Negroponte Unveils USA’s “National Intelligence Strategy”
Future turf battles between the US Director of National Intelligence bureaucratic layer and the US Department of Defense, which has seen its intelligence functions broaden during the War on Terror, seem likely. Given that fact, and the linkage between the key industrial partners for the intelligence and defense industries, it’s worthwhile to pay attention to intelligence-related developments.
A recent DefenseLINK article described “The National Intelligence Strategy of the United States of America: Transformation through Integration and Innovation” [PDF format] as “the blueprint for improving the intelligence community’s information gathering and assessment capabilities for the 21st century.” In the document itself, the new DNI John Negroponte says: “A strategy is a statement of fundamental values, highest priorities, and action toward the future, but it is an action document as well.” Actually, that isn’t what a strategy is. Nor is it what one will find in this document.
Readers of the document will find instead a wish list, full of motherhood-and-apple-pie goals. It contains no substantive assessment of or even reference to past weaknesses, or reasons that the intelligence apparatus has fallen short; no communication of the realistic trade-offs involved or the limits of intelligence in the modern age; and no clear statement of the key sources of future intelligence advantage, let alone how an interrelated system will be created to exploit them. It also lacks any action specifics or metrics beyond a couple of minor items about creating a lessons learned function and an integrated financial system, plus some mentions of future plans to come from specific personnel.
If it is to be compared to corporate document, a closer comparison may be a corporate vision statement. Readers are invited to peruse the full document themselves and form their own impressions.
Note that the Acrobat document was modified so cutting and pasting from it produces nonsense characters. At least we can all breathe easy knowing that the secrets in this document are secure.