to appreciate and so much advantage in focused and purposeful integration between intelligence and security,” he explained. “It’s a real advantage for both missions.

“Security is about trust,” he emphasized. “We try to understand the threat and come up with ways to address these threats and manage the risks that they pose from a security perspective.”

Cattler reflected that since he interviewed for the position as DCSA director, he has come to learn “how significant, how broad and how deep our security roles actually are.”

The agency’s integrated security mission focuses on personnel security, vetting, industry engagement and security education in addition to counterintelligence and insider threat support. This focus enables DCSA to secure the trustworthiness of the United States government's workforce, the integrity of its cleared contractor support, and the uncompromised nature of its technologies, services, and supply chains throughout the country.

“I couldn't do my job in the intelligence community without superb security. I wouldn't know what to trust and I might not be trusted myself,” said Cattler. “At DCSA, we advance and preserve America's strategic edge by ensuring a trusted federal and industrial workforce and enabling industry’s delivery of uncompromised capabilities.”