The White House’s nominee for Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, began his military career in 1963 by attending the Air Force’s Signal Intelligence Officers Course as a distinguished military graduate from the University of Maryland. Clapper went on to serve combat tours in both South Vietnam and Thailand. In 1970, he obtained his master’s in political science from St. Mary’s University in Texas shortly before he was honored with a doctorate in strategic intelligence from the Joint Military Intelligence College.
Taking his classroom experience to the field, Clapper filled intelligence-oriented positions in Korea from 1985 to 1987. During Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, Clapper held the post of assistant chief of staff for intelligence at the Air Force headquarters in Washington D.C. After a 32-year service to the United States military, Clapper spent nearly four years as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency before retiring from the Air Force in 1995.
During his retirement, Clapper worked for several defense and intelligence contractors and also served as a senior member for the Downing Assessment Task Force, the group that investigated the 1996 terrorist-related bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. Five years later he became director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
Clapper was tapped in 2007 under the Bush administration to oversee all intelligence agencies within the Defense Department, a positioned he attained with the recommendation of current Defense Secretary, Robert Gates. Proving his credibility just two weeks in, Clapper began working to end the divisive electronic data program, Talon, implemented post-9/11 for the purpose of spreading information about prospective Defense Department threats. He was also instrumental in the 2008 requirement to monitor all Pentagon interrogations of detainees suspected of terrorism.
–Retired Air Force Lt. General James R. Clapper
-Seeking confirmation before the Senate Intelligence Committee as director of national intelligence
-Clapper has faced the nomination process three times (as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, to lead the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, undersecretary of defense for intelligence)
-Expected to address how he would approach the task of streamlining flow of information from the intelligence community’s 16 agencies
CNN's Pam Benson and Kim Magid contributed to this report