The Next Four Years: Intelligence Community Reform Refining, not Rebooting


The Next Four Years: Intelligence Community Reform Refining, not Rebooting

Monday, December 3rd, 2012 - 15:11
In the next four years the executive and legislative branches will pick up the recurring question of additional intelligence community reform.

Understanding the Problem

The U.S. intelligence community is a collection of 16 agency and departmental organizations executing a roughly $75 billion annual budget. The community’s mission to understand the world, warn of crises, and support national security actions—often against cunning and destructive threats—is a difficult one to put it mildly. We can describe the problem of managing intelligence in practical terms by considering it
from two aspects: integrating the five functional intelligence disciplines, and applying the intelligence enterprise to the range of national security problems and questions.

The best intelligence requires the integration of five primary types of intelligence—signals (SIGINT), human (HUMINT), open source (OSINT), geospatial (GEOINT), and measurement and signatures (MASINT). This is not simply a matter of integrating the data produced by these five functional disciplines. The “connect the dots” metaphor has little resemblance to the object it seeks to describe. Technologist Jeff Jonas, who is not an intelligence professional, has a metaphor that closely resembles the reality of intelligence problems.

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