US IC 1990 Reform Evaluation — IDEN A Responds

Analysis, Director of National Intelligence et al (IC), Officers Call
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Phi Beta Iota: We are reaching out to a handful of retired and still in service US intelligence professionals, seeking their brief (one line to one paragraph) comments on where the US IC stands in relation to each of these challenges identified in 1990.  Anyone at all wishing to comment, insider status is not required, is invited to send an email to robert.david.steele.vivas [at] gmail [dot] com.

Foundation References:

1990 Intelligence in the 1990′s – Six Challenges

1989 Al Gray (US) on Global Intelligence Challenges

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See Especially:

2014 The National Intelligence Strategy of the USA — 3 Strikes and Out

2012 USA Intelligence Scorecard – Deja Vu 2000 1 of 5

2012 USA Intelligence Scorecard – Deja Vu 2000 2 of 5

2012 USA Intelligence Scorecard – Deja Vu 2000 3 of 5

2012 USA Intelligence Scorecard – Deja Vu 2000 4 of 5

2012 USA Intelligence Scorecard – Deja Vu 2000 5 of 5

Graphic: Evaluating Intelligence (Decision-Support) – Four Aspects 1.1

Graphic: Intelligence Requirements, Collection, Evaluation, and Capabilities Building

See Also:

1989+ Intelligence Reform
1957+ Decision Support Story


Here are a few comments on your Challenges as outlined in your paper. I must say your paper is a brilliant piece of work and quite prescient. The fact that it has been largely ignored by the IC as a whole, demonstrates how insular and detached from reality that the big four intelligence agencies have become in the last thirty years or so.

1990 Challenge #1: Meet the Needs of ALL Public Programs

Put another way the intelligence supporting the U.S. National Security Establishment has to incorporate information on all threats that could affect national security, which includes threats to financial systems, pandemics, international trade, and mass migrations.

1990 Challenge #2: Indications & Warnings of Revolutionary Change

The production of strategic warning intelligence is one of the principal missions of the big four of the U.S. IC. Since the end of the Cold War this mission has been badly neglected by all four agencies. Indicators are the precursors necessary to producing warning intelligence. Yet the principal intelligence agencies have never (to my knowledge) made a serious study of indications as such.

 1990 Challenge #3: New Theory and Method of Counterintelligence

The late General William Odom (U.S.A. ret) argued that the intelligence agencies could provide a substantial contribution to counter-intelligence programs by producing intelligence on the structures, personal, and operations of foreign intelligence organizations.

 1990 Challenge #5: Establish a Responsive Requirements System

The so-called Intelligence Cycle (beloved of academics) in fact is non-existent. The current requirements packages bear only a peripheral relationship to collection guidance and reporting. The existing requirement package for SIGINT for example is actually designed to cover every possible contingency and development so that nothing will be ”missed” rather than providing a guide for collection and processing.

 1990 Challenge #6: Realign Resources in an Era of Radical Change

This has never happened. NSA continues to follow the same collection strategy used in the days of analog communications during the Cold War. That is collect everything with minimum front end filtering and selection and store forever.

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