The decision downgrades China from “Priority 1” status, alongside Iran and North Korea, to “Priority 2,” which covers specific events such as the humanitarian crisis after the Haitian earthquake or tensions between India and Pakistan.
One new area that has been given a higher intelligence priority under the Obama administration is intelligence collection on climate change, a nontraditional mission marginally linked to national security. The CIA recently announced that it had set up a center to study the impact of climate change.
Phi Beta Iota: The priorities are primarily influential on collection by the National Security Agency (NSA), determining whether the “system” stays on Beijing or goes to Central Asia instead, and this is probably the heart of the matter. HOWEVER, in combination with the DoD concerns that CIA is totally ineffective with respect to China, Afghanistan, or anything else of immediate concern (e.g. Somalia, Sudan, Yemen), and the idiocy of creating a Climate Change Center rather than restructuring to attack all ten high-level threats to humanity, this latest “theater” must be labeled for what it is–naked Emperors parading their very expensive rags. CIA is an utter travesty in all respects. The DNI is treading water for lack of vision, understanding, authority, and the will to confront “the system.” DoD is not much better–paper-pushing stuffed shirts and politically-correct uniforms disconnected from ground truth and the real needs of policy directors, acquisition managers, and operational commanders down to the company level. Not pretty at all.