Ambassador’s Speakers Series Begins With Gary R. McClellan ’66

Gary R. McClellan, retired Defense Intelligence Agency Analyst, will deliver a lecture on Monday, Oct. 1, at 7 p.m. in Olin Auditorium. The event, which is free and open to the public, is part of the Ambassador’s Speakers Series. Additional speakers in the series will be announced at a future date.

McClellan grew up in Spring City, Pa., and graduated from Ursinus College in 1966. He earned his master’s degree in Latin American Studies from Vanderbilt University. McClellan was recruited by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) while at Vanderbilt and joined the Agency in February 1968 immediately following his graduate studies. During his career, McClellan held a variety of analytic and production management positions, the vast majority dealing with the Latin America region. His analytic experience covered the three primary intelligence categories: current, basic, and estimative. After an initial position doing urban area studies, McClellan moved to military capabilities analysis and was chosen in late 1969 to join a small element focusing on Cuba. There he dealt primarily with air and air defense forces and later expanded to political-military analysis. The Cuba shop was absorbed into the element doing Latin America regional current intelligence production in what was the predecessor to the DIA/J2 organization. During his stint there, McClellan was a desk officer for virtually every regional country, laying the basis for his future career as a Latin America generalist. In 1975, he assumed the senior analyst position in the Latin America military capabilities office. A year later, he moved to DIA’s former Directorate for Estimates (DE) as its sole Latin America analyst. Following the addition of more analysts through the mid 1980s, McClellan became the Latin America Team Chief and senior analyst.  He remained with DE until a 1991 DIA restructuring eliminated that Directorate. He then became the Senior Intelligence Officer (SIO) for the Latin America military capabilities division in the then Directorate for Research. Following the DIA reorganization of 1992, which led to a restructuring along functional lines and a combining of regional offices, McClellan became the SIO for the Middle East/Africa/Latin America branch within the Office of National Security Issues. In 1996, Latin America became its own Office when the intelligence production elements in the Defense Intelligence Analysis Center (DIAC) were realigned geographically again and the Directorate for Intelligence Production was restructured. At that time McClellan assumed the SIO position for the Latin America Office within the Regional Military Assessments Group.

Following 31 years of analytic and production management positions and experience, McClellan was selected to the General Colin L. Powell Chair for Analysis and Production at the then Joint Military Intelligence College (JMIC). (The college was subsequently renamed The National Intelligence University.) He assumed the Chair in the summer of 1998 and taught analytic and intelligence production courses in the School of Intelligence Studies. He retired from DIA in January, 2002, although he continued as an Adjunct Professor at the JMIC until September of that year.

Throughout his career, McClellan was an active analyst and finished intelligence producer. His diverse analytic background afforded him the opportunity to produce a wide variety of analysis including general military capabilities studies, specific force/service assessments, crisis and exercise support, political-military and social/cultural/general economics analysis — both country-specific and regional — as well as to coordinate, collaborate, and produce within the greater Military Intelligence Community, including the Services, the Unified and Specified Commands, and the military intelligence family, as well as the larger Intelligence Community as a whole, particularly, the CIA, NSA, and State Department’s Off ice of Intelligence and Research. He authored a very large number of products ranging from current intelligence items, background and information papers, briefings, and longer-term research assessments, through National Intelligence Estimates and international intelligence products. His last major analytic product prior to going to the Powell Chair was done for the Department of Defense Futures Intelligence Program (DoDFIP) and was entitled “Regional Assessment: Latin America, 1998-2018,” published in June 1998. He also served a full gamut of customers including unified and specified commands and their subordinate units, the Joint Staff, the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), Executive Branch Departments, allies and other foreign consumers for intelligence exchanges, Congress, and the National Command Authority.

McClellan received many outstanding and sustained superior performance appraisals and numerous letters of appreciation and commendation for his work throughout his career. In 1995, he received the DIA Award for Meritorious Civilian Service from the Director, DIA. The following year, he was honored with the Office of the Secretary of Defense Award for Excellence presented by then-Secretary of Defense William Perry for a special project he did for OSD on Haiti.