234. Draft Memorandum From Wayne Smith and Andrew Marshall of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Intelligence Reorganization: More Limited Options

If you do not want to recommend the reorganization and other measures the NSC/OMB study produced, there are more limited changes that would be useful and that would likely be supported by the PFIAB, OMB, and DCI. They are likely to produce little savings, at least originally, and reduce the chances for any major reforms in the operation of the intelligence community for the foreseeable future.

A minimal package would include:

Net Assessment Group in the White House to review the intelligence community’s output.
  • —Headed by a Senior Member of the NSC staff reporting directly to you.
  • —Total of 3–5 people.
  • —Charter to encompass review of NIEs, President’s Quarterly Report on Strategic Forces, CIA studies, DIA studies, intelligence community’s input required by NSSMs and other directives.
Measures to enhance the authority and capability of the DCI to plan and guide the national intelligence program.
  • —Presidential directive spelling out changes in DCI responsibilities and objectives of changed community arrangements.
  • —Delegation of day-to-day operations of CIA so that DCI can concentrate upon national programs.
  • —Increased staff supporting DCI in this role as manager of community.
  • DCI to prepare and present to OMB and President consolidated national intelligence program and budget. CIA and DOD to supply all information on their programs to allow this.
  • —Revision of NSCID 1 to make USIB advisory body and change structure to set up two major committees. One, essentially the current USIB, to assist DCI in producing substantive national intelligence. The other, a resources committee, to assist DCI in coordination of resource [Page 523] programs. This to be perhaps a combination of NIRB and Ex Com. Possible revision of other NSCIDs to clarify missions of major elements of community.
  • —Further development of focal point in DOD for control of intelligence resources. Perhaps assignment to one of the two Deputy Secretaries of Defense as a main responsibility and ASD/I reporting to him, creating point of contact for DCI.
Measures to improve guidance to DCI and community on intelligence product.
  • —Set up NSC subcommittee chaired by the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs to review national intelligence product and give guidance to DCI and community.
  • —Your participation on subcommittee to be staffed by Net Assessment Group.

The strategy would be to task the DCI more clearly with management of community and enhance his status and management capabilities, leaving to him the job of working out the many problems of overlap and inefficiency in use of resources and improving the quality of the product. Some thought should be given to steps to be taken later in the process. Extensive revision of NSCIDs is one example. Another is to look beyond Helms’ retirement and to do what can be done to get another John McCone, with strong management abilities, as the next DCI.


You will take a good month or so for preparation in appropriate Presidential directive, drafting version of NSCID 1, etc. Plan needs to be made for working with DCI and other community elements. Also preferable not to present as a major reorganization, but as another step toward better management of the community. This limited change may not work. There are many sources of inefficiency and duplication it stands little chance of touching. By itself, it will not do much to improve the product since it will not insure the needed increase in resources devoted to production and to the development of improved intelligence analysis methods.2

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 332, Intelligence Reorganization, Vol. I. Top Secret; Byeman. Kissinger initiated the memorandum.
  2. According to Haldeman’s diary, the President expressed the following views on intelligence during a July 23 budget meeting. “On a general basis, the P said never has a country spent more for less defense than does America. Then he got to intelligence, said we’ve got to take the same approach there. The CIA tells me nothing I don’t read three days earlier in the New York Times. Intelligence is a sacred cow. We’ve done nothing since we’ve been here about it. The CIA isn’t worth a damn. We have to get out the symbolism; so a 25 percent cut across-the-board, get rid of the disloyal types. He told Henry to take a full month to do it, that it couldn’t be done by Shultz or Weinberger. It must be in terms of strategy, not in terms of budget.” (The Haldeman Diaries: Multimedia Edition, July 25, 1971)