50. Paper Prepared in the Department of Defense1


The principal problem with the present intelligence effort is that it is not adequately responsive to users, whether they are national, departmental or tactical. The central issue in assessing the options available to solve this problem is whether a community orientation should, with appropriate modifications, continue to characterize the approach to intelligence, or whether there should be, de facto, a separate department of intelligence. In the view of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the pluralism of the community approach reflects the reality of diversity among users’ needs as well as a prudent means of controlling excesses, whether they be budgetary or ethical. More specifically, a community approach

• reflects, and thus is likely to be more responsive to, the wide range of consumers—whose needs sometimes overlap and sometimes differ greatly—from the President to tactical military commanders;

• encourages independent analytic centers—and collects responsively to their needs;

• ensures readiness for war; and

• provides checks against abuse.

This paper proposes a series of organizational changes, collectively described as “Option A,” that will improve the existing intelligence capability. These changes maintain a “community” approach but improve the mechanisms through which the community operates. The benefits of the community approach are so substantial that the proponents of a single intelligence command approach should bear the burden of demonstrating that perceived deficiencies in the present system are real, recurring, and so great that the changes proposed for the present system cannot succeed.

Option A includes nine significant changes to the current system:

Restructuring of system for setting priorities: Responsibility for setting intelligence requirements and priorities would be separated from management policy, operating policy and budget decision-making by setting up a new committee of consumers. It would include the Vice [Page 279] President, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and other user departments who would be represented on a rotating basis. This priorities committee would be supported by the NSC staff.

New tasking procedure: Responsibility for tasking collection facilities during peacetime would be explicitly delegated to the DCI. He would seek the advice of committees of consumer and producer representatives. Tasking decisions could be appealed by consumers to the priorities committee, there to be finally decided.

• In crisis or war, power to task collection facilities would be delegated to the Secretary of Defense.

Expanded access to data: Access to the data produced by each collection facility would be specifically authorized for each production facility.

IC staff members designated by the DCI would have explicit authority for direct access to program managers, with information copies of requests to a designated point within the department concerned.

Revised budget procedures: Responsibility for preparing budget requests for each of the intelligence entities would rest with the department or agency with line authority over the entity. Those budget requests would be submitted to, reviewed and amended by the PRC(I), chaired by the DCI and supported by the IC staff. Appeals would be directed to the NSC. The PRC(I) would submit a consolidated intelligence budget to the President.

• The budget approved by the PRC(I) would be “fenced” from departmental or DCI changes. Reprogramming decisions requiring Congressional action would be made by the PRC(I) and below that level by the departments.

• The IC staff would have explicit authority to verify program and budget implementation by the departments.

Improved safeguards against abuse: The DCI would be divested of current responsibilities for ensuring strong inspector generals community-wide. In order to avoid conflict of interest, these responsibilities would be transferred to the IOB.

Option A can be measured against a series of eight objectives common to all intelligence activities.

1. Diversified and high quality service.

2. Readiness for crisis or war.

3. Adaptability to shifts in emphasis and technological change.

4. Safeguards against abuse.

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5. Efficient management of high-dollar assets.

6. Balance between funds devoted to intelligence and funds devoted to other programs.

7. Pooling information and collaborating in judgment.

8. Independent source of judgment.

There is general agreement on these eight objectives within the existing intelligence community. There is less agreement on the extent to which these goals can be achieved through organizational change. The discussion that follows considers the utility of organizational change generally and of Option A specifically.

1. Diversified service. High quality intelligence must be made available to the President and to a wide spectrum of users that reaches horizontally across a dozen Executive departments and vertically through four or more levels of line authority within those departments; and beyond that to an extensive military constituency ranging from the Joint Chiefs of Staff down through more than 6,000 military command units. The principal problem with the current system is that the intelligence produced is not sufficiently responsive to the needs of these users. Solving this problem requires that the system collect the data necessary to meet user needs; that it have adequate information processing capability and sufficient able analysts to produce the type of intelligence (broad or specific, long or short range) that users need; and that it be structured to allow competing views to come to policy-makers’ attention. Option A structures the system to be responsive to consumer needs to the extent this can be done by organizational change.

(a) Setting priorities. Requirements are specified to make the intelligence community responsive to consumer needs by identifying topics of consumer concern and setting priorities among those topics. Under the present system, requirements are often set by producers of intelligence, acting through the DCI or the PRC(I), rather than by consumers. Option A proposes that requirements be established by a committee of consumers composed of the Vice President, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and one of the other consumer departments who would be represented, as designated by NSC, on a rotating basis. This would assure direct consumer input in a forum set aside exclusively to deal with the problem of responsiveness. Option A would also provide support for the priorities committee from the NSC staff. This would be a change from the current system under which the setting of priorities is managed by the IC staff in its role as providing support for the DCI.

(b) Collecting Information. Effective user input into the establishment of general priorities solves only half the problem of how to make the intelligence effort more responsive to consumers. There must also be [Page 281] effective user input into the method by which those general priorities get translated into day-to-day collection activities. Under the current system the DCI has tasking authority over the collection facilities. Each of the community’s major intelligence elements is represented on the DCI’s Committee on Imagery Exploitation (COMIREX), Signals Intelligence Committee, and Human Resources Committee. Consumer representation allows the committees to make informed recommendations about the relative need for data from the many targets which can provide information. If the committees are unable to reach decisions through consensus, the DCI decides. Under the current system the DCI also has the prerogative of making collection tasking decisions himself, without committee participation.

Collection tasking currently faces four problems: lack of a mechanism to appeal tasking decisions that are considered by consumers to be unresponsive to important consumer needs; inadequate coordination between the DCI imagery, signals, and human collection committees; difficulty in having some of the human collectors respond to committee tasking; and absence of Secretary of Defense tasking authority in time of crisis or war. Option A proposes that the DCI retain authority over collection tasking and that it be made explicit; that the present committee structure be modified, as the DCI deems appropriate, to allow for better “all-source” coordinated collection; that consumers have a mechanism to appeal tasking decisions; and that the Secretary of Defense be given wartime and military crisis collection tasking authority.

The problem of obtaining effective consumer input into the collection tasking process is readily resolved within the current system. Option A provides an appeal mechanism so that, where necessary, consumers can redefine tasking directions to be more closely responsive to their needs. Appeals would be to the priorities committee on which only consumers sit. This mechanism would, in operation, allow the priorities committee to consider requirements priorities down to the level of specificity necessary to make the system responsive to their needs. In an emergency, the chairman of the priorities committee and the DCI could act alone.

The problem of inadequate coordination between the collection committees can be solved within the current system since the committees are jointly served by the DCI’s IC staff, a member of which chairs each of the committees. This problem should be susceptible of solution either by some consolidation or by the DCI appointing a “Director for Collection” or both. Under Option A, the DCI’s authority over such reorganization would be made explicit so no misunderstanding could occur.

It is more difficult to solve the perceived problem of improving the response to consumer requirements of the human collectors. The [Page 282] majority of such collectors are foreign service officers and other governmental officials who are not formally members of the intelligence community even though they provide large amounts of information for the community’s use. Attempting to exercise greater intelligence community authority over these officials probably would be counter-productive to the broader governmental task because closer association with intelligence work would cause them to be viewed with suspicion or caution by their normal sources. Even without greater intelligence community authority, however, the great volume of information that these human sources already produce can be better utilized through better management of the existing flow of information with computer capability or other systems and better coordination of these resources. Under Option A, these information management and coordination functions would be lodged with the DCI.

The absence of tasking authority for the Secretary of Defense in times of military crisis or war may have been the result of an oversight when the current Executive Order was drafted. Explicit authority for the Secretary of Defense to task collection facilities directly during crisis or wartime, and the conduct of peacetime exercises to practice such tasking, is necessary to provide for smooth transition from peacetime conditions. Under Option A the decision with respect to “passing the gavel” on tasking responsibilities would be provided for by amending E.O. 11905 to give this authority to the Secretary of Defense. In the event of crisis or war the system would be in place and there would be no need for procedural decisions to be made at a time when substantive decisions are critical.

(c) Obtaining high quality analysis. Human analytical talent is one of the most important factors in producing sound intelligence judgments that are directly responsive to user needs. High quality analysts make their greatest contribution when the support systems—such as capable linguists and high capacity computers—are adequate. The managerial and personnel aspects of this problem predominate and they do not respond to organizational change. Indeed, major structural changes may cause personnel losses by disrupting established working conditions, downgrading perceived importance of contributions to the intelligence effort, untying established loyalties and changing other non-monetary benefits of the current system. The technological aspects of this problem do not respond to organizational change either. Very sophisticated computers and computer programming are necessary to further enhance collection assets and that is a managerial and personnel, not an organizational, problem. Option A accordingly proposes to maintain the present system of line control over analysts and their support systems.

(d) Providing for competing views. Only by maintaining independent, competing analytic centers will policy-makers have available to them [Page 283] the best possible intelligence. Option A proposes to continue the existing independent departmental analytic centers—DDI (CIA), DIA (Defense) and INR (State)—and the present system of having both coordinated production of national intelligence through the DCI and independent departmental production of intelligence on matters of national significance. Option A strengthens this capacity for competing views by providing explicitly that every production facility will have access to the information or data gathered by every collection facility within the community. To be effective, this must be accompanied by special efforts to remove unnecessary restrictions imposed by compartmentation.

2. Readiness for wartime. Option A provides an adequate structure within which to manage the transition from peace to crisis to war. It provides for the Secretary of Defense to have crisis and wartime tasking authority and maintains the current system in which the military are fully integrated into the operation of the technological collection facilities that are of primary importance to the military mission. This integration allows for optimum use of intelligence in support of military operations. Intelligence collection and analysis is a function that in crisis or war situations must be performed extraordinarily well. Military participation in peacetime is central to readiness for crisis or war.

Field commanders now operate the intelligence collection, processing and production systems every day, and they learn to use intelligence efficiently, as an integral part of their command operations. In wartime or in crisis, the system can operate in the same fashion as it does in peacetime. There is no period of confusion or delay as military personnel take on formerly civilian functions or as the emphasis of the system shifts from partial to primary involvement in solving military problems. Line control of intelligence collection, processing and production facilities by DoD means that military officers have a substantial incentive to become specialists in intelligence work. They have career patterns available to them that promise substantial advancement for excellence in intelligence work. Moreover, the extensive use of military personnel provides flexibility as to assignment in hardship, afloat or overseas posts on short notice that would be more difficult to achieve with a civilian work force.

The current allocation of substantial line authority over major collection agencies to the Secretary of Defense is critical to readiness for war. It enables each of the technological intelligence collection agencies to work in the closest way with non-intelligence military operations and support elements.

The signals intelligence system combines NSA and the military service cryptologic agencies to establish a single organization providing the high technology and the necessary interrelationships, both technical [Page 284] and managerial, that successful signals intelligence requires. The combined NSA/CSS gives the service cryptological components in the field the necessary NSA cryptological support to meet military requirements and thereby avoids the necessity of military duplication of NSA assets. Likewise, the NSA/CSS amalgamation maximizes efficient resources allocation because NSA itself receives the benefit of substantial military support including the [number not declassified] military personnel assigned directly to NSA and [number not declassified] additional military people engaged in various aspects of the SIGINT collection process on a worldwide basis.

The [less than 1 line not declassified] takes full advantage of the established procedures and support capabilities for acquiring and operating satellite reconnaissance vehicles. The office provides strong, national leadership in the development, management, control and operation of [1½ lines not declassified] The [less than 1 line not declassified] direct manpower support requirements total [number not declassified] of whom [number not declassified] are members of the Department of Defense and approximately [number not declassified] are uniformed military personnel. In addition to those military personnel directly assigned to the [less than 1 line not declassified], another [less than 1 line not declassified] members provide essential indirect support including meteorological data, airlift, provision of launch vehicles, and program office personnel.

[1 paragraph (7 lines) not declassified]

These programs function well. Military resources serve both national and tactical needs; national intelligence needs arising outside the Department of Defense are met. [4 lines not declassified]

3. Adaptability to shifts in emphasis and technological change. Adaptability to shifts in emphasis is a matter of responsiveness to consumer needs, and is discussed above (pp. 4–6). Adaptability to technological change is a more complex problem.

Our national technical intelligence systems are markedly superior to those of the Soviet Union, and provide us with a vital strategic counter to the relative intelligence disadvantage we face because of the Soviets’ closed society. This superiority has resulted from the effective and imaginative exploitation of our superior technical base [9 lines not declassified]

[2 paragraphs (27 lines) not declassified]

Option A recognizes the critical nature of this transfer and organizes to enhance it. A national intelligence organization not integrated with the military would build an organizational fence around intelligence which would convert a difficult problem to a near impossible one. As noted above, NATO has no prospect in the foreseeable future [Page 285] of matching the Warsaw Pact in numbers of tanks and guns. It must instead use technology, particularly in intelligence, as an effective force multiplier. This technology is changing rapidly and to explore it properly requires an organization which integrates intelligence with weapons systems, and with military command and control, not one which isolates it from them.

4. Safeguards against abuse. Preventing abuse and promoting public confidence in the intelligence community are crucial objectives of any community restructuring attempt. Option A is designed to be responsive to both these considerations.

In the first place, important checks and balances are inherent in a relatively decentralized system. To find abuse is difficult enough; to uncover it in a centralized bureaucracy is even more difficult. Public trust in the intelligence system also responds in some measure to the organization of the system. A monolithic system is likely to cause more public concern than is a decentralized system, such as that suggested by Option A, where information on abuses can rise through several alternate channels.

Second, the DCI has no present responsibility to control abuse throughout the community, although under E.O. 11905 he is supposed to ensure strong departmental inspectors general. Assumption by the DCI of community-wide responsibility to control abuse would create a conflict of interest since DCI is a collector of intelligence through the Clandestine Service on which investigations of abuse have centered. To eliminate the conflict of interest this duality of roles creates, Option A suggests divesting the DCI of even his present limited role with respect to abuse in agencies other than CIA. Responsibility for ensuring strong departmental inspectors general should be lodged in the Intelligence Oversight Board to whom they now report.

5. Efficient management of high dollar assets. The efficient management of high dollar assets involves two distinct components: (a) optimally utilizing the intelligence community’s present resources to achieve its goals; and (b) purchasing future assets in such a way that the community will be able to provide an optimal output in the future.

(a) Efficient use of current resources. There are three aspects of efficiency with respect to current resources that should be considered: responsiveness to users, integration between the intelligence community and military personnel and support systems, and elimination of duplication of effort. Option A will provide for efficient operation in each of these areas. First, as discussed above at pp. 4–6, the option [Page 286] will enhance the system’s responsiveness to users. Second, [3 lines not declassified] As the Church Committee noted,2

“despite the magnitude of the tasks and the complexity of the relationships, most of the important collection activities conducted by the Defense Department (the reconnaissance and SIGINT systems) are managed relatively efficiently and are generally responsive to the needs of the military services as well as to the policymakers on the national level” (Vol. 1, p. 462)

Finally, Option A minimizes unnecessary duplication. To be sure, under Option A there can be duplication of effort on the production (as distinct from the collection) side as when, for example, [less than 1 line not declassified] and CIA both produce analyses of Soviet force structure. This duplication, however, is precisely what produces the diversity of views within the intelligence community upon which, it is agreed, sound intelligence judgements rest. As such, this sort of duplication adds to, rather than detracts from, the effective provision of intelligence. Moreover, on the production side the system is using relatively low-cost assets (primarily analysts). It is on the collection side where the system is using very high-cost assets (satellites, aircraft, submarines, computers and electronic signals equipment) that duplication of effort could be a significant problem but, as the Church Committee noted with respect to the technological collection activities, there is no inefficient duplication of effort under the current organizational structure.

(b) Efficient acquisition of future assets. Under E.O. 11905, the PRC(I) now produces a consolidated national foreign intelligence budget by reviewing and amending the component budgets presented to it by the departments and the CIA. Option A continues this centralized budget-making mechanism with three substantive modifications that would improve the efficiency of this system.

First, the IC staff would have explicit authority for direct access to program managers to obtain program and budget data provided that a central coordinating point within the department was kept informed. This would end any concern about access to program information.

Second, the PRC(I) would make all intelligence budgetary reprogramming decisions which require Congressional action, while the departments would make the smaller reprogramming decisions which fall into the Congressionally exempted category. Such an arrangement would ensure that the PRC(I) determines when and how to approach Congress on reprogramming decisions of relative significance, but would avoid unnecessary bureaucratic layering and give the depart[Page 287]ments appropriate flexibility on reprogramming decisions of relatively minor consequence.

Third, the IC staff would have explicit authority to verify resource allocation to ensure that budgetary decisions were carried out in the manner intended.

The resource allocation mechanism proposed by DOD—maintenance of the PRC(I) with the modifications suggested—will serve the goal of maximizing efficient acquisition of resources for the future. The mechanism is new, however, and it should therefore be recognized that the difficulties the PRC(I) encountered last year were to a significant extent the sort of procedural problems that any new organization will face. These are being progressively solved in practice, and Option A proposes formal changes to the structure that complete that process. The other significant difficulty created by the PRC(I)’s performance last year was its failure to consider cross-program trade-offs. This was largely the result of time constraints. More time and greater familiarity with the budgetary process should allow the PRC(I) to make cross-program decisions. Indeed, a primary benefit of the centralization of the budgetary process in the PRC(I) is that it allows for efficient development of the budget by providing a mechanism for the very kind of cross-program trade-offs that the PRC(I) did not have time to make last year.

Efficient management is also served by that aspect of the PRC(I) mechanism that provides for the departments (and the CIA) to originate the various components of the national intelligence budget. This allows the departments to respond to their specialized intelligence needs, to assess initially the relative importance of intelligence and non-intelligence resources, and to ensure that newly acquired intelligence assets will be compatible with the existing intelligence and non-intelligence assets with which they must be used. A budget originated outside the departments would be unlikely to perform these important functions.

The PRC(I) performs another important function in the efficient acquisition of future assets. Efficient management of intelligence community budget decisions is substantially handicapped because no calculus is available to measure the real impact of different resource decisions. Instead, subjective judgments by the decision-makers play an enormous role. As the Church Committee stated:

“Lacking a sound methodology by which to relate outputs to inputs, management by the intelligence community must remain as subjective as the product in which it deals. . . .

Thus, “the [resource allocation]3 issue can only be evaluated subjectively, taking into account those few factual statements that are at hand [Page 288] and the judgments of the intelligence experts (recognizing, of course, the institutional biases the judgments may reflect).” (Vol. 1, pp. 340, 339).

Reorganization cannot create the conceptual methods to measure utility and the impact of various alternative strategies. These needs respond to innovative personnel rather than to changes in organization. In such circumstances, the collegial PRC(I), which allows for interplay of subjective judgments among the various departmental representatives, is far more likely to arrive at an appropriate resource judgment than a wholly centralized mechanism having its own institutional orientation and lacking the necessity of responding to the (perhaps more valid) orientations of the departments.

6. Balance Between Funds Devoted to Intelligence and Funds Devoted to Other Programs. Under Option A, the departments initiate the intelligence budget and are required, in doing so, to take into account the constraints placed upon that budget by their need for other, non-intelligence assets. Additional intelligence/non-intelligence trade-offs can take place under the Option A in the PRC(I) where most of the principals have an obligation with respect to non-intelligence programs, and at the OMB and Presidential levels. Maintaining the present PRC(I) budgetary system will ensure continued attention to achieving an appropriate balance between funds devoted to intelligence and funds devoted to other programs.

7. Pooling Information and Collaborating in Judgment. Option A provides for collaboration in judgment of the several analytic centers and the pooling of data to this end. Currently, the three chief production centers, DDI, [less than 1 line not declassified] and INR, respond to requests from the DCI. In the development of National Intelligence Estimates, [less than 1 line not declassified] INR the political information, and DDI the economic information. Option A proposes the continuation of the independent analytic centers and the present system of collaborative judgment.

Option A also improves the pooling of data between analytic centers. While data has traditionally been pooled, problems of access have developed from time to time and have been exacerbated by overly compartmentalized classification systems. Option A proposes that there be an explicit authorization for the analytic centers each to have access to the data collected by the various collection systems and a working group established with authority to eliminate any excessive compartmentation.

8. Independent Source of Judgment. Providing an independent source of judgment to senior policy-makers requires that three distinct principles be adhered to. First, the community must have an analytic center that can operate free from departmental bias (although it is well to [Page 289] recognize that any institution ultimately takes on its own biases). Second, the chief spokesman with respect to intelligence matters must have sufficient time to devote to the process of developing intelligence judgments. Third, the organizational structure of the community must allow for competing views on matters of national import to come to the policy-makers’ attention.

Option A meets each of these requirements. The DCI would be retained as the President’s chief advisor on major intelligence questions, with the CIA under his line authority to provide him analytic support. The DCI’s principal responsibility would be producing intelligence judgments. No additional line management responsibilities would be added to dilute this responsibility. The independent departmental centers would be retained, free to produce intelligence of national significance on matters they deem appropriate.


Option A adds new elements to meet demonstrated needs not now served by the current system, retains the elements of the current system that work well, and clarifies the elements of the current system as to which there have been ambiguities in the past. It uses collegial mechanisms where they provide substantial benefits, centralized control in the DCI where the efficiency to be gained by that approach outweighs adverse impacts, and decentralized line management where requirements can best be served by that approach. In particular, it protects military readiness and combat capability, now and in the future. This option is a realistic remedy for those specific deficiencies in the current system that are responsive to organization change.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Office of the Director of Central Intelligence, Job 97M00248R: Policy Files, Office Level and Above, Box 2, Folder 16: Intelligence Structure and Mission (Folder 5). Secret. A handwritten note in the upper right-hand corner reads, “Rec’d 7/7/77.”
  2. See footnote 5, Document 41.
  3. Brackets are in the original.