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DNI Clapper visits AFTAC
Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper speaks to members of the Air Force Technical Applications Center Nov. 2, 2012, during a Town Hall Meeting at the center. Clapper is a former AFTAC commander and currently serves as the Director of National Intelligence in Washington, D.C. “AFTAC has always been an impressive organization, but to see how much the organization has grown since I was here is even more impressive,” said Clapper. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)
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Former commander pays visit to AFTAC

Posted 11/6/2012   Updated 11/6/2012 Email story   Print story


by Susan A. Romano
AFTAC Public Affairs

11/6/2012 - PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.  -- A former commander of the Air Force Technical Applications Center paid a visit to his old stomping grounds to get a fresh look at how the unit has grown since his tenure.

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper stopped by the nuclear treaty monitoring center Nov. 2 prior to his guest speaking engagement at the 45th Space Wing's Air Force Ball. Clapper, who served as AFTAC's commander from June 1984 to May 1985, is currently serving as the Director of National Intelligence, the principal intelligence advisor to the president.

He took time out of his schedule to tour the AFTAC Operations Center, receive a quick mission briefing, observe the ongoing construction for AFTAC's new headquarters building, and conduct a Town Hall meeting with AFTAC personnel.

"AFTAC has always been an impressive organization, but to see how much the organization has grown since I was here is even more impressive," said Clapper during the town hall meeting. "Your capabilities are more robust, you've automated and streamlined so much of your mission, and your scope of responsibility has expanded far greater than when I was here a quarter century ago."

Clapper retired from active duty in 1995 after more than three decades in uniform. He flew 73 combat support missions over Laos and Cambodia during Vietnam and earned two bronze stars and two defense distinguished service medals. He is also a National War College graduate.

One of the subjects the director discussed during the Town Hall meeting was the concept of quantum computing, and the critical role it will play in our nation's security.

"As we modernize our equipment, one of the things we are taking into huge consideration is quantum computing," Clapper explained. "It is a big deal for us as a country. Forget everything you knew before about digital technology. We are in a race with other nations around the world to capitalize on this phenomenon, and it will be a tremendous tool for us at all levels of government, including AFTAC."

Clapper was also impressed with the $158 million construction project, moving AFTAC from a post-World War II building into a state-of-the-art multifunction facility.

"When I was here 25 years ago, this building was falling apart back then!" he joked. "Now the time has come for you to move into a modernized workplace."

After fielding several questions from the inquisitive AFTAC audience, Clapper wrapped up the Town Hall meeting by commending the group for their work.

"I am extremely gratified to know that all of you are here keeping watch," he said. "AFTAC's mission is very 'unsung' and most times you don't get the credit you're due. Each and every one of you is a sentinel, and now more than ever, your role in our nation's security is vital. You are truly great Americans - all of you."

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