57. Memorandum From Director of Central Intelligence Turner to President Carter1
Zbig has shown me the draft decision memorandum on PRM–11. I appreciate the monumental effort which has gone into the search for a middle ground. I also fully understand and concur with Harold’s concern for protecting DOD’s equity in intelligence collection management. The proposed decision does strengthen the budgeting and tasking authority I need to achieve your goals, but it basically fails to make the people who must respond to tasking and budget control ultimately responsible to the person giving the orders. I must give my estimate that it does not add much to Executive Order 11905. The historic inefficiencies, indecisiveness, difficulties in adapting to changing times and lack of accountable oversight would continue. In addition, my instincts tell me that within a decade the President’s requirement for military intelligence will have reduced in comparison with economic and political, and the DCI must have the authority to shape the system to meet that need.
Still, if a bold solution is not appropriate at this moment, the question is how to construct the most effective organization while providing for some degree of divided authority over our national collection assets. I see two possible approaches.
The approach taken by the compromise efforts to date, and the foundation of the draft decision memorandum, starts from the first principle that the basic organizational relationships which exist today should be preserved. This school of thought advocates only the minimum alterations necessary to visibly widen the DCI’s channels of influence over the Intelligence Community.
I prefer what is, in my view, a sounder approach which comes closer to providing the DCI the necessary authority to function effectively. It would start from the assumption that the bold plan is the more desirable long-term model; then, in deference to the concerns of Defense, it would circumscribe the amount of authority given to the DCI. There are reasonable ways to compromise from the bold plan in behalf of Defense, such as guaranteeing continuation of strong military [Page 305] representation in all collection agencies and structural recognition of the Secretary of Defense’s legitimate requirement to participate in tasking and budget formulation. Specific steps are detailed at Tab A.
Which of these two approaches you elect is a matter, it seems to me, of what kind of intelligence support you believe the country will need for the immediate future as well as for decades to come.