59. Presidential Directive/NSC–171


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Attorney General
  • The Director of Central Intelligence


  • Reorganization of the Intelligence Community (U)

I have reviewed the results of the PRM/NSC–11 studies relating to organization of the Intelligence Community and subsequent SCC deliberations and have reached the following conclusions:

1. The National Security Council will continue to act as the highest organizational entity that provides guidance and direction to the development and formulation of national intelligence activities. To this end, the Policy Review Committee, chaired by the DCI and to include the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Treasury, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and other attendees as deemed appropriate by the chairman, will meet as an intelligence requirements committee. The primary function of the PRC intelligence requirement meetings will be to define and prioritize substantive intelligence requirements and evaluate analytical product performance. The PRC will submit semiannual reports to the NSC on its activities.

2. The Director of Central Intelligence will have during peacetime full tasking responsibility and authority for translating PRC-validated national intelligence requirements into specific intelligence collection objectives and targets and assigning these to intelligence collection organizations. For these purposes a National Intelligence Tasking Center jointly manned by civilian and military personnel will be established under the direction of the DCI to task all national intelligence collection systems. The Tasking Center will also be responsible for ensuring that the resulting intelligence flow is routed immediately to relevant components and commands. In periods of crisis or during war the power to task collection facilities may be delegated to the Secretary of Defense upon the express direction of the President.

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3. The Director of Central Intelligence will have full and exclusive authority for approval of the National Foreign Intelligence Program (NFIP) budget prior to its presentation (through usual procedures) to the President, for its presentation to Congress, reprogramming of NFIP funds and monitoring program implementation. In response to DCI guidance, the departments and agencies of the NFIP will submit their proposed national program budgets to the DCI and assure that the DCI has all information necessary to perform his budgetary responsibilities. The National Foreign Intelligence Board will advise the DCI on all of his budgetary responsibilities in the same manner as it does on national intelligence production and other activities of common concern.

Department heads will retain the right to reclama DCI budget decisions to the President.

4. The DCI will be provided with adequate staff support to ensure his full access to relevant information and the capability to carry out program audits and evaluation.

5. The Director of Central Intelligence will continue to act as the primary adviser to the National Security Council and the President on substantive foreign intelligence and to have full responsibility for production of national intelligence in appropriate consultation with departmental analytical centers. He will retain all other powers provided to him under relevant statutes and executive orders.

6. Apart from the foregoing, authority to hire and fire personnel and to give day-to-day direction to implement assigned tasks will remain with the heads of the relevant Departments and Agencies. All other organizational and operational arrangements and responsibilities assigned under existing statutes and executive orders shall remain in full effect. Personnel administration, management and support activities, operational implementation of DCI tasking, and audit/inspector general functions will remain as presently assigned under departmental arrangements.

The Director of Central Intelligence and the Secretary of Defense shall draft an Executive Order to implement the above decisions for review by the NSC Special Coordination Committee and my approval.2 This will provide the basis for consultation with Congress on the development of appropriate charter legislation.

Jimmy Carter
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Council, Institutional Files, 1977–1981, Box 1, PD/NSC 1–32 [1]. Official Use Only. Carter initialed the upper right-hand corner of the page.
  2. See Document 76.