Trends in Intelligence Spending, and More from CRS

09.06.13 | 2 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

The rise and fall (and rise) of intelligence spending over the past three decades is traced in a newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service.

“Limited publicly available data suggests intelligence spending, measured in constant 2014 dollars, has roughly doubled since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and, before declines over the last three years, was almost double spending at its peak at the end of the cold war,” the CRS report notes.

The report does not explicitly deal with the latest disclosure of a classified intelligence budget document in the Washington Post. “Because the document leaked to the news media is classified, CRS is unable to provide a discussion of the specific detail of that budget submission.” But the report provides a useful compilation of previously disclosed intelligence budget data, along with some sensible extrapolations to round out the picture.

CRS also reviews proposals to restructure the intelligence budgeting process.  See Intelligence Spending and Appropriations: Issues for Congress, September 5, 2013:

But any proposals to modify current intelligence budget practices face strong opposition in Congress. In its report on the FY2014 defense authorization act, the House Armed Services Committee included language to prohibit efforts by the Secretary of Defense to create a new budget account for the National Intelligence Program. (Section 924)

The Committee also said that the Defense Department has been secretly maneuvering to promote a consolidated National Intelligence Program budget within the Department of Defense as a separate budget category — a step favored by the 9/11 Commission, among others, as a way to increase clarity and accountability in intelligence spending. “The committee is concerned that the executive branch has failed to notify the appropriate congressional committees about its continuing efforts to pursue consolidation of the portion of the Department of Defense budget designated as part of the National Intelligence Program,” the House report said. The Committee directed the Department of Defense to submit a report to Congress on “any planning [for future intelligence budget consolidation] that has occurred during the past two years.”

Some other noteworthy new reports from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following.

War in Afghanistan: Campaign Progress, Political Strategy, and Issues for Congress, August 29, 2013

Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2013, August 30, 2013

Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background and Issues for Congress, September 3, 2013

Banning the Use of Racial Preferences in Higher Education: A Legal Analysis of Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, September 3, 2013

Wildfire Management: Federal Funding and Related Statistics, August 30, 2013

U.S. Farm Income, August 30, 2013

Proposed U.S.-Mexico Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement: Background and Issues for Congress, August 29, 2013

Kyrgyzstan: Recent Developments and U.S. Interests, August 30, 2013

Climate Change and Existing Law: A Survey of Legal Issues Past, Present, and Future, August 28, 2013