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9. Memorandum From Director of Central Intelligence Colby to President Nixon 1


  • Objectives for the Intelligence Community


  • The President’s Memorandum of April 18, 1973

Your directive of November 1971 included a list of major objectives that must be attained to increase substantially the efficiency and effectiveness of the intelligence community.2 I propose to adapt these as the Intelligence Community’s objectives and to require that specific steps toward them be taken during the next four to eighteen months.

A. The responsiveness of the U.S. foreign intelligence effort with respect to national requirements must be subject to continuing review and the quality, scope and timeliness of the community’s product must be improved.

To meet these objectives, I plan to do the following regarding the National Intelligence Product:

—through the NSCIC, determine by December 1, 1973 which national intelligence products satisfy user needs and identify new product requirements;

—achieve significant improvements in product formats and production procedures to increase responsiveness early in 1974;

—establish by December 31, 1973 procedures to enable the NSCIC and my own staff to review the responsiveness and quality of the community’s product.

B. Authoritative and responsible leadership for the community as a whole must be assured.

To meet this community leadership goal, I will:

—issue specific planning objectives shortly to the elements of the community;

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—complete the restructuring and strengthening of my personal staff by October 15, 1973 to provide me independent support in community matters;

—participate actively in the NSCIC and insure that IRAC and USIB have a dynamic and forceful role in the community;

—review the USIB committee structure before the end of 1973 and direct, if necessary, changes to increase USIB effectiveness in advising me on national requirements;

—review programs to upgrade the quality of intelligence personnel and improve personnel management in the community.

C. A more efficient use of resources by the community in the collection of intelligence information must be achieved. Utilization of the means available must be in consonance with approved requirements of U.S. security and national interests.

To meet this goal I will, with respect to

National Intelligence Program Budget Recommendations:

—continue to support the President’s intelligence budget for FY 1974 before Congress;

—develop for FY 1975 and beyond National Intelligence Program Budget recommendations. These will result from the review procedure of the various intelligence entities and the total review and deliberations of the IRAC on the programs therein. The National Intelligence Program Budget will be my personal recommendation to the President on the level of national intelligence resources, their utilization and performance;

—institute a quarterly review by the IRAC of resource utilization by all intelligence entities;

—with the advice of IRAC and the USIB, define and complete, throughout FY 1974, a series of major program issue studies.

Research and Development:

—form an R&D Advisory Council as a subcommittee of IRAC by mid-October 1973;

—instruct the Council to review all R&D activities within the National Intelligence Program to identify ongoing R&D efforts, their costs, their purpose, and who has responsibility for each effort;

—instruct the Council to recommend by January 1, 1974 an overall R&D strategy and structure for IRAC consideration based on a clear perception of intelligence needs which identifies technological gaps and resource deficiencies, eliminates unnecessary duplication of effort, and stresses cross-program technology transference.

D. Assignment of intelligence functions within the community must be reviewed and revised to eliminate inefficient, unnecessary or out-moded activities.

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To meet this goal I will, with respect to

Measures of Intelligence Worth:

—undertake specific studies to evaluate the intelligence product and its worth to the consumer and eliminate intelligence collection and production effort of marginal usefulness;

—undertake selective review during the next 18 months of the following in order to better rationalize the division of labor and increase the number of services of common concern performed within the community;

  • —indications and warning intelligence
  • —ELINT processing and exploitation
  • —current intelligence reporting
  • HUMINT operations and foreign service reporting

—explore and, where necessary, increase the usefulness of the intelligence product to Net Assessment producers and consumers.

Tactical Intelligence:

—submit a report in the third quarter of FY 1974 on the national/tactical intelligence interface. As a basis for this report I will,

—ask the Department of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to review the requirements for intelligence assets in place with the military forces, and identify support which could be provided to the military forces from national assets;

—determine, with the assistance of program managers, the contribution which can be made to the national intelligence effort by the in-place assets of the military forces, and identify the kinds and amounts of data from national assets which can be provided in a timely and usable form to military force commanders;

—formulate recommendations in consultation with the Secretary of Defense by early in 1974 to insure that the needs of national intelligence and of military operations are met and to avoid unnecessary overlap or duplication in the national and tactical areas.

E. The provision of intelligence and its utilization must enhance the formulation of the foreign, military and economic policies of the U.S. Government and the planning for and conduct of military operations by U.S. forces.

To meet this goal I will, with respect to

Consumer Needs:

—implement a procedure with USIB whereby requirements for collection and production of intelligence are kept under continuing review. Provision will be made for the introduction of new requirements as needed and for elimination of those which become out-of-date.

Military Intelligence:

—have the Department of Defense identify by November 1, 1973 the ten or so highest priority needs in the field of technical intelligence required by their planners;

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—prepare for NSCIC approval in the third quarter of FY 1974 intelligence production programs in Soviet and Chinese military R&D, and in Warsaw Pact general purpose force effectiveness.

Economic Intelligence:

—identify during the second quarter of FY 1974 the current needs of the users of foreign economic intelligence;

—determine, in coordination with other Federal agencies, what contribution the intelligence community can make in this area;

—determine appropriate resource levels and, through USIB, assign responsibilities for collection and production in this area;

—provide for implementation of this program by the end of the third quarter of FY 1974.

Narcotics and Terrorism:

—in coordination with other Federal agencies, identify the needs for foreign intelligence in these areas, and match the unique capabilities of the intelligence community to those needs;

—determine by January 1, 1974 the appropriate assignment of responsibilities and the resource levels which the community should devote to these problems.

W.E. Colby
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 209, CIA, Vol. VI, 1973 [1 of 2]. Secret. Attached to a September 13 memorandum from Marshall and Kennedy to Kissinger, on which Scowcroft initialed his concurrence with Colby’s objectives. Colby’s memorandum responds to an April 18 memorandum from Nixon to Schlesinger requesting an outline of major goals and objectives for the CIA in the coming year. (Ibid.) Colby was sworn in as DCI on September 4.
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. II, Organization and Management of U.S. Foreign Policy, 1969–1972, Document 242.