Secrecy News

Intelligence Community Anticipates Budget Cuts

U.S. intelligence agencies are anticipating budget reductions of billions of dollars, said Director of National Intelligence James Clapper yesterday.  He said he had just submitted a draft budget to OMB (presumably for FY 2013) that involved “double digit” cuts to the intelligence budget over ten years.  See “U.S. Spies Facing Tens of Billions in Budget Cuts” by Sharon Weinberger, Wired Danger Room, October 17.

“In the last 10 years,… all we had to do essentially was preside over handing out more money and more people every year,” DNI Clapper told a joint hearing of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees last month.

But “now we’re in a ‘we’re-running-out-of-money-so-we-must-begin-to-think’ mode,” he said.  “I think that is serving as the stimulus, if you will, to do some more creative thinking. I think this would do wonders in terms of saving money, efficiency, and promoting integration.”

“Everything we do in intelligence… is not of equal merit. Some things are more valuable than others, particularly as we look to the future. I think it’s very important to try to protect that valuable and most valuable resource we have, which is our people. We must continue some way of hiring every year, which we didn’t do in many cases during that seven-year hiatus period [in the 1990s]. We must try to sustain healthy R&D for the future. And I think we have to be rather cold-hearted and objective about the real contribution the various systems make. So that’s kind of the approach we’re going to take,” DNI Clapper told Congress last month.

“I don’t want anyone to be under the mistaken impression that we are going to sustain all the capabilities we have today, because we’re not,” he said.

3 thoughts on “Intelligence Community Anticipates Budget Cuts

  1. It seems to me a bit more budget transparency would have prevented the IC budget priorities from becoming out of whack in the first place by creating pressure to allocate resources more efficiently. Something like 25% of the IC budget is in IT, no doubt thanks to duplication and redundancies in IT infrastructure throughout different agencies.

    Perhaps the budget cuts will force more cooperation within the IC as agencies find themselves having to rely on each other to do the same amount of work with less money. Let’s hope that cooperation goes beyond IT.

  2. There is a lot of savings can be done within the IC. But…internally the big agencies need to recognize the value of the smaller entities who get far more done with less dollars and people, let each do what they do best. Also establish a no-kidding project review group of independent consultants who can help STOP the duplication of research that occurs now – because of clearances or just preference ‘to do it myself’ attitudes. Make every project go thru the same comparison review for approval and marry those that need to be together.

  3. “In the last 10 years,… all we had to do essentially was preside over handing out more money and more people every year”

    For a small post there was plenty of odious quote to go around.

    When real devil’s advocates get appointed to cut the intel budget rather than more of the same lifers, do let us know in the outside world.

Comments are closed.