10. Memorandum From Andrew W. Marshall of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Colby’s Proposed Replacement for the Present Board and Office of National Estimates

Attached at Tab A is a memorandum describing the tasks of the new National Intelligence Officers. I believe this change is basically [Page 16]good. There is also under consideration a parallel reorganization of the USIB Committee structure.

The intelligence community is primarily organized by function:

  • —By type of collection, e.g., Comint, photographic, human.
  • —By type of product, e.g., current intelligence, order of battle, national estimates.

The organization of the National Intelligence Officers on a geographic or topic basis should help the DCI to coordinate the collection and analysis efforts now organized by function. The NIO’s will resemble product or project managers in industry. They will have unclear lines of authority over other organizations, a demanding task of coordination, and a need to rely on personal influence. Industry has normally chosen its more aggressive managers for such tasks. My concern is that the implementation of Colby’s plan may falter on this point. The people chosen may see the job as primarily producing NIE’s, etc., rather than making sure there is a community-wide collection and analysis strategy for delivering improved products in their area.

I am doing what I can to make sure that the implementation is effective and tries to do more than just be another way of producing the NIE’s.

Tab A

Memorandum From Director of Central Intelligence Colby to U.S. Intelligence Board Members 2


  • National Intelligence Officers

1. National Intelligence Officers will be appointed by the Director of Central Intelligence for such geographical areas or functional subjects as may be required from time to time. Each NIO will be the Director’s personal representative and will report directly to him on his subject, but all direction will be subject to the Director’s approval and will pass through the normal command channels of USIB member agencies.

2. The primary function of an NIO will be to provide contact laterally on his subject across the functionally organized Intelligence Com[Page 17]munity and with customers and outside consultants as required. Each NIO will be responsible to the Director for providing Intelligence Community coordinated products (using such panels of experts or ad hoc committees and arranging USIB consideration as may be required) to satisfy requirements for NIE’s, NSSM responses, DCI briefings (e.g., NSC, WSAG, Congress), etc. He will assist the Director in identifying customer needs for National Intelligence, uncertainties requiring collection guidance, analysis or production, and national policy problems on which National Intelligence might offer assistance. He will maintain close personal contact with NSC Staff and other principal intelligence consumers and contributors at the departmental level. The NIO will be charged with presenting for the Director’s review fully objective presentations of alternate views and interpretations.

3. Each designated NIO will be assigned one or more assistants and secretarial aid as may be required from time to time to assist him in his substantive, coordinating and requirements duties and in drafting or editing when needed. These assistants will be assigned on an ad hoc or extended detail from USIB member agencies as required.

4. One National Intelligence Officer will be appointed as the Senior National Intelligence Officer, with administrative authority over the National Intelligence Officers. He will chair meetings of National Intelligence Officers for discussion of production standards, work sched-ules, quality control and product review. He will be assisted by an Editorial Staff to provide central editorial standards, schedules and assistance for the National Intelligence Officers. He will keep the Director advised as to the activities of the NIO’s and be a central point of contact for their activities.

5. National Intelligence Officers (tentative):

  • USSR and Satellites
  • Europe, EC and NATO
  • Northeast Asia
  • Southeast Asia
  • Moslem World
  • Latin America
  • Economic Intelligence
  • Strategic Weapons and Advanced Technology (SALT)
  • General Purpose Forces (MBFR)

As requirements change, these assignments may also vary and ad hoc assignments may occasionally be made. The NIO’s will work together to resolve apparent gaps or overlaps.

6. USIB members are invited to nominate candidates for the tentative positions in paragraph 5, from their agency or from other sources. Final selection will be made by the Director of Central Intelligence according to individual qualifications. Any individuals selected from [Page 18]outside CIA will serve on reimbursable detail. NIO’s will normally serve approximately three-year tours, followed by return to their parent agency.

7. The NIO’s will replace the present Board and Office of National Estimates, the Special Assistant for Vietnamese Affairs, and other units as appropriate. No change will be made in the present USIB Committee structure or functioning by reason of the establishment of NIO’s, although that structure may be independently reviewed for possible change after some experience with the NIO concept.

W.E. Colby 3
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 209, CIA, Vol. VI, 1973 [1 of 2]. Confidential. Sent for information. An attached undated handwritten note from Scowcroft to Kissinger reads: “Here is Andy Marshall’s analysis of Colby’s reorganization proposals. Pretty thin, but I guess we can assume Colby knows what he is doing. Even change for change sake in this case might be good for the product.”
  2. Confidential.
  3. Printed from a copy with this typed signature.