Recommendations and Actions
The end of the Cold War and pressing domestic issues have created a strong mandate for changing the degree to which the elements of the Intelligence Community (IC) must act as a team. The need for a system of checks and balances and the diverse sets of customers, which resulted in a federation-like structure in 1947, are still important today. However, if it is to be a responsible player in government, the Community must find ways to share resources, be more efficient and effective, and reduce overhead. Without those changes, the Community will not be able to address the complex issues it faces. It will also not be able to respond to the speed of change in the world. And perhaps most important in today's fiscal environment, it will not be able to respond intelligently to downsizing.
Integrating Community activities is made more difficult because the Intelligence Community and the Department of Defense have been on different budget systems, processes, and schedules. The Community has taken steps to begin an integrated approach to strategic planning, programming, and budgeting. The crucial concept here is integration rather than centralization. The goal is not to build big central bureaucracies. Rather, it is to create common frameworks in which the elements of the IC can pursue their departmental and national intelligence roles. A framework is especially important for the smaller players in the IC who are imbedded in Cabinet-level departments. In FY93, the intelligence arm of the Department of State lost a small but vital $2 million for a computer upgrade. The Community must be able to make the case for the smaller, as well as the larger, players.
The Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) and the Deputy Secretary of Defense broke new ground in the spring of 1993 by jointly reviewing intelligence programs covered by NFIP and TIARA (Tactical Intelligence and Related Activities). The joint NFIP-TIARA reviews, and the guidance for fiscal 1995 flowing from those reviews, are steps toward an integrated way of thinking among Community members. The Intelligence Community today lacks sufficient integrated information on which to judge the value of existing or proposed programs or to make significant cross-program analyses. The NFIP also lacks an effective mechanism for tracking the execution of funds. The joint NFIP-TIARA reviews need to go further and tackle the issue of execution oversight. Until this happens, the Community will not be able to identify what it really spends on such areas as information management, IC products, and training.
The next step needs to be the establishment of a common set of definitions, procedures, and schedules for planning, programming, and budgeting processes. The overall planning process should identify and integrate unique competencies of all organizations and encourage programs to use these competencies across the Community when appropriate. Foreign language capability is a good example.
The Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) has employees covering 82 languages. Because language capabilities, particularly at an advanced fluency, are hard to come by, FBIS employees are frequently "borrowed" within CIA for special translation or operational support. The National Security Agency (NSA) also has a corps of linguists, but has different analytical needs. Linguistic requirements throughout the Community vary dramatically in terms of required levels of expertise and contextual focus, but with foreign language being a precious commodity in the intelligence business, it is important to know what is in the Community's skills inventory. The National Security Education Act, plus tracking competencies Community-wide, constitutes a two-pronged approach to a vital skills issue.
The Community needs a strong decisive senior body much like the board of directors of a corporation. The current IC Executive Committee (EXCOM) is not perceived that way. The IC EXCOM should establish priorities and policies for the collection and production of intelligence, provide guidance on the relationship between tactical and national intelligence, and ensure IC compli-ance with the policy direction of the National Security Council. Finally, it should have a communications strategy for ensuring that the employees of the IC clearly under-stand the basic framework of Community policy.
Much of the problem is cultural. For the most part, employees do not consider their job to include a larger role of being part of the overall intelligence team. In fact, agencies typically compete for new programs and budget allocations. Even organizations that are supposed to be Community-focused do not have a clear sense of identity. As a result their role is not perceived clearly.
A case in point is the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) Centers. All are located at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and headed by CIA officers with nominal representation from IC elements. Most are imbedded in CIA organizational structures. As a result, the centers have become a lightning rod for animosity around the IC. Fundamental questions about purpose and intent, role in the Community, and apparently parallel organizations elsewhere resulted in conflicting answers even among very senior officers. The operational accomplishments of the centers and the quality of their analytical products tend to get lost in the debate over their role. The senior group commissioned recently by the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence (DDCI) to do a zero-based budget review of the centers is a step in the right direction.
The Community aspect of a Center (whether it is fully integrated staff, one-stop shopping for Community customers, or a CIA element with Community liaison representatives) needs to be understood by the employees of the center, its customers, and the members of the Community.
Centers are not the answer to all multi-disciplinary problems. The recommendation in the proposal just approved by the DCI for a national intelligence needs (requirements) process will eliminate overlapping activities and improve coordination. While this proposal will create "issue leaders" and "issue teams," it will not create the overhead of establishing a center. The proposal should be implemented.
A proactive campaign to give visibility to the DCI's Community role (as distinct from his hat as the Director of CIA) is necessary in beginning to build an integrated culture. The DCI's recent town meeting at the National Reconnaissance Office and his visit to NSA are beginning steps. The DCI needs to visit the organizations that make up the Community on a periodic basis.
A Community public affairs strategy is also needed. Important constituencies in this country have misperceptions about what intelligence is and why it is necessary today and in the future. The CIA gets much of the credit and blame for a wide range of accomplishments and perceived sins of the entire IC. Even users of intelligence have major misunderstandings of the role and capabilities of intelligence as well as who the players are. Over-classification, lack of communication among IC elements, and the slow review and declassification of historical documents compound impressions of an unresponsive organization.
The Community has done well in responding to crises. It has demonstrated an agility and flexibility completely antithetical to bureaucracy when faced with a Balkan or Somalian crisis. Enhanced Community integration presents new opportunities to deal creatively with a host of issues, administrative as well as substantive, whether they become crises or not. Once again the challenge is cultural. The intelligence professional of the future must be able to move in and out of different alliances of colleagues depending on the issue.
1. The DCI and the Deputy Secretary of Defense should hold a visioning conference to determine the Intelligence Community's mission in the post-Cold War world.
Participants would include other high-level decisionmakers in the IC as well as the National Security Council. The group would expand on the work already underway by the DCI and the Deputy Secretary of Defense to develop an integrated approach to strategic planning, programming, budgeting, and evaluation. Such an approach would be consistent with the spirit of the Government Performance and Results Act. It would be carried out with an eye to cost savings and downsizing while preserving core competencies.
2. The DCI and the Deputy Secretary of Defense should strengthen the IC/EXCOM by holding periodic principals-only meetings to address fundamental policy issues and strategic direction. The outcome of these meetings should give Community employees a sense of vision and direction. It should also strengthen the concept of working together as a team to accomplish the Community's fundamental mission.
3. The DCI should review the contribution of Intelligence Centers to the goal of better Community integration and execution processes. Some of the global issues the Community faces would respond to a better integrated Community approach. If a Center is the organizational structure chosen, the Center's mission, staffing, leadership, and product must reflect the Community.
4. The DCI should direct the development of a public affairs strategy that includes educating the public on the intelligence profession. Agencies also should consider sharing speakers' bureaus to implement a more coordinated approach to the public.
The general public's knowledge of intelligence is often gleaned through James Bond movies and Tom Clancy novels. The Community owes the public a more realistic picture of what tax dollars are paying for and why intelligence is important in a democracy today and in the future.
Professionals in the intelligence business are a special breed of very talented, dedicated federal employees. Each is affiliated with an element of the Community, but a more coherent and focused approach can be brought to bear on the increasingly complex and wide-ranging set of issues faced by the Community, by increasing the value placed on intelligence as a profession. This can be achieved without degrading the important role each individual plays within his or her agency. Downplaying turf issues and encouraging collaboration will enhance the products available to the customers and develop a broader based cadre of intelligence professionals.
An integrated Community strategy will deliver an intelligence capability that, dollar for dollar, delivers a better value and perhaps some savings to the taxpayer. Intelligence is somewhat analogous to life insurance--one often questions the amount that one needs.
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