December 5, 2018 - The men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency join the nation in mourning the loss of one of the most influential and beloved directors in the Agency’s history.
Thirteen years before becoming the President of the United States, George H.W. Bush served as the 11th Director of Central Intelligence (DCI). Many believed leading the CIA would mark an end to his political career. Instead, Bush became the only US president to have previously held the position of DCI, which gave him a unique perspective on both providing and receiving intelligence.
George H.W. Bush served as Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) from January 1976 to January 1977, just ten days shy of one full year. Though his tenure was limited, his accomplishments were not. Bush joined the Agency at a tumultuous time when morale was at an all-time low. He believed strongly in the mission of the Agency, and he believed in the CIA officers serving their nation. As DCI he immediately established himself as a leader who restored the morale and reputation of the CIA.
Legacy at Langley
George H.W. Bush is remembered as one of the CIA’s most impactful and significant directors. His tenure provided a meaningful and helpful “calm between the storms” for the Agency in the 1970s. As the first DCI who had served in Congress, Bush had the political influence to reshape the way the Agency was viewed among its most important stakeholders—the President of the United States and US Policymakers. He did this by focusing on protecting the objectivity and independence of the CIA. Bush truly loved the job of DCI and frequently referred to it as “the best job in Washington.”
In 1999, by Congressional order, the CIA Headquarters compound in Langley, Virginia was renamed the George Bush Center for Intelligence, honoring Bush’s life’s work as a public servant and for setting CIA on a positive trajectory after a time of great troubles at the Agency.
George H.W. Bush was the only producer, as Director of Central Intelligence, and consumer, as President of the United States, of intelligence in a single career. The respect and admiration that still exists 40 years after Bush’s short tenure as DCI speaks volumes to the legacy he left at CIA.
Though we grieve the loss of a remarkable man and leader, we are honored to have had the privilege to serve under his leadership.
To learn more about George H.W. Bush’s tenure as DCI, click here.