Reference: Intelligence Reform Death Notice

10 Security, Analysis, Budgets & Funding, Commissions, DHS, Director of National Intelligence et al (IC), DoD, Ethics, Government, Hill Letters & Testimony, Law Enforcement, Legislation, Methods & Process, Military, Peace Intelligence, Policy, Reform, Strategy, Threats
Full Document Online

Phi Beta Iota: With a tip of the hat to Marcus Aurelius, this document is provided for information.  On balance it is rich with insights that are not available elsewhere and consequently must be very highly regarded as a baseline for where US intelligence reform (and US intelligence) are today: dead, with a $75 billion a year casket that shows no signs of atrophy.  Below are summary extracts both positive and negative.


QUOTE:  The net effect of presidential ambivalence, congressional disagreement, and community dissonance was to weaken the structural basis for intelligence reform.

QUOTE:  Fifteen of the community's 16 elements reside in six different executive branch departments: Defense (DIA, NSA, NGA, NRO, and the intelligence components of the Army Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps); Justice (elements of the FBI and DEA); Homeland Security (I&A, Coast Guard Intelligence); State (INR), Energy (IN), and Treasury (OIA).

INSIGHT:  The reform act was gutted from day one in stating that the president (and DNI) could not “abrogate the statuatory responsibilities of the heads of the departments” and that the DNI must comply with section 1018 which the auther discusses.

QUOTE:  For 60 years, the community had one form of management–the DCI with (eventually) a CMS [Community Management Staff]–and that model failed to integrate the community.

QUOTE:  A new organization lacking strong culture or mission will self-organize around existing structures and personalities.

QUOTE:  The ODNI is not organized to be the “Joint Staff” for intelligence.

QUOTE: The final nail in the coffin of intelligence refom as it was envisaged in 2004 was the failure at several levels of leadership to hold intelligence officers accountable for their performance and behavior.  The community writ large, including the ODNI staff, has witnessed a rash of unprofessional behavior in the past five years.

INSIGHT:  “Joint” positions and qualifications do not actually represent joint experience.  CIA is particularly culpable for grand-fathering 500 internal positions and labeling over 1,400 individuals “joint qualified” that could not find a restroom in a military facility if their life depended on it.

INSIGHT:  There is no national collection strategy worthy of the name.

QUOTE:  For now, the NIC-C remains a simple staff element, conducting manual data calls and reliant on the voluntary compliance of the large collection agencies.  There is no real-time feed (or operational status) of SIGINT, HUMINT, GEOINT, or even open source information into the NIC-C.  There is no comprehensive collection dashboard display, no 24-hour operational capability, and no immediate mechanism to issue directive changes.

INSIGHT:  The ADNI/Analysis (Andy Shepard) appears to be the only person on the DNI senior staff who actually knows what he is doing, to include implementing CATALYST 20 years after it was first devised.

INSIGHT:  No agency acknowledges  the A-Space or the common Analysis 101 Course that CIA refused to attend from early on.

INSIGHT:  US intelligence budget exceeds the discretionary funding for all federal departments save Defense, Education, and Health & Human Services.

QUOTE:  A DNI without operational oversight is by definition a bureaucratic layers of no additional value.

QUOTE:  CIA admits that just 13 percent of all employees and only 28 percent of NCS [National Clandestine Service] personnel speak a foreign language [citing Eisler in USA Today 19 Apr 09]

The author cites several failings of HUMINT as now managed, but does not really understand HUMINT, nor the mess that DoD and DIA are about to create as they try to create HUMINT from scratch with no idea–and on gut understanding–of why HUMINT has to be multinational in nature rather than unilateral, and an officer's specialization, not enlisted.

QUOTE:  The American people should know that the quiet they sense is not the peace of security assured by the best intelligence, but the deadly silence of the graveyard [of US intelligence].


Author is evidently not fully familiar with the role that Dick Cheney and then Senator John Warner (R-VA) have played in blocking all semblance of reform from 1992 onwards.  One could say that John Warner did to intelligence what Senator Phil Gram (R-TX) did to the economy: both acted with the best of intentions and the worst of consequences.

Author fails to cite any intelligence reform authors from Abshire to Zegart.  This is a personal manifesto, useful raw material, isolated from the larger literature.

While published in March 2010, the article fails to provide the correct figure for the annual intelligence expenditure, citing $47.5 billion instead of the actual–and now acknowledged–$75 billion a year.

QUOTE:  We do not need a Department of Intelligence, but we must make clear that the DNI is in charge.  [We need a Department of Education, Intelligence, and Research, but we'll save that for the day we have an honest President and an honest Congress actually interested in serving the public.]

The author alludes to a wide variety of customers being let down, but does not really make clear that no one, including the President, actually gets anything resembling adequate support.  The President and the Combatant Commanders get “at best” 4% of what they need from the secret world.

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