"Policymakers' lives are dominated by their 'in boxes' and the crises of the moment; rarely do they have time to contemplate far into the future. These are, of course, cliches. But cliches become cliche precisely because they contain an element of truth. As a policymaker, I confess that I often feel as though 'long term' is later in the week. During the past year, my staff has been deeply involved in the formulation of our response to the attacks of September 11th, the planning for Afghanistan's post-conflict future, the Middle East peace process, exploring new ways to de-escalate the India-Pakistan conflict over Kashmir, keeping the Northern Ireland peace process on track, revising our approach to the instabilities shaking Latin America from Colombia to Argentina, and a host of other issues. But to be more than the accumulation of responses to separate crises, a successful foreign policy depends upon bridging the intellectual gap between the imperatives of the present and the potential of the future. In turn, this often depends upon bridging the gap between policymakers and the Intelligence Community. After all, as Robert Bowie--a predecessor of mine as Director of the Policy Planning Staff who later served as a deputy director of the CIA--insightfully defines it, 'intelligence' is 'knowledge and analysis designed to assist action.' Information and insights that do not 'assist action' remain lifeless. Successful intelligence, therefore, requires a mutual understanding between policymakers and the Intelligence Community that is all too often lacking. Policymakers need to ensure that the Community is not working in a vacuum, that analysts know what is on our minds and what questions we need answered. At the same time, members of the Intelligence Community have a responsibility to seek out policymakers, understand their concerns, and tell them what they should be paying attention to. It is important to tell policymakers what they need to hear, not what they want to hear."
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.3