ROBERT STEELE: A Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) once asked the most senior direct report responsible for overseeing all other elements of the intelligence community why he was better, with five people, than the entire Intelligence Community staff of 50. The answer boiled down to focused integrity. The honest staffer was focused on helping the DCI produce decision-support useful to the President. The IC Staff was focused on keeping the money moving and protecting the many fragmented agencies as they fought for budget share.
What we have today is dysfunctional and dishonest. ODNI, NSA, the NRO, and NGA should be abolished. The DCI position should be restored with NSA and the NRO being down-sized into two new Directorates at CIA while NGA merges with USGS.
The National Intelligence Council (NIC) should be moved to be a direct report to the newly empowered and extended Deputy Director of Management for OMB, while an Open Source Agency (OSA) keeps everyone honest and DIA learns how to do what it does not do now: strategic, operational, tactical, and technical (acquisition) intelligence — four distinct professional competencies [newsflash for DIA: the threat changes depending on the level of analysis].
CIA needs competent honest leadership that it does not have today. With such leadership, CIA should be restored as the sole all-source classified intelligence collector and processor while a separate OSA powers public intelligence, keeps CIA honest, and with CIA, elevates the NIC to a stellar network mastering the art of ethical evidence-based decision-support. This is not rocket science. It merely requires integrity.