Thursday, January 12, 2012

John Forster to be next Chief

Prime Minister Harper announced today that the next Chief of CSE will be John Forster, currently the Associate Deputy Minister of Infrastructure. (Official bio here.)

Forster will become Chief on January 30th, replacing John L. Adams, who has held the job for six and a half years. Adams, who is 70 this year, "becomes Senior Advisor to the Privy Council Office and is named as Skelton-Clark Fellow to the Queen’s University School of Policy Studies, effective January 30, 2012."

Forster will be the 8th Chief of CSE/Director of CBNRC, and the 4th in the still relatively new tradition of appointing Chiefs from outside the agency:
  • Edward M. Drake (1946 - 1971)
  • N. Kevin O'Neill (1971 - 1980)
  • Peter R. Hunt (1980 - 1989)
  • A. Stewart Woolner (1989 - 1999)
  • D. Ian Glen (1999 - 2001)
  • Keith Coulter (2001 - 2005)
  • John L. Adams (2005 - 2012)
  • John Forster (2012 - )

[Update 13 January 2012:

Media coverage of the appointment:

Robert Sibley, "Longtime bureaucrat takes helm of top-secret intelligence unit," Ottawa Citizen, 13 January 2012

I don't know where Sibley got the idea that CSE has only 500 employees. The number hasn't been that low for over half a century, since ca. 1959 to be precise. Also, as noted above, bringing in a Chief from outside the agency is hardly a brand new idea. I'm sure it has its pros and its cons, but on the whole I suspect it's a good approach.]

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