Reflections: how can the intelligence community remain relevant in the 21st century

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Robert David STEELE Vivas
Robert David STEELE Vivas

Reflections: Seven Steps to US Intelligence Reform

I was quite surprised to see multiple searches using the same language. It is an important question that I have been asking — and answering — since 1988 when I helped create the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (today a mini-me of the larger mis-directed secret intelligence world).

My six challeges defined and published (with pre-publication clearance as usual) in 1994 have still not been met because we have not had any intelligence “leaders” willing to commit to intelligence with integrity.

I now believe that the DNI was a wrong turn. The next DNI should be charged by the next President with dismantling the DNI, restoring the DCI position, and executing a variety of straight-forward reforms that I have championed for a quarter century. A transformative intelligence reform process would shut down ODNI, restore the DCI, create an Open Source Agency (OSA), and elevate  the National Intelligence Council (NIC) to the Executive Office of the President (EOP). Somewhere in there OMB, Congress, the media, and the public would receive public (open unclassified) ethical evidence-based decision-support on all threats, policies, and country counterparts, while creating Community Decision-Support Networks that implement the proven process of intelligence at the local, county, state, and regional issue management levels.

Seven Steps to US Intelligence Reform*

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Click on Image to Enlarge

01 Counterintelligence. New Theory and Method of Counterintelligence. The financial, religious, and ideological treason that characterizes too many of our senior civil servants (uniformed and civilian) and political appointees is the fatal cancer of the Republic. We need to clean the stables across the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

02 Whole of Government. Meet the Needs of ALL Public Programs. OMB does nothing useful today, in part because it does not manage Whole of Government, and in part because the last thing a corrupt political system wants is ethical evidence-based decision-support. Public intelligence in the public interest is a legal ethical tool available to intelligence “leaders” but they have to a) want to lead and b) care for the Constitution and the health of the Republic.

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Click on Image to Enlarge

03 Warning. Indications & Warnings of Revolution Change. I knew more about this in 1976 than anyone now serving the US IC knows today. This is also where my new knowledge comes in — my appreciation for true cost economics and the utter absolute necessity for a holistic analytic model that enables decision-support across all boundaries (we call this M4IS2 — multinational, multiagency, multidisciplinary multidomain information-sharing and sense-making). It is not possible for any analyst to be intelligent about any topic or country or emergent issue, if they are clueless about the fundamentals, for example, water in all its forms including virtual.

04 Requirements. Establish a Responsive Requirements System. The US IC continues to be incapacitated, and to allow its national security customers to be dishonest about requirements, while ignoring everyone else. Requirements must be elicited and tracked in relation to strategy, policy, acquisition, and operations, across Whole of Government. Anything less is impeachable incompetence.

IADB Circles05 Information Technology. Develop an Information Technology Strategy. This can cover a lot of ground but at a minimum this should have been addressing the urgency of having IT that enabled information sharing and sense-making between intelligence consumers and intelligence producers; and the NSA responsibility to protect US commercial communications and computing. Today I recognize that Open Source Everything (OSE) is the only affordable, inter-operable, and scalable technical solution suitable for the goverment, the private sector, and the public generally.

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06 Resources. Realign Resources in an Era of Radical Change. I have been making specific recommendations for 25 years now. These have been ignored because a) the executive at the political level does not respect nor desire ethical evidence based-decision support and b) Congress demands secret stovepipes that deliver pork, not intelligence. MASINT and SIGINT need to be folded into CIA restructures to become the Classified Information Agency (CIA), with the DCI becoming the Director of Classified Intelligence (DCI). IMINT and Geospatial require a merger of the NRO, NGA, and USGS, along with a transfer of all the drones (all disarmed) to the OSA (see 07 below). By 2020 I believe that the national intelligence budget should consist of no more than $25 billion a year for secrets, and another $25 billion for the Open Source Agency and the integration of education, open intelligence, and research sources and methods, across all boundaries. A Secretary-General for Education, Intelligence, & Research, a de facto Assistant Vice President joining two other Secretary Generals (one for Global Engagement and one for the Commonwealth) would complete the transformation of the US Government into a 21st Century steering mechanism for a Smart Nation).

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07 Open Source Everything. Create the Open Source Agency (OSA), Multinational Decision-Support Centre (MDSC), and United Nations Open-Source Decision-Support Information Network (UNODIN). I have written about these and there is no question but that an OSA would be a transformative element in creating a prosperous world at peace after first revitalizing US governance with ethical evidence-based decision-support.

* Six as defined in 1994 and depicted in the provided source and graphic, but re-ordered. The seventh is a result of 25 years of thinking not being done within the secret world. The steps have been re-ordered to emphasize that counterintelligence is “root.”

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See Especially:

1990 Steele, Robert David.  Intelligence in the 1990′s – Six Challenges (American Intelligence Journal, Summer 1990)

1996 Steele, Robert David.  Creating a Smart Nation: Strategy, Policy, Intelligence, and Information (Government Information Quarterly 13/2)

2009 Steele, Robert David. Intelligence for the President–AND Everyone Else (in CounterPunch, 1-3 March 2009)

2010 Steele, Robert David. Fixing the White House & National Intelligence (International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Spring 2010 )

2011 Steele, Robert David. Thinking About Revolution in the USA and Elsewhere (Phi Beta Iota , 4 October 2011)

2012 Steele, Robert David. Practical Reflections on UN Intelligence + UN RECAP (Phi Beta Iota , 22 November 2012)

2013 Steele, Robert David, “ The Evolving Craft of Intelligence” in Robert Dover, Michael Goodman, and Claudia Hillebrand (eds.). Routledge Companion to Intelligence Studies (Oxford, UK: Routledge, 31 July 2013)

2013 Steele, Robert David. Healing the Americas with an Open Source Agency and in Spanish Sanando a las Américas con una Agencia de Fuente Abierta (AAIntelligencia , 4 April 2013, created for and briefed to the Inter-American Defense Board)

2014 Steele, Robert David. 1990-2014 Steele on Specific Intelligence Reforms (Including Alarm on NSA from 1994 Onwards) (Phi Beta Iota, 29 January 2014)

2015 Steele, Robert David. INTELLIGENCE with INTEGRITY: Enabling Hybrid Public Governance with Open-Source Decision-Support [Table of Contents] (in progress)

See Also:

2015 Steele’s New Book
2014 Steele’s Open Letter
2014 INTEGRITY Year 1?
2013 Intelligence Future
2012 Academy Briefing
1989+ Intelligence Reform (Steele)
1986+ Intelligence Reform (Others)
1976+ Intelligence Models 2.1
1957+ Decision Support Story

EIN Global Survey (2007)
IO 3 Paths to Peace & Prosperity
NATO OSE/M4IS2 2.0
Open Source Agency (OSA)
Open Source Manifesto

Public Intelligence 4.0
REVOLUTION Graphic & Refs
USA Reform Ideas
Way of the Truth
Who Is Robert D. Steele?