235. Memorandum From the Director of the Program Analysis Staff, National Security Council (Smith) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Intelligence Community Reorganization

Attached is a self-explanatory joint memorandum from you and Shultz to the President on the reorganization and management of the intelligence community. It has been thoroughly reviewed by Shultz and signed. In my judgment, it represents a workable package, that meets both your and Shultz’s major objectives within the parameters of no new legislation, achieving some savings, and making no fundamental organizational changes in DOD.

The accompanying package contains:

  • —Memorandum to the Intelligence Principals for the President’s signature.
  • —Personal letter from the President to Helms.

The memorandum to the Intelligence Principals directs:

  • —(1) The DCI to assume leadership of the community and accept major responsibilities for:
  • —Planning and reviewing all intelligence activities and the allocation of all intelligence resources.
  • —Producing national intelligence.
  • —Chairing and staffing of all intelligence community advisory boards or committees.
  • —Reconciling intelligence requirements and priorities within budgetary constraints.
  • —The DCI to prepare and submit each year, through OMB, a consolidated intelligence budget.
  • —The revision of NSCID 1 to reflect the changed status of the DCI, in the course of which USIB to be made strictly advisory to him.
  • —(2) The revision of NSCIDs and DOD directives to establish no later than January 1, 1972:
  • —A unified National Cryptologic Service.
  • —A single Defense Investigative Service.
  • —A unified Defense Mapping Service with unification restricted largely to production activities.
  • —A restructured National Reconnaissance Office under DOD control.
  • —The transfer of full responsibility for all clandestine HUMINT collection to CIA.
  • —(3) The creation of an Intelligence Resources Advisory Committee, chaired by the DCI, including members from Defense, State, and CIA to advise him on the allocation of budget and resources to programs.
  • —(4) That USIB assist the DCI in the production of national intelligence and in the efficient allocation of existing intelligence assets.
  • —(5) Establishment of a National Security Council Intelligence Committee, chaired by you, with the Under Secretary of State, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and the DCI as members, to give policy direction on intelligence needs and provide for a continuing evaluation of intelligence products.
  • —(6) The creation of a Net Assessment Group within the NSC staff responsible for reviewing and evaluating intelligence products and for producing net assessments.

These changes require no legislation and focus upon (1) enhancing the DCI’s powers to give leadership to the community, (2) eliminating overlap and duplication in roles and missions and thereby achieving some savings, and (3) improving the review and policy guidance devoted to intelligence products.

These changes are more limited than those considered earlier in the NSC/OMB study but are significant and impressive as a total package.

The major savings anticipated result from the restructuring of NRO and the unification of the cryptologic services. Lesser savings are expected from unification of Defense investigative services and Defense mapping activities. All of these items are strongly endorsed by Shultz, however, and represent the only changes from the earlier package I forwarded to you in San Clemente. (At my insistence, OMB fell off a number of other such measures they originally wanted to include.) A Unified National Cryptologic Service and a restructured National Reconnaissance Office under DOD control are changes long overdue. I wonder, however, if the small savings involved in a single Defense Investigative Service and a Unified Defense Mapping Service are worth the inevitable screams we will get from the Services. I am reluctant to jeopardize our more fundamental objectives by including marginal items such as these. You may want to raise this point with Shultz.

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The currently proposed reorganization greatly increases the status and capabilities of the DCI and points him toward the goals of:

  • —More efficient use of resources.
  • —Abolition of outmoded divisions of labor.
  • —Improvements in the scope and quality of substantive intelligence products.

The memorandum to the Intelligence Principals states these goals and gives further guidance to the DCI and other members of the community concerning the kinds of additional changes that may be required to attain them. Hopefully, the DCI will proceed as fast as possible to the achievement of these goals. However, to maximize the success of this reorganization, I believe that the following implementation process should also be used:

  • —As soon as you and Shultz are in basic agreement, Helms should be shown the proposed memorandum to the principals. At Tab A you will find an informal input regarding Helms’ view of what is needed to make progress toward a more effective, efficient community in the near term. It is generally in line with the measures in the currently proposed reorganization. Some minor adjustments might be useful, if Helms felt strongly about them. A great deal is being staked on Helms’ pushing toward the stated goals. He should be gotten on board as soon as possible.
  • —Issuance of the memorandum for the Intelligence Principals and letter to Helms after Presidential decision.
  • —Draft revision of the NSCIDs to be undertaken under the direction of NSC/OMB staffs. Helms’ people ought to be involved in this, however. Each word and comma in the current version is freighted with meaning from past controversies. Initial drafts prepared in NSC/OMB should be submitted to Helms’ staff for comment. Final drafts might be submitted to NSC Intelligence Committee for final action.
  • —Meeting of President, you, Shultz, and Helms to discuss the goals of the reorganization and to present to Helms the President’s views on problems and issues that need priority attention. I will prepare talking points for this meeting.
  • —Meeting of Helms’ staff and the NSC/OMB staffs to discuss major problems and issues. This meeting would parallel the one above. Its purpose would be to communicate ideas emerging from NSC/OMB study as to major areas of inefficiency and waste, improved staffing to assist Helms in his new role, details of consolidated budget preparation process, etc.
  • —Meeting of you, Shultz, and Helms with all interested parties, e.g., PFIAB, USIB, Packard, Alexis Johnson, Service intelligence chiefs, [Page 527] OST representative to press home awareness of President’s goals, his view of major problems, and to express support of DCI in his new role. Also, this is the forum in which to stress the need for the more efficient use of resources devoted to collection, the need for upgrading the quality of intelligence analysis, and the value of a multiplicity of vigorous, first-rate centers of intelligence analysis, feeding into an improved process for producing national intelligence.
  • —Review by NSC/OMB of Helms’ plans for delegation of management of CIA, for an enhanced staff to assist him in reviewing, planning, preparing consolidated intelligence budget, and for improving substantive intelligence products.


That you meet with Shultz to resolve any remaining issues.
After you and Shultz agree, that you start the implementing sequence by discussing the memorandum for Intelligence Principals with Helms.
After you have discussed the memo with Helms, that it be forwarded to the President.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 332, Intelligence Reorganization, Vol. I. Top Secret; Byeman. Sent for action. Sent through Haig. The memorandum is marked “Outside System.” A handwritten note states: “Handcarried memo for Pres. to Alex Butterfield on 9/8/71 pm.” Other than Tab A (Helm’s input), the tabs are not attached.