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Perspectives and Opportunities in Intelligence for U.S. Leaders

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Technical Report

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RAND Corporation Santa Monica United States

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In December 2017, the White Houses National Security Strategy described a vision for the U.S. Intelligence Community IC Americas ability to identify and respond to geostrategic and regional shifts and their political, economic, military, and security implications requires that the U.S. Intelligence Community IC gather, analyze, discern, and operationalize information. In this information-dominant era, the IC must continuously pursue strategic intelligence to anticipate geostrategic shifts, as well as shorter-term intelligence so that the United States can respond to the actions and provocations of rivals. The ability of the United States to modernize our military forces to overmatch our adversaries requires intelligence support. Intelligence is needed to understand and anticipate foreign doctrine and the intent of foreign leaders, prevent tactical and operational surprise, and ensure that U.S. capabilities are not compromised before they are fielded. In addition, virtually all modern weapon systems depend upon data derived from scientific and technical intelligence. This vision encapsulates the current state of activities already underway in the IC, while simultaneously describing an aspirational state. In this vision, no bureaucracies or red tape are acknowledged as standing in the way of intelligence officers adapting to the global environment. In this vision, one might assume that the IC is a unified entity with no organizational structures, acquisition regulations, or security clearance backlogs that impede U.S. intelligence officers from hunting information anywhere it resides and creating actionable intelligence. This vision describes an IC that anticipates geostrategic shifts, pivots quickly to short-term crises, and utilizes all possible information and scientific advancements.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Government and Political Science

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