Intelligence Issues for Congress
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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To address the challenges facing the U.S. Intelligence Community in the 21st century, congressional and executive branch initiatives have sought to improve coordination among the different agencies and to encourage better analysis. In December 2004, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act P.L. 108-458 was signed, providing for a Director of National Intelligence DNI with substantial authorities to manage the national intelligence effort. The legislation also established a separate Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Making cooperation effective presents substantial leadership and managerial challenges. The needs of intelligence consumers -- ranging from the White House to cabinet agencies to military commanders -- must all be met, using the same systems and personnel. Intelligence collection systems are expensive and some critics suggest there have been elements of waste and unneeded duplication of effort while some intelligence targets have been neglected. The DNI has substantial statutory authorities to address these issues, but the organizational relationships will remain complex, especially for Defense Department agencies. Members of Congress will be seeking to observe the extent to which effective coordination is accomplished. International terrorism, a major threat facing the United States in the 21st century, presents a difficult analytical challenge. U.S. intelligence efforts are complicated by unfilled requirements for foreign-language expertise. Intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was inaccurate and Members have criticized the performance of the Intelligence Community in regard to current conditions in Iraq and other situations. Improved analysis, while difficult to mandate, remains a key goal. Better human intelligence, it is argued, also is essential. Intelligence support to military operations continues to be a major responsibility of intelligence agencies.
- Administration and Management
- Government and Political Science
- Military Intelligence