249. Memorandum From Director of Central Intelligence Helms to President Nixon1


  • Organization and Management of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Community


  • The President’s Memorandum of 5 November 19712

In referent memorandum you requested that I submit to you within thirty days plans for the appropriate delegation of my current authority for the management of the Central Intelligence Agency and for increased staff support in my new role as outlined in that memorandum.

I attach hereto a copy of the kind of delegation of authority to the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence which would seem to be in keeping with your directive.3 When General Cushman’s replacement is sufficiently indoctrinated, I will sign such a paper for him. You are of course familiar with the concerns Senator Stennis has about this delegation. The action vests in the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence all of the authorities necessary for managing and directing the plans, programs, and day-to-day operations of the Central Intelligence Agency, including certification of the expenditure of confidential funds. In fact, the only significant authority not delegated is the extraordinary authority, as set forth in Section 102c of the National Security Act of 1947, as amended, to terminate the services of employees in the national interest, which my General Counsel advises I may not delegate. The Deputy Director of Central Intelligence may, of course, exercise this unique authority when he is Acting Director of Central Intelligence.

I am also submitting herewith a tentative organization chart,4 setting forth our thoughts about how to organize for the new role you have given me. I will plan to build on the small staff which heretofore [Page 561] has been helping me with various intelligence community responsibilities and which will form the nucleus for the expanded structure. As you will see from the chart, I am planning to set up a staff the elements of which will be focused on the several objectives and tasks outlined in referent memorandum, along the following lines. A community comptroller’s office will be established, supported by a staff which will maintain year-round contact with the management of the various programs which comprise the U.S. intelligence effort. This office will assist me in drawing up the consolidated intelligence program budget and will provide the essential staff support for the Intelligence Resources Advisory Committee. This office will perform all the usual functions of planning, programming and budgeting for the over-all program. Another section, which will work very closely with the comptroller’s office, will be concerned with planning and program evaluation to assist in reaching decisions on the optimum makeup of our foreign intelligence program and in looking ahead to future needs. This will include an element which will monitor and evaluate the community’s research and development program to insure that it is properly focused and in support of the objectives of the total intelligence effort. In this section I would expect to have performed the detailed analysis and evaluation of programs from which to make decisions on the most effective combinations to produce the intelligence required. The third component of the staff will serve the dual function of acting as the contact point for the evaluations of the community product stemming from the National Security Council Intelligence Committee and the Net Assessment Group, and examining ways and means to improve the community’s production capability. Through this component I would expect not only to monitor community performance with respect to individual intelligence tasks, but also to examine the various intelligence organizations to see where their procedures and methods might be improved. In all this, the essential goal will be to improve the quality, scope and timeliness of the community’s product. These, together with the expanded United States Intelligence Board and its important subcommittees, should provide the structure needed to discharge my broadened community responsibilities.

The present estimate is that this increased staff will be on the order of 80 professional and clerical personnel. They will be drawn from the Central Intelligence Agency, from various elements in the community and, in a few cases, from the outside.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 333, Intelligence Reorganization, Vol. I. Secret. Copies were sent to Shultz and Anderson. Odeen and Marshall forwarded Helms’ memorandum to Kissinger under a December 14 covering memorandum that stated: “The general direction Helms’ plan takes appears adequate and appropriate. Andy Marshall will continue to monitor the staffing for Helms’ new role. All appears to be going well so far.” A notation on the covering memorandum indicates that Kissinger saw it. (Ibid.)
  2. Document 242.
  3. Attached but not printed.
  4. Attached but not printed.