Over the years of its existence, CIA has built a strong and quite threatening reputation. However, because of the clumsy strategies adopted by the Operations Department, the existence of the entire organization can be threatened. As some of the sources claim, the strategies adopted for the CIA operations have, in fact, stayed the same since the times of Eisenhower’s presidency.
Meanwhile, the approaches used in the CIA intelligence department, have been regularly updated and, as a result, are up to the highest standards at present, which stands in high contrast to the standards for the operations of the CIA.
Because of the lack of cohesion between the strategies used by the CIA intelligence and the ones that are adopted by the CIA Operations Department, the CIA is at the brink of a serious crisis, which might lead to drastic effects and, therefore, pose a threat to the U.S. foreign affairs, making the state extremely vulnerable to the actions of the adversaries.
To realize the scale of the threat that the CIA is facing at the moment due to the lack of understanding how covert operations must be carried out in the present-day world, it is necessary to consider some of the examples of how well the modern CIA specialists use coercive methods in the implementations of their strategies.
The latest case on CIA operations is a graphic example of how the lack of cohesion between the actions of the two departments affects the results of the CIA work negatively. Mendez offers a classic case of what can happen once there is a lack of cohesion between the actions of the Operations and the Intelligence. As Mendez1 claims, after carrying out the infamous operation in Iran, the CIA adopt the strategy that allowed it remain “on alert” 24/7, and, despite its numerous controversies, remained efficient till the very end of the operation.
However, because of its success, the framework of the operation was further on used as the pattern for the rest of the operations, which resulted in the CIA being labeled as the organization that prefers rough actions instead of careful and well thought-out steps, which has been dragged into the present day, since CIA was too lazy to change its approach towards its operations.
The given case study shows the effects of poor and, quite honestly, rather dated strategies used by the CIA Operations Department on the overall performance of the organization in general and the quality of Intelligence Department work in particular.
According to the case study, the covert actions carried out in an awkward manner not only seem quite deplorable compared to the refined work of the Intelligence, but also affect the latter negatively, threatening the success of several months long work due to a single awkwardly carried out operation.
Therefore, things have to be changed in the way that the CIA Operations Department works, and things have to be changed fast; otherwise, the discord between the work of Intelligence and Operations will lead inevitably to the collapse of the CIA.
When considering the improvements that the CIA services could undergo in order to run the operation processes smoother and get rid of the reputation of a “rogue elephant,” the organization should consider such approaches as the creation of another organization that could provide the services for covert operations with the staff that would be trained specifically to meet the latest and the highest standards in the given department.
The given solution has already been suggested for the CIA services as the possible measure to address the critical situation concerning the “rogue elephant” situation. However, in case CIA decides to create a separate agency that is going to supply the CIA Organization with the human resources for covert operations, chances are pretty high that information leakage rates are going to increase.
There is no secret that even with a single headquarters and the old-fashioned strategies, the CIA is suffering from information leaks and the results that it leads to: “Accountability can be damaging by providing a source for possible leaks and by cutting down on the efficiency of the CIA through forcing continuous consultation when speedier action may be needed.”2 Therefore, creating a separate organization, which the CIA will have to share the key information with, is rather risky for the U.S. at present.
Another possible way to address the problem of the gap between the Operations and Intelligence Departments in the CIA is to arrange training courses for the staff specializing in Operations. Thus, the CIA will be able to translate the current practices into a more appropriate and by far more subtle manner of coercive methods implementation without restructuring the whole organization and splitting into the headquarters and its affiliate.
The given method, however, also has problems, since training the staff in order to change the current practices will doubtlessly take much time. Alternatively, the CIA could recruit new staff that could carry out its mission in the new and more appropriate manner.
By doing so, the organization would benefit in changing the mindset of the staff so that the new strategies could be used as soon as possible; however, seeing how the new staff will require even more time for training, learning the rules and gaining the experience that the old staff already has, the given step does not seem to be an option either.
Therefore, it goes without saying that the CIA needs an urgent update on its operation strategies. Indeed, seeing how the operations have been molded in accordance with the pattern dating back to the post-WWII era, it becomes obvious that the new principles for the strategies and tactics of the cover operations must be introduced into the present-day CIA services.
In addition to their lack of efficiency, outdated techniques can possibly lead to failing the operations, which will most likely lead to serious issues in foreign policy of the U.S. and, as a result, will bring the reputation of the United States among the rest of the world’s most powerful states a few notches down.
It could be argued, though, that the introduction of the new strategies will require additional training of the staff so that the latter could follow the new instructions, which will cost a considerable amount of money; not to mention the fact that the transformations in the CIA services will doubtlessly take much time – weeks, perhaps, months, if not years. Therefore, the idea of adopting new strategies for the actions of the CIA operations to be carried out might seem a failure.
However, the introduction of the new strategies can be enhanced with the help of an efficient leadership strategy and the introduction of the right information and time management. As long as the CIA services allow for shared information and schedule the training sessions so that the staff could learn the basics within the shortest period of time.
With that being said, it must be admitted that the CIA operation strategies can and must be updated in accordance with the newly adopted strategies. As soon as the strategies mentioned above are applied, it can be assumed that each of the elements of the CIA works in chord with its other parts.
1. Antonio J. Mendez, “A Classic Case of Deception” (Central Intelligence Agency, n. d.), Accessed from https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/winter99-00/art1.html
2. David Canon, “Intelligence and Ethics: The CIA’S Covert Operations,” The Journal of Libertarian Studies 4, no. 2 (Spring 1980): 205.