53. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Brown) to Secretary of Defense Brown 1



  • Intelligence Reorganization (U)

1. (C) The interagency deliberations on PRM–11 (intelligence reorganization) have brought into sharp focus differing views on the preferred organization of the US Intelligence Community. Accordingly, the Joint Chiefs of Staff believe it advisable to provide you their views on the proposed intelligence reorganization. Responsive and timely intelligence is critical to fulfillment by the Joint Chiefs of Staff of their statutory responsibilities.

2. (C) The current review of the intelligence structure and missions has been initiated from a desire to:

a. Improve intelligence support to the consumer.

b. Eliminate the potential for any illegal activity.

c. Economize on resources and minimize unnecessary duplication.

d. Improve the existing control over intelligence.

3. (C) While supporting any effort to improve the intelligence provided to consumers by national and tactical intelligence entities, the Joint Chiefs of Staff have no fundamental criticism of the collection, analysis, production, and performance of the Foreign Intelligence Community as presently structured. Improved production and performance must be a primary goal in any intelligence organization, but that goal can be achieved by improved management and command interest and therefore does not necessarily provide a justification for reorganization. Further, the need for a mechanism that permits competing estimates has been adequately shown recently—specifically in relation to the question of the Soviet military budget.2

4. (C) The case for organizational change rests primarily on the needs to prevent the improper use of intelligence assets, to improve the responsiveness to users, and to achieve economies by the elimination of unnecessary duplication. Most of the documented cases of significant abuse were attributed to the Central Intelligence Agency. Thus, the consideration of increasing the centralization of authority under the [Page 296] Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) in a dual-hat role would be contrary to the lessons learned and counterproductive to efforts at regaining the public confidence. In fact, separating the DCI from CIA better addresses the perceived problems. With respect to responsiveness, greater responsiveness to user needs is more likely to occur through greater involvement of the user in establishing requirements. Finally, fiscal saving is always an appropriate objective; however, this must not, by itself, dictate reorganization.

5. (C) The Joint Chiefs of Staff have discussed the salient issues surrounding the organization of the Intelligence Community and the desired DCI role, including the means of enhancing his ability to execute his legislated duties. The following views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are pertinent:

a. Responsive and comprehensive intelligence support to US operating forces is essential to US combat capabilities and should not be degraded in any way through organizational or management changes.

b. The principal task ahead is to develop greater responsiveness from national collection assets for tactical needs.

c. Multiple, independent analytical centers with access to key policymakers must be retained to insure dissenting views are not suppressed.

d. Peacetime cost effectiveness must not jeopardize intelligence capabilities required for wartime operations.

e. While economy should be a constant goal, it should be recognized that some collection/production redundancy is essential to:

(1) Assure adequate and timely coverage in support of routine as well as crisis situations.

(2) Optimize the utilization of often fragmentary information.

(3) Permit necessary independent analysis and production entities.

6. (S) Within the above context, the Joint Chiefs of Staff believe the Intelligence Community reorganization should provide a role for the DCI as follows:

a. Senior Foreign Intelligence Officer

(1) Serve as principal intelligence adviser to the President and as such have tasking authority over all national intelligence organizations of the Government.

(2) Review and evaluate all national foreign intelligence activities, and recommend to the National Security Council the allocation of all national foreign intelligence functions and resources.

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(3) Produce national intelligence, as required.

(4) Establish substantive and resource management objectives for the Intelligence Community, and review the performance of the Intelligence Community toward accomplishment of these objectives.

(5) Promote the development and consolidation of intelligence services which apply to more than one agency but can be performed by a single entity.

(6) Determine the chairing and staffing of all Intelligence Community advisory boards and committees.

(7) Be responsible for the coordination of all liaison with foreign intelligence services.

b. Leader of the Intelligence Community

(1) Chair the National Foreign Intelligence Board.

(2) Have responsibility to provide guidance for and coordinate, review, and present the National Foreign Intelligence Program (NFIP) budget.

(3) Chair the Policy Review Committee (Intelligence) (PRC(I)). PRC(I) to address:

(a) NFIP trade-offs.

(b) Determination of what programs belong in NFIP or intelligence-related activities.

(4) Be the executive head of Intelligence Community Staff.

c. Protector of the security of sources and methods

(1) Provide policy in this area.

(2) Provide an oversight and compliance mechanism.

(3) Implement and supervise compartmentation and declassification program.

7. (S) The DCI should not:

a. Have any authority, supervision, or control of Inspector General activities.

b. Have any control over tactical (intelligence-related activities) programs.

c. Have line authority over CIA if the DCI has resource authority over other intelligence elements.

d. Have line authority over NSA [less than 1 line not declassified]

e. Have any counterintelligence responsibility within the United States.

f. Have sole authority to determine collection priorities.

8. (U) The above views on reorganization of the Intelligence Community are oriented primarily toward military aspects and are not meant to be all inclusive. Fundamental to these views is the belief that [Page 298] intelligence is primarily a tool, albeit a critically important one, to successful planning and operation of US combat forces. The Joint Chiefs of Staff request that you forward these views to the President.

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

George S. Brown
General, USAF
Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 30, Intelligence Reorganization: 1–7/77. Secret.
  2. Not further identified.