Imagine you were recently selected to be the new Director if National Intelligence (DNI). You are now responsible for reconstructing the field of security intelligence. As the new DNI answer each of the following questions (each answer maximum one page; 12 point font).
- 1. Describe how intelligence is currently defined and how you would re-define intelligence
Currently, intelligence is defined as the information relating to the identification and counteracting potential security threats that are likely to be posed by hostile individuals or organizations taking part in terrorism, subversion or sabotage (Interagency Threat Assessment and Coordination Group, 2008). In the context of national security, intelligence refers to the gathering and processing of information relating to foreign nations as well as their agents; this information is required by the government to formulate its foreign policy as well as for national security. The term “intelligence goes hand in hand with “counterintelligence”; this is because intelligence involves knowing information in advance in order to formulate a course of action to counteract any potential security threats. This definition perceives intelligence as “information regarding foreign entities such as events, things and places, which are required by the government to execute its functions (Department of the Defense, 2000).
The current definition of intelligence has a number of weaknesses and there is the need to re-define intelligence. For instance, the current definition of intelligence fails to outline the key attributes associated with intelligence. In the wake of these pitfalls, I would redefine intelligence as “real time gathering and analysis of information that poses a potential threat to national security with the primary objective of providing comprehensive and actionable insight to counter the potential threats to national security.” In addition, it is important to specify that the acquiring intelligence is often undertaken by the government, although the government may not be involved in its collection. There are some instances where intelligence gathering is extremely unofficial. A key attribute of intelligence is secrecy to avoid the disclosure of intelligence; secrecy is vital to the success of counterintelligence. In addition, intelligence should not only be linked to a foreign viewpoint alone; rather, it can also be vital in helping the government to craft domestic policies aimed at bolstering national security.
- 2. Describe the current intelligence cycle and how you would re-construct the intelligence cycle;
The intelligence cycle refers to the process of constructing polished intelligence to aid in policy making from raw and unrefined information. Currently, the intelligence cycle comprises of 6 steps, which include requirements, planning and direction, collection, processing and exploitation, analysis and production, and dissemination. Requirements refer to the identified information needs, which are the things that an intelligence agency ought to know in order to safeguard the nation (FBI, 2013). The Director of National Intelligence established the intelligence requirements basing on the guidance of the homeland and national security advisors, and the president. Planning and direction involves managing the entire process from the identification of the intelligence requirements to the delivery of the intelligence to its consumer. Collection involves collecting raw information with regard to the intelligence requirements; this involves activities such as liaison relationships, searches, human source operations, physical surveillances and interview. Processing and exploitation entails transforming the information gathered to a form that it can be used by analysts; this involves activities such as decryption, data reduction and translations. Analysis and production involves converting the raw information into polished intelligence and includes data analysis and evaluation and the preparation of intelligence products. The relevance, validity and reliability of the raw information is also determined during this step. Dissemination is the last phase and involves distributing the finished intelligence. Some of the standard formats used by the FBI to disseminate intelligence include FBI Intelligence Assessments, FBI Intelligence Bulletins, and Intelligence Information Reports (IIR).
In reconstructing the intelligence cycle, I would retain all the steps but include a 7th step known as feedback. The current intelligence cycle fails to take into consideration that the intelligence cycle is a form of a closed cycle loop; therefore, there is the need to receive feedback from the consumers of intelligence in order to issue revised intelligence requirements.
- 3. Identify the various types of intelligence and how you would prioritize which types the intelligence community will focus on (why choice of prioritization)
The types of intelligence depend on the nature of the intelligence products and what they are used for (function). The functional categories of intelligence include basic intelligence, current intelligence, estimative intelligence, target intelligence and warning intelligence. Basic intelligence refers to intelligence that offers reference material that can used for planning and act as groundwork to process subsequent information. Basic intelligence comprises of any background information relating to any pertinent subject and is always maintained in databases that are updated regularly (Warner, 2013). Examples of basic intelligence include information on adversary history, leadership, training, deployments and capabilities. Current intelligence has the primary objective of explaining what is taking place in the current situation as well as what is likely to happen. Current intelligence is a fundamental component of situational awareness. Estimative intelligence refers to intelligence that offers a forward-looking assessment as well as predictive judgment. Estimative intelligence tries to predict the potential future activities that the adversary may engage in together with their implications. Target intelligence offers targeting data that can be used for targeting purposes. In this regard, targeting intelligence helps in identifying and locating the components of a target, their vulnerability as well as their relative importance. Lastly, warning intelligence offers any warnings regarding the potential threats to national interests for the purposes of effective counteraction (Warner, 2013).
The primary focus of the intelligence community will be warning intelligence; this is because warning intelligence can be used to support decision-making at the strategic intelligence level. Strategic intelligence level represents the intelligence needed to formulate strategy and policy at the national level, which is the highest intelligence level derived from data gathered across the widest area in order to address the national issues associated with the military, economy, political and diplomacy. The next priority will be current intelligence and estimative intelligence, which fall at the operational intelligence level to support the conduct and planning of major events.
- 4. Describe the current intelligence oversight structure and how you re-construct oversight for intelligence;
Currently, the legislative and executive branches of the US government share the intelligence oversight duties. In this context, oversight involves supervising intelligence agencies with the primary objective of increasing accountability in the intelligence community. Intelligence oversight bodies in the US are primarily concerned with actions’ legality, operations, quality of analysis as well as the needs of policy makers (Interagency Threat Assessment and Coordination Group, 2008). Executive oversight of intelligence places emphasis on espionage and covert action, whereby the President is the head of the executive oversight and that all covert actions have to be approved by the President. In addition, the President has the authority to appoint commissions that can utilized in the assessment of intelligence topics; for instance the Iraq Intelligence Commission and the National Commission on Terrorist Attack. Legislative oversight of intelligence is vested in the Congress, which places emphasis on the budget supervision, intelligence failures, actions’ legality and quality of analysis. The two main committees involved in the intelligence community oversight are the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence: Oversight Sub-committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Under the current intelligence oversight structure, it is evident that an overlap exists between the authorities and responsibilities of Executive and Legislative oversight; this stems from the natural competition existing between executive and legislative branches, which results in tensions since both oversight bodies attempt to achieve particular goals using their corresponding authorities and powers. In this regard, there is the need to restructure intelligence oversight in the US in order to mitigate the separation of power issues in intelligence oversight.
In restructuring intelligence oversight, I would recommend intelligence oversight to be placed under one body, mainly through Executive oversight; this would help eliminate the competing interests between the Executive and Legislative with regard to intelligence issues. Owing to the fact that the White House has the authority to control how information is classified and restrict access to information as well details of operations from particular Congress members, it is better placed to oversee intelligence when compared to Congress.
- 5. Identify one of the key problems in contemporary intelligence and describe how you intend to rectify the problem.
One of the key problems facing contemporary intelligence relates to the rapid increase regarding internet usage. The internet hosts vast intelligence information cached from prior years and being directly accessible; this offers foreign intelligence agencies and any other potential adversary, with an opportunity to identify classified information using various means such as cyber attacks. For instance, an article published in Chicago Tribune in 12th March 2006, titled “Internet Blows CIA cover” reported a directory of at least 2600 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employees, internal CIA telephone numbers, and a number of locations in the United States having secret CIA facilities. This was possible by just running a commercial online data service (Crewdson, 2006). Despite the fact that the internet plays a pivotal role in facilitating free and rapid information distribution, it poses a significant challenge to information security for intelligence agencies. In an attempt to curtail this, the government is likely to increase the difficulty if accessing information by enacting strict privacy laws; however, this is likely to pose some challenges to intelligence communities (Kaveh & Gustavo, 2007).
In order to address this challenge, it is imperative to establish information security measures that ensure that identifying classified information via the internet is impossible. This requires the intelligence agency to strengthen its cyber security infrastructure that is capable of keeping security attacks at bay.
Crewdson, J. (2006, March 12). Internet Blows CIA Cover. Chicago Tribune .
Department of the Defense. (2000). Doctrine for Intelligence Support to Joint Operations. Washington: Joint Publication 2-0.
FBI. (2013). Directorate of Intelligence. Retrieved April 28, 2013, from The Federal Bureau of Investigation : http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/intelligence/defined
Interagency Threat Assessment and Coordination Group. (2008). Intelligence guide for first responders. Retrieved April 28, 2013, from https://hsin-intel.dhs.gov
Kaveh, M., & Gustavo, D. (2007). Critical Issues in Contemporary Counter Intelligence. UNISCI Discussion Papers , 53-70.
Warner, M. (2013). Wanted: A Definition of “Intelligence”. Retrieved May 10, 2013, from CIA: https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol46no3/article02.htmlhttps://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol46no3/article02.html