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Intelligence Reform After Five Years: The Role of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI)

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Congressional rept.

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The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 P.L. 108-458 was the most significant legislation affecting the U.S. intelligence community since the National Security Act of 1947. Enacted in the wake of the 911 Commissions final report, the 2004 act attempted to ensure closer coordination among intelligence agencies, especially with regard to counterterrorism efforts. Most notably, the Intelligence Reform Act established the position of Director of National Intelligence DNI with more extensive authorities to coordinate the nations intelligence effort than those formerly possessed by Directors of Central Intelligence. The DNI speaks for U.S. intelligence, he briefs the President, has authority to develop the budget for the national intelligence effort and manage appropriations made by Congress, and, to some extent, can transfer personnel and funds from one agency to another. The Office of the DNI ODNI, a staff of some 1,600 officials along with additional contract personnel, works to carry out the DNIs responsibilities. Observers are divided over the success of the DNI position and the ODNI. Three DNIs have been successively appointed and confirmed none served more than two years. A number of innovations have been undertaken in the intelligence community to encourage coordination and information sharing. However, some observers remain skeptical of the need for a DNI or ODNI. A widespread perception is that coordinative mechanisms and authorities as currently established are inadequate to the goal of creating a more flexible and agile intelligence effort. Still others see cooperative efforts in the intelligence community as a test-case of the extent to which independent federal agencies can work closely together without being merged under a single leader. The roles of the DNI and the ODNI are likely to form the backdrop for congressional consideration of intelligence authorization legislation for FY2010 H.R. 2701 and S. 1494 and for FY2011.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Government and Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Military Intelligence

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