WWS 401a Intelligence Reform in the Post-Cold War Era
Professor Diane C. Snyder
Grace J. Koo
6 January 1997
I pledge my honor that I did not violate the Honor Code in the composition of this paper.
Putting Reform in Context
The end of the Cold War and the resulting shift in America's national security priorities have significantly changed the foreign intelligence needs of US policymakers in recent years. Due to the dramatic rise of transnational threats, intelligence requirements have become increasingly numerous and varied, necessitating ever closer communication between consumers and producers to facilitate the production of relevant and timely intelligence. However, undergoing concurrent personnel cuts and budget freezes, the intelligence community stands to face future challenges in satisfying the newly diversified demands of the post-Cold War era. Juxtaposing the emergent issues with the perennial concerns, this study reviews the fundamentals of the producer-consumer relationship; overviews the quality of intelligence community's service to its traditional clientele; examines newly prominent post-Cold War intelligence consumers; and concludes that while the status quo is not "broken," areas of concern with a significant potential to develop into larger issues in today's rapidly evolving and increasingly fluid world order do exist and require preemptive correction.
Considerations for the optimal mode of interaction between the intelligence community and policymakers underpin every facet of intelligence reform; for what happens at the interface of policy and intelligence ultimately determines the success or failure of the entire intelligence endeavor. Without exaggeration, producer-consumer relations is the glue which pulls together the intelligence cycle. Collaborative dialogue between policymakers and intelligence professionals drives not only production and dissemination but also collection and analysis.
As stated above, the chartered mission of the IC is to provide timely and relevant foreign intelligence support to policymakers. The proverbial wise man Sherman Kent once wrote that "Intelligence cannot serve if it does not know the doer's mind; it cannot serve if it has not his confidence; it cannot serve unless it can have the kind of guidance any professional man must have from his client." To that end, this study proposes to itemize the necessary changes for improving producer-consumer relations and recommend methods for their implementation.
Putting Reform in Context
The End of the Cold War and the Emergence of New Intelligence Priorities
The modus vivendi of the United States intelligence community has undergone a sea change since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. With the Cold War's familiar battlefield no longer in existence, the U.S. intelligence community now finds itself without clear boundaries delineating its purview. Appropriation cuts have followed, and the Community is currently slated for a 23 percent reduction in personnel and a 20 percent decrease in real budget over the course of this decade. Yet at the same time, the aggregate demand for IC's services continues to rise. In light of these facts, the fundamental dilemma facing the post-Cold war era intelligence establishment can be summarized thus: servicing diverse demands with diminishing resources.
For nearly five decades since the inception of the modern intelligence service in the United States, the Cold War imposed a relatively static pattern to the realm of American intelligence. The 1993 report of Vice President Al Gore's National Performance Review maintains that the "40-year emphasis on the Soviet Union had allowed the intelligence community to develop a repertoire which was not dependent on a close relationship with its customers." Former Director of Central Intelligence James Woolsey corroborates the claim, estimating that "something between two-thirds and three-quarters of the major problems we looked at during the Cold War derived in one way or the other from Moscow." Needless to say, the demise of the USSR has changed a few ground rules. As the requirements of the nation's key policymakers evolve in new directions, the collection and production priorities of the intelligence community have also been reset to match the clients' needs. The threat to national security no longer has a Slavic face. Today's policymakers require a markedly broader spectrum of intelligence on non-state dangers ranging from religious extremism to global organized crime and intangible battlefields like economic security, information infrastructure, and environmental protection. As the 1996 summit of the Group of Seven nations where, uncharacteristically, cross border organized crime and terrorism emerged as the issues of foremost concern demonstrates, reprioritization in the realm of foreign policy is an internationally observable trend. It is clear that the exigencies of the post-Cold War era have radically diversified consumer demand.
Maximizing Comparative Advantage in the Information Age
In an era enthralled with "right-sizing," however, the intelligence community simply does not have the funds or the manpower to assess every contingent risk and uncertainty. If the IC is to do its job properly, strategic decisions need to be made as to where its analytical effort should be expended. Scarce resources must be put to use on relevant products that yield high value added, where the intelligence community has a distinct comparative advantage over private sector producers. It is plain that the IC faces stiff competition. The advent of the Internet and CNN, for instance, has fundamentally changed the way in which information is delivered and consumed in our society. Today's policymakers have many options outside of the intelligence community from which to obtain information, if not thorough analysis. Former DCI John Deutch himself once quipped, "I mean, really, when you have Lexis-Nexis, who needs INTELINK?" Indeed, some elements in the media have facetiously wondered aloud why America doesn't just fire the intelligence bureaucracy and subscribe to CNN instead. Harsher critics have leveled graver accusations of obsolescence, demanding wholesale reform, even abolition.
Granted, the intelligence community has lost what Deputy Director for Intelligence John C. Gannon calls "a unique comparative advantage" over the private sector in the collection and exploitation of general open-source material. The U.S. intelligence apparatus does nevertheless possess an as-yet-unduplicated capability to combine public knowledge with secret information to produce the vetted and tailored intelligence that policymakers need. This is the production advantage that the intelligence community must maximize in the information age. The maintenance of this unique capability will require a constant and careful gauging of consumer demand on the community's part. Finished products should be delivered with an efficiency tantamount to that of the innovative private-sector producer on a timely basis and in a format catered to individual needs.
It's Not Broken: The Status Quo of Producer-Consumer Relations
Having placed producer-consumers relations in the context of the challenges posed by the post-Cold War era and the Information Revolution, would-be reformers must not forget to note one crucial fact: the relationship between policy and intelligence is not "broken." Far from it, the intelligence community has had considerable success adapting itself to meet policy needs in the new national security environment. Numerous policymakers, testifying to Congress, attest to this.*
Deputy Energy Secretary Charles Curtis recently stated to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that "As a threshold matter, I want to emphasize that I am an avid and generally satisfied customer of the product of the intelligence community. The CIA, NSA, and others have served me and the Department well, and contributed significantly to our mission areas." The military concurs; General J. Hughes of the Defense Department remarks, "I would say that our current structure has been tried and tested for some time and appears to me to be adapting to the new world order, the post-Cold War era. I believe that our structure is essentially what we need In the day-to-day work now, I see symmetry, good coordination and cooperation." Congress itself is also is an avid and well-served consumer, say insiders. "The oversight committees in particular have excellent access to intelligence; they receive briefings at the drop of a hat," notes Britt Snider, the former staff director of the Aspin-Brown Commission.
What the producer-consumer relationship needs, then, is not radical change but some fine-tuning. The emphasis must be on amelioration, as opposed to overhaul. The general reform objective should be to deepen the incorporation of intelligence throughout the policymaking process; to improve the two-way understanding of policy requirements and IC capabilities by facilitating closer dialogue; and to ensure that the intelligence community maximizes and maintains its unique expertise in the post-Cold War era.
The Fundamental Issues
Before delving into the specifics of producer-consumer relations, it is necessary to establish a backdrop against which the emerging challenges can be juxtaposed. The perennial issues facing the intelligence community can be roughly summarized as follows: the intelligence professional must guard against politicization and uphold his analytical integrity while at the same time maintaining close enough contact with policymakers to provide personalized and relevant intelligence support.
Balancing Utility and Objectivity
The founding father of the modern intelligence establishment William Donovan decreed in 1947 that "intelligence must be independent of the people it serves so that the material it obtains will not be slanted or distorted by the views of the people directing it." One must note, however, that this seasoned precept against cooked analysis while addressing a valid hazard for the integrity of objective intelligence belies a current sea change in the general attitude toward producer-consumer collaboration. Recognizing politicization and irrelevance as two sides of the same coin, the intelligence community and Washington's policymakers seem to have reached the conclusion that the latter is the more insidious danger of the two. The "bright white line" isolating the intelligence analyst from his client has therefore faded considerably in recent years, with producers and consumers alike calling for increased proximity between the two. The drive for relevance, not the fear of distortion, is the order of the day.
According to Jack Davis, the consensus on the policy side is that "Artificial separation of intelligence and policy serves only to degrade the performance of both systems [Policymakers] believe that intelligence production should be driven by the policy process," that intelligence professionals should clearly understand the action agenda of their core clientele and serve better with the knowledge.
The members of the intelligence community concur with that assessment. In response, the Central Intelligence Agency for instance has recently adopted liaison programs that allow analysts from the Directorate of Intelligence to frequently serve rotations in policy agencies the State Department, the NSC, the Pentagon, the USTR, and others where they avail themselves as all-purpose staffers who just happen to have intelligence expertise. In the process, "they acquire a feel for the pace and rhythm of policymaking that can be acquired no other way," and provide real-time analytic support geared to policy agendas.
The basic principle which underpins the above shift toward increased interaction is one that recurs throughout much of this study. In an age of scarcity, the intelligence community cannot afford irrelevant or redundant analysis that uselessly deplete finite resources. It must maximize utility to a point that avoids diminishing returns. Today's intelligence products, therefore, need to be designed with a careful eye to the detailed needs of those they serve. Improving the producer-consumer relationship is an obvious and logical prerequisite to this efficiency gain.
Serving as Servants
A key corollary to the intelligence community's ethos of objective professionalism is the self-imposed injunction against unsolicited tendering of policy advice. There is a clear understanding on both sides of the intelligence-policy divide that the IC exists to "provide a service as defined by its policy master [and to] focus its attention on areas selected for it by those masters, not on other areas it might find of independent interest." At times, however, occasions arise where the onus falls on the intelligence professional to point out unbidden to his "master" the flaws or failures of her policy. Obviously, this is not an easy task; it is nevertheless a crucial responsibility on which the intelligence community's integrity hangs.
Senator Robert Kerrey of Nebraska former vice chairman of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee succinctly summarizes this dilemma in a question he once posed to John Deutch: " we politicians make a decision and say this is the way we want to go, and you may, in your own intelligence evaluations, say geez, I hate to embarrass you Senator Kerrey, but it isn't working. What you have decided was a good decision based upon what we knew at the time, but we are now looking at the impact of that decision and we don't really see that it has accomplished what it is that you stated that you're trying to accomplish.
Do you feel at liberty, Dr. Deutch, to bring to the attention of the Commander in Chief or to this Committee, conclusions that might be at odds with decisions that we have previously made?" The analyst's answer to this question, regardless of who does the asking, must always be an emphatic yes a tall order, given the sensitive nature of the relationship between him and the policymaker with whom he must interact daily. Difficulties notwithstanding, it is clear that the intelligence community as a whole must place its collective professional integrity ahead of all other individual allegiances.
Overcoming Cultural Differences: the Case of the NIEs
No baseline examination of the relationship between the producers and the consumers of intelligence is complete without a discussion of the tribal tensions plaguing that interface. Arthur Hulnick thus summarizes a basic problem: "Evidence suggests that policymakers value research work on the basis of brevity, timeliness, and relevance, in that order. Intelligence producers tend to reverse those priorities." Whereas policymakers are driven by current needs, intelligence production elements are thinking and planning for the long term.
This attitudinal conflict is epitomized by the debate surrounding the National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs). Long a hallmark of American intelligence, estimative intelligence is putatively the highest artform practiced within the IC; among its successes one counts the 1990 estimate that correctly predicted the violence in the former Yugoslavia. Yet the NIEs have been subjected to years of criticism due to among other things their inaccessible length and lack of relevant timeliness. Painstakingly compiled, national estimates at times comprise multiple volumes; and once distributed, they are often dismissed for being unrelated to the priority policy issue of the day. A former NSC staffer puts the timeliness problem as follows: "Even if it's going to happen in six months, does it matter for what I've got to do in the next three months? And what's the operational implication of that conclusion?" Another senior State Department official goes so far as to state, "I've never been a fan of estimates. They're usually mushy and cautious. I'm kind of interested when they're on a subject I don't know about, because I'll pick up facts. But estimates often seem just to be instruments of bureaucratic warfare. A policymaker usually has some expertise of his own, after all."
Considering the immense potential benefit good estimative intelligence can provide, the current situation calls for immediate remedial effort . Here as elsewhere, the intelligence community the National Intelligence Council in particular must maximize its comparative advantage. The value-added lies in the customization of intelligence, in making analysis accessible and relevant to the policymaker. As former National Intelligence Officer Robert Blackwell notes, consumers find the IC helpful "Not necessarily because of the uniqueness of the sources, but because you have a lot of horse power out here to pull together things from everywhere and try to package it in a way that you can digest." The capability for all- source analysis lies at the heart of the intelligence community's production expertise and should be utilized accordingly.*
Areas of Concern
In addition to the perennial considerations attached to producer-consumer relations, there are also newly prominent causes for concern brought on by the recent changes in the national security environment. Among the traditional clientele, intelligence support to the nation's economic policymakers in particular, and the timely dissemination of relevant analysis to consumers of national as opposed to military intelligence in general require meaningful improvement. As regards the intelligence community's service to "new" consumers, the most cogent need lies in maintaining and further reinforcing the IC's ability to both flexibly share and effectively protect American intelligence on such transnational threats as nonproliferation, global crime, and other not-so-new problems whose gravity have risen exponentially in the post-Cold War era. These emergent issues must be analyzed in light of the previously discussed fundamentals of producer-consumer relations to complete the calculus for reform policy recommendations.
Complaints from Traditional Consumers: Economic Intelligence
As mentioned earlier, official testimony recorded in open Congressional hearings indicate that the quality of post-Cold War service to date has been adequate. Yet, as the former staff director of the Aspin-Brown Commission, Britt Snider, notes: Witnesses tend to be a lot nicer with the microphone on. Interviewed in their own office, they are much more candid. The bulk of such complaints were directed against the intelligence community s performance on economic intelligence, says Snider. The veracity of his observation is born out by several media reports of dissatisfaction voiced by anonymous government officials.
The New York Times quotes a senior economic policymaker as follows: We discovered this doesn t come to them [intelligence analysts] naturally like an arms-control negotiation. Give them very specific direction on a limited basis, with a limited time and scope, where they can give you information that they have gathered electronically, and it s pretty helpful. But the minute that you rely on their political or economic assessments--well, let me be delicate: their capabilities are limited. Others have corroborated this allegation:
officials from Treasury, Commerce and the USTR say that they often receive less-than-useful support, that not enough comes through on countries of particular interest to them. Given the ever-increasing importance of economics to America's national security, these are complaints in need of immediate response.
There is encouraging evidence that some members of the intelligence community are moving to rectify the situation. The CIA, for instance: according to an economist at the Directorate of Intelligence who spoke with this writer on the condition of anonymity, the DI has moved significant resources in the past six months to improve analysis on priority regions. To aid the reallocation process, the Directorate has established a task force to survey senior consumers of economic intelligence about their current needs and requirements. While the end result of such efforts cannot be assessed until a later date, the initiative itself is unquestionably a step in the right direction.
For the future, reform efforts pertaining to producer-consumer relations in the realm of economic intelligence must explicitly define and target the value-added for improvement. It is common knowledge that straight technical economic analysis has long ceased to be an expertise unique to the intelligence community. That is a fact forthrightly acknowledged by intelligence professionals themselves; the DI economist mentioned earlier comments, "Frankly, it's a waste of tax payers money to duplicate what is done better on the outside using publicly available information." The thrust of economic intelligence should instead be focused on helping policymakers understand the political economy of foreign nations a hybrid expertise not found outside the intelligence community. Said another way, the intelligence community should concentrate its limited resources on the kinds of collection and analysis where it has a clear comparative advantage. In the words of Deputy Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, this constitutes analyzing "the interplay of economic, social and political implications" of an event to provide early crisis warnings.
Clearly, the task requires the intelligence community to cultivate and maintain the requisite skill mix in its work force. In order to serve consumers well, the producer needs to be capable of producing what the clients demand; to that end, the intelligence community must invest in its personnel base. Granted, this is an order ill-complemented by the ongoing downsizing of intelligence. CIA's Directorate of Intelligence, for example, will have reduced its position strength by 14 percent by the end of fiscal year 1997 as compared with 1995.
Nevertheless, facts remain that DI analysts average over 4000 hours of uncompensated overtime each week, and that a 20 percent annual turnover rate among trained economists is not uncommon. If the trend continues unchecked, it is doubtful that the intelligence community will have the necessary analytic assets in place to serve policymakers ten years hence.
Some initiatives that the DI has recently undertaken may mitigate, though not completely rectify, the situation. The economic analysis section has established the strategic economic unit, a body designed to among other things provide a more comprehensive training regimen to the agency's young economists; preparing them for specialization, not promotion through the management ranks. The unit also works with scholars-in-residence in an effort to expand the analytic skill base through outreach to academia. On a broader scale, the DI has set a goal to have 10 percent of its economists in full-time education slots outside the agency at any given time. Initiatives of this sort are ideally suited for both retaining and enhancing the intelligence community's skill mix not only in the realm of economics but also in other areas of production. They are not unduly resource-intensive and will more than likely yield subtantive returns. This study thoroughly endorses the effort undertaken by the Directorate of Intelligence and recommends that other IC members follow suit.
Complaints from Traditional Consumers: The Dissemination of National Intelligence
Thus far this section of the study has focused on one specialized problem in producer- consumer relations. The discussion now turns to a broader issue: the difficulties encountered in the dissemination of national, as compared with military, intelligence in general. Records of Congressional hearings indicate that the timely conveyance of tailored intelligence estimative and technical to civilian policymakers, particularly to those at the State Department, has been a long-standing target for improvement. The following section presents two strategies which attack the problem from opposite ends of the intelligence cycle delivery and tasking.
The most obvious way of improving dissemination is to physically upgrade the delivery system that producers use to reach policymakers. Needless to say, the intelligence community is well aware of this fact. Responding to a recent complaint on the State Department's behalf, then-DCI John Deutch replied: "it is an absolutely correct observation you make, and I think a lot of progress could be made on that point, toward more efficient electronic, especially distribution of products to the Department of State." Efforts are currently under way to provide electronic connectivity between all-source analysts and national-level decision makers at State and elsewhere.
Indeed, considering the often dangerous situations in which modern diplomacy is conducted implementation of the arms control stipulations of the Dayton Accord in Bosnia and Croatia, for instance a near-realtime intelligence dissemination service commensurate to that provided to the military should be made available to national policymakers as soon as possible. Granted, the undertaking will consume substantial resources; in Deutch's words both "money which is difficult to find in the State Department budget, where typically the distribution pieces are funded and technical expertise, either within the department or provided by the community." Nevertheless, modern technological advances offer one of the most promising and cost-effective avenues to the solution. This study strongly recommends that the intelligence community and its national clientele, in the spirit of true cooperation, equally share the cost burden and adopt information age solutions at the earliest juncture.
Compared with a system-wide hardware upgrade, the second approach to improving national intelligence dissemination is admittedly more subtle. It involves improving producer-to- consumer communication at the start of the intelligence process, in the tasking stages. An explanation of the rationale behind this strategy requires some discussion of the pathology of the problem itself: Citing the fact that the military components of the IC currently claim approximately 82% of the total annual intelligence budget, many a proponent of national intelligence has argued that the nation's war fighters have simply cornered the market on intelligence support and crowded out civilians in the process. The problems encountered in national intelligence dissemination, however, cannot be explained by a zero-sum illustration alone. In a very fundamental sense, problems in dissemination arise from problems in tasking.
As Senator Robert Kerrey astutely notes, "very often people will attribute a power- hungry Department of Defense as the reason that they seem to dominate the delivery of intelligence, but I actually think it's not the desire for power but the nature of people that are in the military." One can sum up the situation as follows: whereas the military consumer is operationally trained and able to task the IC with specific tactical requirements satellite photos of coordinate (X Y), for example the civilian policymaker or diplomat is forced to issue considerably diffuse requirements due to the relative breadth of his mission. Not surprisingly, the requirement with more details often yields "better" intelligence delivered in "better" format.
One of the many responsibilities of the intelligence community is to keep consumers well-informed about the resources available to them, enabling clients to formulate the right questions. Clearly, in meeting the needs of the State Department and other national consumers, the IC should go the extra mile to ensure that the policymakers receive precisely what they need by helping them communicate unambiguous demands. The task calls for closer contact between intelligence and policy at every level, through an expansion of the previously discussed liaison officer program for instance.* Another possibility would be to redirect the National Intelligence Council which already employs experienced analysts who have good access to top decision-makers to more systematically match policymakers' needs with IC capabilities.
Causes for Concern regarding Non-Traditional Consumers
With increasing frequency, the United States post-Cold War national security policy is being executed via multilateral initiatives in international entities like the United Nations, International Atomic Energy Agency, and the International Criminal Police Organization. America s stance on ethnic warfare, nonproliferation, and money laundering--to cite just a few examples--have become inextricably linked to such multilateral platforms through which concerted policy responses are carried out. By logical extrapolation, therefore, insofar as these international organizations contribute to the execution of United States foreign policy, they are legitimate consumers of American intelligence. Yet the inherently sensitive nature of intelligence sharing with non-domestic agencies clouds the issue, threatening to hinder the consumer-producer dynamic in this important field.
The necessity for cooperation, at least, is obvious. International technology control regimes, for instance, are growing increasingly dependent on reliable shared intelligence from the United States. The IAEA inspections of Iraq s nuclear development program following the Gulf War serve as a case in point. The first postwar inspection began in accordance with the old IAEA cooperative inspection model of asking the Iraqi authorities to take the inspectors where they needed to go. Not surprisingly, Iraq used this arrangement to keep the inspectors away from sensitive sites. When this same tactic was tried during the second round of inspections, however, the IAEA representatives replied by producing hand- held Global Positional Satellite (GSP) instruments and current intelligence data, including very accurate line drawings of Iraqi weapon sites. The United States intelligence community had provided the inspectorate with a broad range of NTM, HUMINT, and MASINT products to counter the Iraqi deception. This second inspection in June of 1991 led to the discovery of a previously undetected Iraqi uranium enrichment program. Similar successes can also be found in the United Nations, where American intelligence sharing has--among other things-- helped track refugees pouring out from remote parts of Rwanda and test the veracity of allegations of ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia. In a statement made in September of 1995, Senator Robert Kerrey goes so far as to remark that "Perhaps some of the most notable uses of intelligence in the last 18 to 24 months has been intelligence that's been provided to Ambassador Albright, to notify the Security Council that the North Koreans had built a nuclear threat. Lord knows what would have happened had we not had the capacity to provide our Ambassador with that information."
As a matter of course, however, such benefits must be carefully weighed against the pitfalls associated with intelligence sharing. As the IC disseminates its products more widely among the international community, the underlying collection methods and sources also become more widely exposed. This danger is compounded by the increased probability of security lapses that a bigger clientele brings. One writer notes that until well into the early 90s, many international organizations lacked even the most basic mechanical capacity for handling confidential information. The IAEA, for example, did not have a single secure telephone, fax, or conference room when the inspections in Iraq were in progress. The well- chronicled flap in Mogadishu--where American diplomats found cardboard boxes filled with classified US intelligence documents lying unattended in a vacant United Nations office in 1995 also makes a convincing argument for tightening control mechanisms in intelligence sharing.
However, some recently enacted Congressional restrictions on intelligence sharing while intended to improve security in non-domestic dissemination of sensitive information may have the adverse effect of unduly curtailing flexibility in the conduct of international diplomacy in the future. Section 308 of the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997 stipulates that no United States intelligence information may be provided to the United Nations or any organization affiliated with it unless the President certifies to Congress that (1) procedures are in place to protect information provided from unauthorized disclosure of US intelligence sources and methods, or (2) that providing such information is in the US national interest. Granted, the United Nation s security management practices and execution thereof leave much to be desired. Yet, requiring a Presidential report for every intelligence product disseminated to an increasingly significant consumer like the UN may prove problematic in the future where such sharing of information is likely to increase given the current trend.
The thrust of the protective effort should instead be implemented in the form of education and training programs for analysts, disclosure officials, and the non-domestic intelligence consumers themselves. In addition, intelligence products need to be designed to allow maximum dissemination at minimum classification levels. The fact is, the intelligence community has already undertaken concrete measures in this regard. The recently revised Director of Central Intelligence Directive (DCID) 1/7, Security Controls on the Dissemination of Intelligence Information, clearly states its goal as follows: to produce intelligence at the collateral, uncaveated level to the greatest extent possible, thus allowing for dissemination to all US need-to-know consumers and for release in gisted form to all appropriate foreign governments. The most effective solution to the problems associated with intelligence sharing is for the intelligence community is to really begin writing for the consumer, not for the President of the United States to approve every release of necessary information.
This study joins the Conference Study on Declassification, as well as DCID 1/7, in encouraging the production of intelligence in releasable formats through the use of tear-lines and marked portions. Concerning Section 308, this study recognizes that the intent of the rule is not to hinder intelligence sharing, but to in the words of the Minority Staff Director at the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Christopher Straub "provide both the administration and the United Nations an incentive to do better without impeding their day- to-day operations." Nevertheless, it is emphatically recommended that the implementation of this precautionary stipulation be accompanied by the requisite education and training programs to bring the UN's security procedures up to standard. Given the fact that the scope of intelligence sharing in the post-Cold War era is bound to increase at a rapid pace not only at international organizations like the UN but also among government agencies and NGOs it is imperative the intelligence community begin equipping its non-traditional clientele with adequate capability to ensure secure and synergistic flows of information between producers and consumers.
Thus far, this study has conducted an overview of the producer-consumer relationship as it stands, issuing general recommendations along the way. The following section presents additional normative prescriptions for improving the interaction between intelligence policy. Included also are two suggestions for measuring the success of post-Cold War era reform measures as they pertain to producer-consumer relations.
Congress: Make DCI a member of the National Security Council
The most important producer-consumer relationship in existence is that between the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) and the President. Currently, the only formalized contact between the President and his chief intelligence advisor occurs at the National Security Council (NSC) where the DCI, together with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, serves as a statutory advisor. In order to enhance access and contact between the President and the DCI, this study recommends that Congress amend the National Security Act of 1947 to give the Director of Central Intelligence a seat on the NSC as a statutory member. The study recognizes the fact that this proposal will likely precipitate considerable protest, mainly in the form of warnings against the dangers of politicizing intelligence. The intent of the recommendation, however, is not to add policymaking to the DCI's list of responsibilities.
Rather, it seeks to enable him to better fulfill his legal role as "the principal adviser to the President for intelligence matters related to the national security." As to the charges of politicization, one might remind the protesters that a former National Security Advisor to the President a policy counselor, if ever there was one stands nominated for the post of DCI under the supposition that an individual is able to make the distinction between the tendering of policy advice and intelligence service. The DCI will be more than capable of maintaining his integrity as an intelligence professional even as a full-fledged member of the National Security Counsel.
Congress: Make DCI Chair of the Committee on Foreign Intelligence
This study also recommends that Congress amend Section 802 of the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997. As it stands, the bill designates the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs as the chairperson of the new Committee on Foreign Intelligence in the NSC; the DCI, along with the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) and the Secretary of State (SECSTATE), is merely a member. Given the fact that the Committee was established for the purpose of "identifying intelligence needs" and "establishing intelligence priorities," the DCI as the sole intelligence professional among the four members is the logical choice for the chair. He alone has the requisite knowledge to properly guide substantive discussions on intelligence. Aside from the issue of chairmanship, the study welcomes the creation of the Committee on Foreign Intelligence. The CFI should prove to be a valuable medium through which the Intelligence Community can ensure that it remains in reasonably close contact with the highest echelon of influence in government.
ADCI/Administration: Increase IC Rotation Postings at Policy Agencies
Increased contact is important not only at the executive level, but also between mid-to-low rank producers and consumers. Intelligence professionals at all levels should clearly understand the needs of their core clientele and serve better with that knowledge. Irrelevance not politicization being the more insidious danger confronting the intelligence community in the post-Cold War era, the Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Administration (ADCI/A) should move aggressively to increase the number of IC mid-level career intelligence analysts who serve on rotation at policy agencies. The ADCI/A should also consider linking personnel promotion to rotations completed as a program incentive.
National Intelligence Council: Modify the Format of the NIEs
NIEs exist to provide policymakers with informed and objective assessments of the range of possible outcomes in uncertain situations. But too often, the extensive duration and the consensus-driven nature of the compilation process undermine the NIEs' potential utility (see related discussion on pages 9-11). This study recommends that the NIE format be modified to reflect greater timeliness in delivery and competitive analysis. For instance, the NIC could institute a six-month time limit on production duration and prominently feature alternative scenarios submitted for its review in the finished product. The use of special estimates (SNIEs) which fulfill more urgent requirements should be encouraged.
In addition, estimates should be drafted according to a set of standards which emphasizes the use of percentage figures to better quantify probabilities of possible occurrences; the explicit identification of assumptions underlying any conclusive statements; and clear delineation of information gaps.
DCI: Employ Information Age Solutions in Dissemination of National Intelligence
This study concurs with the majority consensus that modern technological advances offer one of the most promising and cost-effective avenues to improving producer-consumer relations. Today's political climate demands that the American establishment diversify its expertise even as its resources shrink. Calls for policy-driven intelligence necessitate customized service that further stretches the limits of intelligence professionals in the midst of personnel cuts. By allowing virtual co-location of consumers and producers, electronic connectivity will alleviate some of the mounting pressure. This study recommends that the DCI grant the CIA's INTELINK and other initiatives in this vein highest funding priority during upcoming allocation proceedings. While the initial investment will incur substantial costs, the eventual return will more than likely recoup the capital spent on infrastructure.
Finally, to measure the net effect of reform initiatives those already in effect and those proposed herewith this study recommends that the Executive Office institute a rigorous performance review program to be applied consistently throughout the intelligence community. In light of the fact that the IC now counts so many new non-traditional consumers among its clients, a systematic approach to tracking product effectiveness will prove to be an indispensable tool for quality-controlled service. In this vein, the following recommendations are proposed.
Congress: Task ADCI for Analysis and Production with Tracking Gaps in Service
The Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997 tasks both the Committee on Foreign Intelligence (CFI) and the National Intelligence Council to separately evaluate the collection and production of intelligence in the IC. This study recommends that Congress reconsider the decision and relieve the CFI from this duty. Called primarily to set intelligence priorities for the nation as a whole, the members of the CFI recall they are SECDEF, SECSTATE, NSA, and DCI are too overqualified and over-programmed to take on the job of issuing community report cards. The task should instead be shared by the NIC and the new Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis & Production (ADCI/A&P). Having already been charged with the task of minimizing duplication in analysis community-wide, the ADCI/A&P can relatively easily track overlap and spot gaps at the same time.
DCI: Establish Office of the Consumer Advocate within the ODCI
The DCI should establish an Office of the Consumer Advocate(CA) in the ODCI to poll consumers, to hear their complaints, and where possible to supplement the work of the ADCI/A&P. The study recommends that the CA's office be given no more than four staffers, and that one of the four serve as a liaison to both the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, compiling a database of consumer complaints brought up during Congressional hearings in both chambers. The oversight committees have access to a tremendous amount of feedback from various groups of intelligence customers. This recommendation is designed to enable the CA's office to tap into that valuable resource.
I. A Review and Critique of the "Intelligence Cycle"
Before delving into the pathology of the relationship between policy and intelligence, it will be helpful to examine the existing analytical framework behind the intelligence process and determine whether it still holds relevance in the new national security environment. At the most basic level, a model of the producer-consumer relationship should lend itself as a normative reference guide. Using it, one ought to be able to conduct regular procedural diagnostics to determine if "the right questions are directed at the analyst, the scope and direction of the analysis is relevant to policymakers, the product is packaged and delivered on time, and it takes a form that consumers find useful and easy to understand." A model that fails to meet this criterion should be modified to better reinforces the importance of close dialogue between the producers and consumers of intelligence.
The traditional intelligence paradigm uses the sequential loop shown on the following page to explain how the intelligence process is supposed to work. According to the Consumer's Guide to Intelligence, the cycle illustrated by the diagram begins with policymakers conveying their intelligence requirements to the IC. From there the appropriate agencies proceed to collect the pertinent raw data, which is in turn processed and readied for analysis. The production of finished intelligence comes next, where analysts integrate all acquired information into a presentable format. Finally, the product is delivered to the consumers with the need-to-know, who then either make a decision or issue new requirements, setting the cycle in motion once more.
The majority consensus among intelligence professionals, however, appears to be that this linear sequence is far too simplistic and rigid to serve as an accurate reflection of reality. The actual intelligence process is much more dynamic than the orderly but outdated progression depicted in the intelligence cycle model. One writer laments,
Though the ways in which people use information have changed dramatically, most discussions about intelligence still use a model of the intelligence process that dates from the 1940s. This traditional model of the "intelligence cycle" is linear and single-tracked No one believes that intelligence really operates this way, but the concept still underlies most intelligence planning.
The intelligence community should adopt a new procedural framework that better reflects the informal though somewhat untidy manner in which policy benefits from intelligence: a model that emphasizes the importance of continuous dialogue and practical flexibility in the process. Arthur Hulnick, a noted expert on producer-consumer relations, believes that the true cycle is better illustrated using a matrix of sustained interaction between the IC and its clients, with multiple feedback loops built in.
II. The Statutory Producers and Consumers of Intelligence
The United States intelligence community is a composite body made up of thirteen separate government entities. Each of these agencies engages in the collection and analysis of foreign intelligence in support of national policy formulation. Among the more prominent bodies counted in their ranks are the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), and the National Security Agency (NSA), as well as the Departments of Treasury and Energy.
The official Guide to Intelligence published by the Director of Central Intelligence, the titular chief of the intelligence community defines the term consumer as "an authorized person who uses intelligence or intelligence information directly in the decision making process or to produce other intelligence." Examples include the White House, the Congress, the Department of State, the United States Trade Representative, and the Department of Defense. In this study, the designation applies primarily to mid- to high-level policymakers involved in the strategic formulation and execution of American foreign policy.
The Major Products
For analytical purposes, the wide variety of finished intelligence that the intelligence community delivers to its equally varied clientele can be grouped in three broad categories:
1. Tailored ad hoc support: includes briefings, memorandums, single-source event reports, maps, charts, photographs, or models furnished in quick response to a consumer's request for specific information.
2. Current publications: refer to news reports compiled at regular time intervals and circulated to a pre-determined readership. The CIA-prepared President's Daily Brief (PDB), for one, is distributed only to the president, the vice president, the secretaries of state and defense, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
3. National estimates: dubbed by some as the "prestige art form," IC estimates are meant to be authoritative judgments on high-priority policy concerns. Two note-worthy examples are the National Intelligence Estimates (NIE) and the Special National Intelligence Estimate (SNIE), addressing perennial and specific needs respectively.
III. Improving Economic Intelligence Support to International Negotiations
One particularly important producer-consumer interface from which complaints have issued is the arena of international trade negotiations. Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Summers states, "As complex commercial and financial agreements become ever more important, the need to support our negotiating efforts becomes a particularly high priority." Given that the United States is currently engaged in simultaneous bilateral, regional, and global trade talks with partners ranging from Japan, Chile, and the European Union, the present situation demands a speedy and effective rectification. Billions of dollars and hundreds of jobs are at stake; as one official remarks, We simply can t go into this kind of thing disarmed.
It is interesting to note that the intelligence community, as it usually does under pressure, has performed rather well in crisis-level trade negotiations. The Washington Post reports that during the tense 1994 auto talks with Japan, for instance, American trade officials were accompanied everywhere by a team of intelligence officers who provided them with clandestine information gathered by the CIA s Tokyo station and the NSA s electronic equipment. Descriptions of conversations among Japanese bureaucrats and auto executives supplied by IC professionals enabled the American delegation to inform the Japanese automakers that negotiators from Japan s Ministry of International Trade and Industry were misrepresenting US demands to garner domestic support.
The intelligence community should tacitly adopt a policy of providing similarly tailored support to as many major negotiation teams as possible. The requisite justification already exists: President Clinton s National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement explicitly names the nation s economic well-being as a national security priority. Granted, some may argue that the danger of diplomatic affront and embarrassment make such initiatives more trouble than they are worth. However, the gathering of clandestine information in negotiation settings has long been a legitimate use of intelligence services around the world. In the words of one former Japanese diplomat, To look over the fence of your neighbor is a terrible thing, and maybe it makes for distrust. But it s an open secret that this goes on. The United States, as the unequivocal leader of the unwieldy campaign for global free trade, has many a fence to watch. This is a rare clear-cut case in which consumers need and demand information that the intelligence community alone can provide. Intelligence support for the nation s trade policymakers should be granted a priority status commensurate to its importance to national security objectives.
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