52. Minutes of a Meeting Among Vice President Mondale, Secretary of Defense Brown, Attorney General Bell, Director of Central Intelligence Turner, and the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Aaron)1
Priorities and Requirements
It was agreed that a committee of the National Security Council should be established to set intelligence priorities and overall requirements. It was noted that a way would need to be found to periodically bring in secondary intelligence consumers such as Treasury, Commerce, Agriculture, ERDA and the National Science Foundation.
Secretary Brown conceded that the right of decision of the national intelligence budget should belong to the DCI. In this connection, the DCI would be able to reprogram appropriations among intelligence programs. He suggested that the PRC(I) be changed from a collegial decision-making body to an advisory body to the DCI. The budgets should continue to be prepared by the intelligence agencies initially so that intelligence could be traded against other priorities and then [Page 294] subsequently formed into an overall national intelligence budget under the direction of the DCI. He also asked for the right to submit reclamas to the DCI’s decisions to the President.
The Vice President suggested that appropriations would go to the DCI with recommended allocations among the intelligence programs. As part of the DCI budget authority, he would have the responsibility and authority to do program evaluations and analyses.
The Secretary of Defense agreed but noted that it would be necessary to work out the details.
Director Turner said that the revamped PRC(I) should not be an NSC committee but a committee of the Director of the Central Intelligence. He emphasized the importance of being able to go behind the departmental budgets being presented to him in preparing a national intelligence budget. He expressed concern about the conflict that would exist when intelligence agencies would be asked both by the Secretary of Defense and the DCI to prepare budgets. He said he felt he needed line authority to properly implement increased budget authority.
The Secretary of Defense said that the DCI should be the decision-maker for tasking during peacetime. He said that he had two reservations: first, he would like to have a system in which he could make a reclama for a particular tasking decision. Secondly, he would like to be able to exercise the switch-over from peacetime DCI tasking to wartime tasking by the Secretary of Defense.
Admiral Turner insisted that line authority over the NRO/[less than 1 line not declassified] NSA, etc., was necessary in order to make the above agreed-upon improvements in budgeting and tasking effective.
Conflict of Interest
The Attorney General said that there was concern about the DCI heading one agency (CIA) while passing on the budgets of competing agencies. Rather than separating himself from line authority over the CIA, Admiral Turner said the solution was to give the DCI line authority over the other intelligence agencies as well.
- Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 30, Intelligence Reorganization, 1–7/77. Secret; Sensitive.↩