Chapter 2: Post-Cold War (PCW) Missions Framework and Its Two Pillars
In the post-Cold War era, reform efforts must restructure and empower the IC to address the new and changing needs of the United States. The key issue in reform is prioritizing the correct set of IC missions given the needs of the country and the limited resources at hand. The Clinton administration has issued a set of general guidelines for the community, but much remains to be clarified. The growing need for support to military operations (SMO) and the increasing pressure on the IC to expand into new areas such as the environment and health are stretching resources beyond their limit and endangering the IC's ability to adequately perform its duties.
2.1 The Existing Framework
Presidential Decision Directive 35 (PDD-35), a still-secret document, defines the existing missions framework. It declares support to military operations (SMO) as the most important mission of the intelligence community,(1)
but also specifies nuclear proliferation, narcotics trafficking, terrorism, and global crime as other important concerns. In accordance with the existing framework, a sizable portion (83%) of the current IC budget goes to the Department of Defense (DoD), appropriated for SMO.(2)
Unfortunately, the breadth of missions given to the IC has stretched its resources to the breaking point and beyond, and budget and personnel reductions have made this problem even more acute. The existing framework does not properly address these concerns and must therefore be modified to fit the current international situation.
2.2 Diplomacy and Defense: Balancing Support to Policy-makers (SPO)
and Support to the Military (SMO)
The Snyder Commission holds the following principle as the basis for all its intelligence reform work:
While the existing framework adequately protects the needs of the battlefield
commander, it neglects to address the equally important needs of the diplomat and the
high-level official who will be the first line of defense for America's national interests.
The needs of such policy-makers are met by what is termed national intelligence, whose
scope is broader than the tactical military intelligence required in SMO. The military is
essentially deployed only as a means of achieving an end that cannot be achieved by normal
diplomatic means (or at least this is the reasoning of those who order the military into
action). In this light, SMO and support to senior policy officials who make US foreign
policy (SPO) are inextricably linked, and both must be addressed with equal vigor to have a
successful and efficient IC.(3)
The National Security Act of 1947 created the IC to provide the President and other national consumers with the information that they need to make informed decisions about world events and to warn them of impending crises. These basic roles must not be forgotten, and therefore SPO must stand on equal ground with SMO. Subordinating one to the other would dangerously hamper the ability of our country to protect its interests.
2.3 America's National Interests
Although today's international environment is still rapidly changing, several basic trends in US foreign policy reveal a clear definition of American objectives in the coming years. The most important of America's long-term national interests is:
Preventing the rise of a major hostile power and a new Cold War.(4)
Other critical national interests include:
Ensuring the permanence of our alliances and the survival of our allies.(5)
Countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Maintaining military and technological superiority.
Additional national interests include:(6)
Preventing a major conflict among other nations.
Protecting the national economy from disruption.
2.4 The Post-Cold War (PCW) Framework
In order to secure the balance of SPO and SMO required in Section 2.2 and to better protect the national interests outlined in Section 2.3, the IC needs a new, post-Cold War (PCW) missions framework. This PCW framework is divided into three tiers and has two main pillars. The two main pillars are:
Pillar I: Support to Policy Officials (SPO), which includes support to all high-level policy-makers up to and including the President.
Pillar II: Support to Military Operations (SMO), which includes tactical support to the battlefield commander.
These two pillars are fixed because of their inherent importance to America's national interests. The IC performs its most critical missions within these two broad pillars, so changing them or the relative balance between the two would endanger our vital interests.
The three tiers help prioritize specific missions of the IC. Although the specific missions presented below are not an exhaustive list of IC missions, they are given as examples of the primary threats found in each tier.
Tier A (High Priority): Nonproliferation, Counterterrorism, and Global Crime and Counternarcotics. Tier A missions are critical and imminent dangers to national security. Notably, they are all transnational in nature.
Tier B (Medium Priority): Economic Intelligence and Information Warfare. Tier B missions are developing threats to national security or possible future intelligence interests. Interestingly, these missions have both offensive and defensive natures.
Tier C (Low Priority): Environmental Intelligence, and Health and Humanitarian Operations Intelligence. Tier C missions do not pose immediate dangers to the United States, and under normal circumstances can be adequately supported through open-source collection.
Each of the three tiers should receive resource allocations according to its place in the hierarchy. When national security demands additional funding for higher priority or "higher-tiered" missions, funding for lower priority missions should be reduced or eliminated as needed. In addition, the missions themselves can be reassigned to higher or lower tiers as their importance emerges or diminishes with time or world events.
The PCW framework allows the IC to adequately protect current national interests while simultaneously maintaining the flexibility to redirect resources if the IC needs to be retasked to counter new threats. It gives policy-makers in particular (and consumers in general) great discretion as to how the community uses its limited resources to provide relevant intelligence. Using this PCW framework as a basis, the Snyder Commission has derived appropriate recommendations which, if implemented, will support a cohesive and integrated IC.
Even if the PCW framework is adopted, successful implementation will require certain reforms. These reforms will ensure that the PCW framework's objectives are met and that intelligence remains timely and relevant to its consumers.
Maintain the necessary balance between the two pillars, SPO and SMO, through a two part strategy.
Change current budgetary and organizational trends
The current trend of transferring civilian intelligence activities and responsibilities (funds and personnel) to the Department of Defense (DoD) dangerously subordinates the intelligence needs of senior policy-makers. The growth of SMO funding should be checked and the transfer of functions to the Defense Department halted and even reversed if possible.
Increase cooperation between the DCI and the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF)
Balance between SPO and SMO can only be achieved with seamless coordination between the DCI, the SECDEF, and their respective institutions. Although it is impossible to legislate personal cooperation, new efforts to improve institutional ties between the two offices have been devised by the Snyder Commission and will be discussed throughout this report.
Task the Priorities Inter-agency Working Group (IWG) created by PDD-35 with continuously reviewing the implementation of the PCW framework.
To address changing intelligence needs, the IWG should periodically review the PCW framework and recommend necessary changes. For example, it could recommend reductions in Tier C mission resource allocations if those resources (funds, personnel, or facilities) were needed by higher-priority missions.
The IWG should be placed under the auspices of the National Security Council, and its staff should be selected from the different IC agencies on a rotational basis as part of recommendations in Section 4.4. To ensure that resources are redirected objectively and properly, non-traditional and "lower-tiered" intelligence missions should always have representation on the IWG.
Establish an Office of the Consumer Advocate (ConAd) within the Community Management Staff (CMS).
In order for the PCW framework to properly function, the IC must be fully and continually aware of the needs of its consumers: policy-makers and the military. Towards this goal, the DCI should establish an Office of the Consumer Advocate (ConAd) in the Community Management Staff (CMS) to poll consumers, hear their feedback, and where possible supplement the work of the Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production (ADCI/A&P), whose position is created by the Intelligence Authorization Act of 1997 (IAA97). (Chapter 5 elaborates on the proposed duties of the ADCI/A&P and the other ADCI offices created by the IAA97.)
The ConAd office should have no more than four staffers, and one of the four should serve as a liaison to both the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, compiling a database of consumer complaints, suggestions, and recommendations brought up during Congressional hearings in both chambers. The oversight committees have access to a tremendous amount of feedback from various groups of intelligence customers, and a liaison will enable the ConAd office to tap into that valuable resource.
Modify the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) Process and Format.
As an integral part of the important SPO pillar, National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) provide senior policy-makers with informed and objective assessments and predictions of world events. But too often, the extensive duration and the consensus-driven nature of the compilation process undermine the NIEs' potential utility.
The NIE process and format should be redesigned to reflect greater timeliness in delivery and competitive analysis. For instance, the National Intelligence Council (NIC) could institute a six-month time limit on production and prominently feature alternative scenarios submitted for its review in the finished product. By making intelligence more relevant and useful to policy-makers, the new NIE format will help to maintain an emphasis on SPO.
Also, the use of special estimates (SNIEs) which fulfill more urgent requirements should be encouraged. Additional use of SNIEs not only bolsters SPO and SMO, but also facilitates the dynamics of the PCW framework by allowing the IC to react promptly and appropriately.
1. ";PDD-35, Intelligence Requirements," Federation of American Scientists Web Site, available: http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/pdd35.htm
2. Commission on the Roles and Capabilities of the U.S. Intelligence Community (Aspin-Brown Commission), Preparing for the 21st Century: An Appraisal of US Intelligence, Washington DC, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1996, p. 72.
3. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), 104th Congress, Staff Study IC21: The Intelligence Community in the 21st Century, pp. 246-248.
4. Ibid., p. 21.
5. Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Military Strategy, Washington DC, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1995, pp. 5, 10.
The Commission on America's National Interests, America's National Interests, Cambridge,
Center for Science and International Affairs, 1996, pp. 21-25.