The term “intelligence” in the context of national security refers to analyzed and refined information that is useful in the decision-making process of policymakers. The US government has developed several strategies aimed at bringing reform to intelligence in the verge of improving national security.
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Such reforms include the creation of the DNI (Directors of National Intelligence) and the ODNI (Office of the Directors of National Intelligence).1 However, these reforms face several challenges as discussed hereinafter.
The intelligence reforms face a huge challenge in terms of reception. First, the introduction of the ODNI, according to intelligence officials, makes the already unwieldy intelligence community more complicated.2
While the ODNI is at the top tier of the intelligence community, the Pentagon and the CIA are still at the helm of the operations, and they still plan budgets for the intelligence infrastructure.
Therefore, the Directors of National Intelligence have little actual control over the intelligence community. The reduced capacity of the DNI to give adequate directions turns enforcing the change into a challenge since the position of a DNI member requires power sharing skills and close coordination.
The introduction of a new post and a new office in the intelligence community creates an additional budget entity. Therefore, the efficiency of the intelligence community reduces since the national budgetary allocation for intelligence remains constant.
Moreover, the new office increases the number of bureaucratic layers in the intelligence community; thus, the implementation of action plans takes longer, yet the quality of operations and data analysis remains the same.3 The ODNI also faces numerous challenges in integrating the different agencies of the national intelligence community.
The issues related to intelligence reforms will have adverse effects on the operations of the intelligence in the 21st century. For instance, the US government purposes to build satellites for the needs of the intelligence service; these satellites will act as assets for collection of imagery for improved tactical operations.4
However, building such a satellite costs approximately $800,000,000, and the creation of the launch vehicle requires additional $300,000,000. This might not be possible because of the creation of the new office, the ODNI.
As it was stated earlier, the ODNI creation, which is the most significant part of the intelligence reform, has trouble in integrating the diverse intelligence agencies. The coordination of the intelligence collection process becomes a challenge since every agency continues to operate in the same way.5
Regardless of the aforementioned challenges, policymakers are moving in the right direction as they work tirelessly to improve sharing of information and promote strategic unity in the intelligence community. The policymakers have succeeded in breaking the technological and cultural barriers in the intelligence community.
For instance, the coordination between domestic and foreign US intelligence has led to the disruption of threats to the US Homeland by confirming the existence and purpose of the uranium enrichment facility in Qum, Iran.6 Moreover, under the supervision and coordination of the ODNI, relevant intelligence agencies provided the public with information about the H1N1 virus and, thus, reduced its ramification.7
With the help of the new Rapid Technology Transition Initiative, the ODNI was capable of funding several security enhancing initiatives. Among the funded technologies, there was the biometric identification system that facilitated the capture of more than 50 intelligence targets in different parts of the world. 8
The intelligence community, under the ODNI, has experienced improved interoperability and access through the introduction of new information-sharing platforms like encrypted emails.
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Best, Richard. Intelligence Issues for Congress. Washington, DC: Congress Research Service. 2009.
Dupont, Allan. Intelligence for the Twenty-First Century. New York, NY: Frank Cass. 2012.
Maguire, Mike, and Timothy John. Intelligence, surveillance and informants: Integrated approaches. London, UK: Home Office Police Research Group. 1995.
Neary, Patrick. “The Post 9/11 Intelligence Community. Intelligence Reform, 2001-2009: Requiescat in Pace?” Studies in Intelligence 54, no. 1 (March 2010): 1–16.
Posner, Richard A. Preventing Surprise Attacks: Intelligence Reform in the Wake of 9/11. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution. 2005.
Prados, John. Pentagon Power Play: Turf Wars and Bad Analysis are just two likely Products of the Disastrous New Intelligence Reform. Chicago, IL: Educational Foundation for Nuclear Science, Inc. 2010.
Warner, Michael and Kenneth McDonald. US Intelligence Community Reform Studies Since 1947. Washington, DC: CSI. 2005.
1. Richard Best, Intelligence Issues for Congress (Washington, DC: Congress Research Service, 2009), 19.
2. Allan Dupont, Intelligence for the Twenty-First Century (Washington, DC: Frank Cass, 2012), 17.
3. Mike Maguire and Timothy John, Intelligence, surveillance and informants: Integrated approaches, (London, UK: Home Office Police Research Group, 1995), 6.
4. Patrick Neary, “The Post 9/11 Intelligence Community. Intelligence Reform, 2001-2009: Requiescat in Pace?,” Studies in Intelligence 54, no. 1 (March 2010): 4.
5. Richard A. Posner, Preventing Surprise Attacks: Intelligence Reform in the Wake of 9/11 (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution, 2005), 196.
6. Richard A. Posner, Preventing Surprise Attacks: Intelligence Reform in the Wake of 9/11 (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution, 2005), 27.
7. John Prados, Pentagon Power Play: Turf Wars and Bad Analysis are just two likely Products of the Disastrous New Intelligence Reform, (Chicago, IL: Educational Foundation for Nuclear Science, Inc., 2010), 11.
8. Michael Warner and Kenneth McDonald, US Intelligence Community Reform Studies Since 1947, (Washington, DC: CSI, 2005), 33.