Intelligence Issues for Congress [July 24, 2009]   [open pdf - 243KB]

"To address the challenges facing the U.S. Intelligence Community in the 21st century, congressional and executive branch initiatives have sought to improve coordination among the different agencies and to encourage better analysis. In December 2004, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (P.L. 108-458) was signed, providing for a Director of National Intelligence (DNI) with substantial authorities to manage the national intelligence effort. […]. Making cooperation effective presents substantial leadership and managerial challenges. The needs of intelligence 'consumers'--ranging from the White House to cabinet agencies to military commanders--must all be met, using the same systems and personnel. Intelligence collection systems are expensive and some critics suggest there have been elements of waste and unneeded duplication of effort while some intelligence 'targets' have been neglected. The DNI has substantial statutory authorities to address these issues, but the organizational relationships remain complex, especially for Defense Department agencies. […]. International terrorism, a major threat facing the United States in the 21st century, presents a difficult analytical challenge. Techniques for acquiring and analyzing information on small groups of plotters differ significantly from those used to evaluate the military capabilities of other countries. U.S. intelligence efforts are complicated by unfilled requirements for foreign language expertise. […]. Intelligence support to military operations continues to be a major responsibility of intelligence agencies. […]. Counterterrorism requires the close coordination of intelligence and law enforcement agencies, but there remain many institutional and procedural issues that complicate cooperation between the two sets of agencies."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL33539
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