"The American Intelligence Community was born in 1947 with the passage of the National Security Act. It was conceived, however, on 7 December 1941 by the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. The experiences of Pearl Harbor and World War II, and, later, the Cold War, shaped America's views of how intelligence would support defense and foreign policy for the rest of the century. Overall, a finely honed and highly specialized intelligence architecture achieved indisputable success. Its occasional failures illustrate the incredibly high expectations that came to be the norm. The events of 11 September 2001 are another watershed, another chance to reconsider concepts and architectures. Over the past decade, commission upon commission has urged reform of the loose confederation that is the US Intelligence Community. Opposed by implacable champions of the status quo, precious few of these commissions have provoked meaningful change. Ten years after the end of the Cold War, the threat of a nuclear Armageddon has receded, but the collapse of world communism and its repercussions are still works in progress. In a world with only one remaining superpower, even small and materially poor states and groups can pose terrible threats. This is a paper about decisions that must be made now. The problems we face are immediate and compelling. If we cannot identify effective responses to these challenges now, the shape of the future will evolve in ever more dangerous and unknown directions. Are we capable of proactive reform, or will change in intelligence practices and policies require yet another unforeseen disaster? History argues for the latter, but the nation demands that we continue to strive for the former."
Center for the Study of Intelligence: https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/index.html
Studies in Intelligence (2002), v.46 no.1