Monday, January 30, 2012

Forster takes the conn

John Forster is the new Chief of CSE effective today.

His official bio is live at the CSE website.

According to that document, Forster is both "Deputy Head and Chief" of CSE.

Deputy Head? What the heck is that supposed to mean? I am not versed in the ways of these bureaucratic folk and their customs are strange to me. However, I do note that John Adams was never described as Deputy Head. He was an Associate Deputy Minister of National Defence. Is Deputy Head supposed to be the equivalent of that position -- or maybe even the equivalent of Deputy Minister -- now that CSE is a stand-alone agency?

And if Forster is Deputy Head, who, as Patrick McGoohan would say, is Number One?

Who is The Head?

The Minister? Is Peter MacKay now the Head of CSE?

I keep asking questions and no one ever answers them for me. It may have something to do with the fact that I chose to write a blog about people who are sworn to secrecy. Yes, that could be it.

But CSE does have a lone, overworked Media Relations Officer. I will ask him about this Deputy Head business and report back.

[Update 1 February 2012:

Adrian Simpson, CSE's Senior Communications Advisor, answered my questions:
With the establishment of CSEC as a stand-alone agency in November 2011, the Chief also became Deputy Head of CSEC. In relation to a stand-alone agency, Deputy Head means its chief executive officer. The Chief is the highest ranking official at CSEC. The Minister of National Defence is the Head of CSEC. The Chief reports directly to the Minister of National Defence, who in turn is accountable to Parliament for all matters relating to CSEC.
So there you have it. Peter MacKay is Number One, but the Chief still runs the place. Me, I'm not a number.

I also asked Mr. Simpson whether the MTAP building is occupied yet and whether it would ever get a real name. His reply:
CSEC's Mid-term Accommodation is fully occupied and has been since November 2011. With respect to a name, it is now essentially Phase 1 of the Long-term Accommodation project and will eventually be incorporated into that structure.
Thanks, Adrian!]

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