James Clapper, the Pentagon's head of intelligence, was nominated to become the director of national intellingence, replcacing Adm. Dennis Blair, who resigned last month after a rocky year and a half on the job.
Congress created the post in 2004 as part of a revamp of intelligence agencies after the failure to connect the dots before the Sept. 11 attacks. Yet Blair and his two predecessors had a tough time fusing agencies with big budgets, big egos and traditions of independence.
Clapper is a top aide to Defense Secretary Robert Gates who's spent most of his adult life in military intelligence. He served two combat tours in Vietnam but later went on to head the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which analyzes imagery such as satellite pictures or video taken from aircraft, and the Defense Intelligence Agency, which often works closely with the CIA.