The Intelligence Community

Executive Summary

The year 1991 will go down in history as the year the Soviet Union collapsed and the Berlin Wall was torn down. The Cold War had been won.

Intelligence played a critical role during the Cold War, preventing escalation to a "hot war" and preserving hope for people who struggled for freedom. But the events as we entered the 1990s signaled a fundamental change in the world for which the Intelligence Community was created.

The Intelligence Community (often referred to as the Community or the IC) is a federation of 13 Executive Branch agencies and organizations whose core was established by the National Security Act of 1947. A U.S. intelligence capability in peacetime reflected a commitment to prevent another surprise like Pearl Harbor by keeping an eye on developments like the continuing Soviet military build-up after World War II. The Act recognized the need for both civilian and military intelligence elements. These elements work closely with the National Security Council, whose mission is to advise the President with regard to integration of domestic, foreign, and military threats to national security.

The IC workforce is composed of civilian and military personnel who are part of the National Foreign Intelligence Program (NFIP) or Tactical Intelligence and Related Activities (TIARA). The Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) heads the Intelligence Community at large, as well as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Today the IC faces a world in which challenges to national security are less well known and less predictable, and those involved are less likely to behave by the gentlemanly rules of the Cold War. Intelligence work has become more difficult and dangerous. Despots, arms dealers, terrorists, drug traffickers, and ancient rival groups require different resources and different approaches.

At this same time the IC faces drawdowns in resources. It can no longer afford to prepare for worst-case scenarios. Risk management, rather than worst-case scenarios, must drive the setting of priorities and allocation of resources.

The DCI and the Deputy Secretary of Defense have just completed joint reviews of functions covered by NFIP and TIARA. These reviews track for the first time the results and costs of intelligence issues across elements of the Community. More remains to be done. The first and perhaps most important finding of the National Performance Review (NPR) is that there must be an overarching vision for the IC. The members must come together as a team working toward common goals and must realign resources and functions to make the Community most effective in a post- Cold War environment.

The second major finding of the NPR is that the Community and its customers must redefine and re-energize their relationships. The customer must become an active partner. Too often in the past, the customer accepted whatever the Community provided, not questioning capabilities or the Community's assessment of his or her needs and their priority. Potential customers either did not know of the possible role of intelligence or were put off by the burden of dealing with highly classified information. One new model is emerging in the IC's work with a panel of environmental scientists who are studying the use of classified imagery for environmental purposes.

The Community must develop new collection strategies and serve new customers. The demand for actionable intelligence is surpassing the need for reflective analytical pieces. New ways to coordinate collection strategies must be found to deal with complex multidimensional issues. Finally, collection must be better focused. In the current fiscal environment, it is crucial to balance the potential of less expensive collection disciplines while maintaining essential capabilities in expensive technical collection systems.

The relationship between collectors and analysts must mature as the Community's relationships with its customers develop. Concern about politicization of intelligence cannot be allowed to get in the way of open communication among customer, analyst, and collector. The Intelligence Community, working as a team, can ensure that alternative views are presented so that the customer can make informed choices.

The Community can enumerate many examples of its efforts to pull together as a team, particularly in support of military operations. The Joint Intelligence Center (JIC), created during the Gulf War, has become the standard response to military crises. The JIC has evolved into a permanent National Military Joint Intelligence Center with full IC participation. While the IC cannot afford a JIC for every user, various levels of IC integration into civilian policy organizations and military commands clearly enhance the value of intelligence to the customer and strengthen the Community through the dynamic feedback process.

One of the best ways to get more for the intelligence dollar and preserve key capabilities while downsizing is to share infra-structure. In addition, intelligence professionals must see themselves as partners, not representing competing interests, with common goals and a shared ultimate customer--the President of the United States. To that end, the NPR has made a number of recommendations that cross organizational boundaries and will provide more meaning to the concept of an Intelligence Community.

Finally, the Community should ensure that each IC agency performs a thorough review of its internal systems and processes. The National Performance Review looked only at Community issues. An NPR-like review at the agency level, with team members from elsewhere in the Community, can help each agency challenge conventional wisdom and push the envelope of its thinking. The bottom line is to get the stakeholders involved in change and to provide objectivity for the benefit of the whole Community.

The recommendations and actions proposed in this report should yield some indirect, long-term savings. However, since those savings would be very difficult to calculate and, in any event, could not be shown in an unclassified report, no savings estimates were developed.

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