Pentagon Intelligence Oversight Falls Short

05.29.08 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

While U.S. intelligence operations are more controversial than ever, routine oversight of the Department of Defense’s massive and far-flung intelligence apparatus has been significantly reduced, according to a recent report to Congress from the DoD Inspector General.

Due to resource limitations, “We have not been able to perform planned audits and evaluations in key intelligence disciplines such as Imagery Intelligence, Measurement and Signature Intelligence and Open Source Intelligence,” the DoD Inspector General told Congress in a March 2008 report.

In addition, the report said, intelligence oversight has been cut back in areas such as: National Reconnaissance Office activities, especially major acquisitions; National Security Agency Operations Security and Information Security Programs; National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency programs; National Intelligence Program/Military Intelligence Program funding; Service Intelligence Component activities; Operations and Support Special Access Programs; DoD Counterintelligence Field Activity Programs; and others.

See “Department of Defense Inspector General Growth Plan for Increasing Audit and Investigative Capabilities Fiscal Years 2008 – 2015,” March 31, 2008.

The report was first published by the watchdog Project on Government Oversight which is working to strengthen the authority and capacity of agency inspectors general.

The reduction in oversight by the DoD Inspector General would seem to provide further justification for a pending proposal to assign new intelligence oversight responsibilities to the Government Accountability Office, as discussed at a February 29 hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.