CIA - Future Directions

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Future Directions

In July 1994 DCI Woolsey announced the beginning of comprehensive overhaul of a number of key structures, programs and procedures at the CIA. This overhaul was to be an integral part of a comprehensive strategic plan for the intelligence community to be completed the fall of 1994. He stated that the overhaul at the CIA was not caused by the Ames case, but he conceded that Ames's conviction had served as a catalyst for the necessary changes so that the CIA can help meet security challenges well into the next century.

Woolsey ordered the overhaul of CIA computer security to tackle a fundamental problem in the nature of intelligence collection: the greater the need to bring together diverse pieces of data -- to solve the growing number of intelligence puzzles -- the greater the possibility of sensitive information's falling into the hands of individuals who do not have a need to know. Those without a strict need to know must be denied sensitive information. He directed CIA-wide reductions in the number of individuals who have access to the most sensitive information, including access to the names of agents and details of collection operations, as well as a number of other steps with respect to computer security.

The substitution of a number of missions for one overriding one following the end of the cold war, coupled with the sharp decline in resources make it imperative that CIA make major changes beyond improvements in security and counterintelligence. Personnel reductions are being undertaking at CIA - twice as large as the 12 percent cut recommended by Vice President Gore's National Performance Review. These cuts are necessary aspects of the very rapid restructuring and reductions underway in the face of recent budget cuts -- cuts heavily driven by the Congress.

Thus in mid-1994 DCI Woolsey ordered the overhaul of major aspects of the way CIA does business: in operations, analysis, science and technology, and administration.

Directorate of Operations

First, Woolsey ordered a fundamental assessment of the entire structure and operations of the Directorate of Operations, the directorate which is on the front lines of espionage. The work has begun. Two core groups have been established: a group of senior managers, and simultaneously, a larger group of mid-level officers -- the future leaders of intelligence operations- acting independently. Their task is to strip bare and to evaluate the directorate critically, and to provide recommendations to make the fundamental changes that are needed. Woolsey also authorized the establishment of a Senior Accountability Review Board to strengthen personnel management, to review on a continuous basis the structures of the Operations Directorate, to ensure that managers are accountable for their actions and the actions of their employees.

Reductions in the number of individuals working in the Directorate of Operations will total more than 700 by 1997. In terms of resources, espionage is far from being the lion's share of the intelligence community's work. But it is a critical part -- especially against some of the key targets with the demise of the cold war. The fact remains that often human sources are the only way to obtain information critical to thwarting efforts by adversaries -- weapons proliferators, rogue states, terrorist organizations, drug cartels -- to threaten US interests. At other times, such information can corroborate what is collected through electronic intercepts or satellite photography, and it is often essential in curing technical systems -- and telling them what to look for.

Directorate of Intelligence

In the Directorate of Intelligence, the analysts, Woolsey ordered a fundamental assessment of analytical structures and programs. Project Action Teams have begun their work, examining everything from the way analysis is crafted, to the links between analysts and policymakers, to the procedures for career advancement. By 1997 CIA will reduce down to the same number of analysts as the Agency had in 1977, yet it will have twice as many subjects to follow. By reductions in personnel and reorganization, CIA will have cut by a third - reducing by some 1,000 - the number of individuals involved in analysis in the Directorate of Intelligence. The Agency hopes to compensate for these reductions with a structure that is flexible and responsive.

Directorate of Science and Technology

Woolsey remained committed to seeing that CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology obtains the necessary support to ensure that the Agency remains on the cutting edge in the exponential world growth in technological innovation. This directorate is where the worlds of science and intelligence come together. It is also an area which requires a great diversity of highly talented experts: engineers, physicists, chemists, economists, computer programmers, imagery analysts, linguists. The systems these individuals design and produce are critical in collecting information on US adversaries -- from their ballistic missile testing to their research and development on chemical or biological agents. Woolsey contended that American intelligence systems must be flexible enough to be directed at any target which could threaten US interests. The systems that helped track technological and military developments in the Soviet Union during the cold war, today help monitor North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programs, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, and even the evolution of the infrastructure of narcotics cartels.

Woolsey encouraged the directorate to embark on a vigorous, sustained restructuring program, including cutting out 40 percent of its managers in two of its key offices, and setting in motion a drawdown by 26 percent of its personnel by 1999.

Directorate of Administration

Woolsey called for implementation of changes in CIA Administrative and technical support services -- the programs that provide a foundation for the collection and analysis of intelligence. CIA is modernizing and streamlining support services. Because of advances in worldwide information and logistics services, CIA is providing critical, time-sensitive, and unique support not only to analysts and officers at the CIA, but to other agencies, and throughout the military services. The Agency is doing so even as it reduces personnel: by the end of the decade over 1,700 jobs will be eliminated from Administrative support.


[Adapted from: R. James Woolsey, Director of Central Intelligence, "National Security and the Future Direction of the Central Intelligence Agency," Address at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC, 18 July 1994 (as prepared).]

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