Title: The National War College. Syllabus Course 5612. Joint Force Capabilities - Topic 9
TOPIC 9: THE US INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY
17 February 2000
"The necessity of procuring good intelligence is apparent & need not be further urged - All that remains for me to add is, that you keep the whole matter as secret as possible. For upon Secrecy, Success depends in Most Enterprises of the kind, and for want of it, they are generally defeated, however well planned & promising a favourable issue."
George Washington. Letter dated 26 July 1777
"The great military victory we achieved in DESERT STORM and the minimal losses sustained by US and coalition forces can be directly attributed to the excellent intelligence picture we had on the Iraqis."
General H. Norman Schwarzkopf US Central Command, 1991
Every US President since George Washington has used secret intelligence to help win and maintain America's independence, reducing the chances of defeat and the cost of victory.
This topic introduces the character of the US Intelligence Community and its role in the formation and execution of national security strategy. It also discusses how intelligence is produced, by looking at the intelligence cycle and the structure of the Intelligence Community. Finally, it looks at enduring challenges faced by the Community and new challenges that have acquired particular prominence since the end of the Cold War.
- Comprehend the roles and missions of the US Intelligence Community and what US intelligence is required by law to provide to the nation.
- Comprehend the organization and capabilities of the US Intelligence Community and how and why US intelligence is organized as it is.
- Comprehend the culture of US intelligence - the values of the Community, its leadership, and its people.
- Comprehend the current challenges - the most pressing problems and concerns facing US intelligence and understand why these problems exist.
- Comprehend the role of intelligence in joint military operations, particularly its contribution to strategic planning, and the fundamental precepts and policies that guide how the US Intelligence Community carries out that role.
- Comprehend the future vision of US intelligence - where the Community and its leadership see itself in the future.
US intelligence can be approached from any number of directions - examining bureaucratic organizations (roles and structures), technologies and their exploitation by intelligence collectors, or successes and failures. This topic takes an initial historical approach, asking how US intelligence has been used in the past, and why it exists in its current form.
The most straightforward role for intelligence is that of "enabler" or "force multiplier" for the other tools of statecraft. For example, secretly acquired information, combined with open-source material, can provide the detailed information needed to:
Locate and assess the most efficient and effective means of destroying an opponents command and control system or maneuver forces in wartime; Demarche a wayward country selling sensitive material to a rogue state; Give American arms control or trade negotiators key insights into others' intentions, perceptions, and willingness to come to an agreement.
In addition, intelligence information can suggest the opportunity for, and lay the groundwork to conduct, covert actions on presidential authority.
Counterintelligence plays a vital role in determining how other countries or non-state actors attempt to penetrate America's inner councils, and in stymieing their efforts. It also serves a growing need to detect and unveil others' deceptions efforts.
The US Intelligence Community is a relatively large and complex organization. Strategists need to know its structure and components, and recognize how they can tap into its considerable potential. They also should be aware of tensions and trade-offs, such as that between current intelligence and in-depth analysis, and between tailored support and generic products. Future senior officers will get the most out of intelligence as they become not only demanding, but discriminating consumers who know how the system works.
Rafts of enduring challenges face today's intelligence collectors and analysts, and new challenges have risen. In addition, new technologies create a tougher collection environment, while personnel and fiscal reductions, greater demands and lack of redundancy call for doing more with less. The successful strategist of the future must drive intelligence collection, exploitation, and analysis with a professional understanding of what can be done, with what trade-offs and costs. Prioritization and thoughtful requirements have never been more important.
Issues for consideration
- With the growing need to coordinate our policies and actions with other countries, how large a role should (and can) intelligence play in shaping strategy and executing policy?
- How has the Intelligence Community adjusted to support more directly the Joint Force commander?
- Do future strategists receive an adequate explanation of the nature and capabilities of intelligence collection, exploitation, and analysis? What more do they need to be able to tap into this national resource in future positions?
- Are approaches to collection, exploitation, and analysis hangovers from the types of targets that dominated Cold War considerations? What kinds of professionals and training should be emphasized today?
- What are the technical, legal, and moral constraints to collecting against many of the transnational issues, such as terrorism and international crime? Should national leaders look for a new consensus to loosen the constraints?
* Central Intelligence Agency, A Consumer's Guide to Intelligence (Student Issue)
* Central Intelligence Agency, Factbook on Intelligence (Student Issue)
* Joint Pub 2-01, Joint Intelligence Support to Military Operations (Washington: Department of Defense, May 1995) (Student Issue)
* Joint Pub 2-02, National Intelligence Support to Joint Operations (Washington: Department of Defense (Student Issue)
* Joint Pub 2-01.1, Joint Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Intelligence Support to Targeting (Washington: Department of Defense)
* Hayden B. Peake and Samuel Halpern, eds., In the Name of Intelligence: Essays in Honor of Walter Pforzheimer (Washington: NIBC Press, 1994)
* Intelligence and National Security (Journal published by Frank Cass)
* Studies in Intelligence (Journal published by The Center for the Study of Intelligence, CIA)
* Intelligence Community (www.odci.gov/ic/icagen2.htm)
* Federation of American Scientists (www.fas.org)
* Harvard Project on Cold War Studies (www.fas.org)