Executive Summary Findings The Intelligence Community, with all its components and disciplines, needs an overarching concept for coordinating Community requirements, especially when faced with declining resources and increasingly diverse requirements. The Needs Process With its focus on Presidential Decision Directive - 35 (PDD-35), the National Needs Process is an important step towards dealing effectively with near-term, high-priority customer requirements, but it may be inadequate for meeting long-term, worldwide intelligence needs, primarily because PDD-35 has begun to drive collection and analysis at the expense of lower tier issues. Defining Future Intelligence Needs The Intelligence Community has, correctly, changed its focus and targeting since the end of the Cold War, but it cannot link long-term resource planning to future needs until it defines what its future intelligence needs will likely be. The Intelligence Community cannot base its long-range planning primarily on high-level policy maker-defined requirements because policy makers, by their very nature, tend to concentrate on immediate problems and do not think long-term. Focus on Top Tier Issues--Creating Intelligence Gaps? We are concerned that, with declining resources, collectors and analysts will continue to focus most resources on top PDD-35 priorities and assume that "someone else," (i.e., State Department, FBIS, etc.), has the resources to keep a minimal level of coverage on lower tier issues. Losing our Intelligence Base The Intelligence Community's ability to maintain an intelligence "base" on many lower tier issues is threatened not only because of PDD-35's unintended effect on collection and production, but also because the Intelligence Community currently has no mechanism to ensure that a basic level of coverage for all issues is maintained. Support to Military Operations (SMO) The demand for intelligence support to military operations (SMO) threatens to consume an increasing amount of Community resources at the expense of national intelligence needs. Level of Engagement with Policy Makers In order to best meet its customers' requirements, the Intelligence Community must work actively with policy makers to disaggregate their intelligence needs into smaller, actionable parts. Policy makers, in turn, must strive to articulate policy strategies and objectives more clearly to the Intelligence Community. Analysts and managers at lower levels must maintain informal contacts with their customers, because often, mid-level policy makers can provide in-depth knowledge and further detail for a particular policy need. Budgetary Authority Program managers have a disproportionate level of power over resource and programming issues vis-a-vis Issue Coordinators, many of whom have little knowledge about the budget process and collection resource issues. Thus, Intelligence Community budgeting tends to meet systems requirements rather than information needs. "Cross-INT" Coordination The Intelligence Community does not manage all-source collection well, leading to inefficiencies and sometimes unnecessary duplication in meeting customer needs. The establishment of an enhanced Community Management Staff (CMS) (see Intelligence Community Management staff study) with requirements, resource, and collection management authority would enable the Intelligence Community to more efficiently meet Community-wide requirements. Requirements Committees There is no formal, ongoing dialogue among the various requirements committees, and as a result, no overarching, corporate view of the Community collection process against requirements targets. Recommendations Community-Wide Approach The Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), in coordination with the CMS requirements office, should devise a strategic plan, that could be updated yearly, if necessary, outlining national security issues and gaps which the Intelligence Community will likely face 10 to 15 years into the future. Basic Worldwide Coverage The Intelligence Community should fulfill PDD-35 requirements, but also maintain a basic level of worldwide coverage. In order to ascertain the Community's current level of overall coverage, the DCI should direct the National Intelligence Evaluations Council (NIEC) to expand the "Comprehensive Capabilities Review" to evaluate collection and analytical capabilities and gaps against all tier issues. The review should be updated continuously, taking the DCI's strategic plan into account. Based on the capabilities review process, the Intelligence Community, under the auspices of an enhanced CMS should assign specific collection and analytical components responsibility for some basic level of coverage of lower-tier countries and issues. Cross-INT Coordination The establishment of a new Technical Collection Agency (see Intelligence Community Management staff study) would facilitate coordination among the various collection disciplines and improve efficiency in meeting intelligence requirements. Requirements Vision for the 21st Century The Intelligence Community should implement a "virtual analytic environment" linking collectors, exploiters, analysts, and customers electronically, as appropriate, to improve the Community's responsiveness to customer needs. As a model for achieving electronic connectivity, the Intelligence Community should look to the military's test-bed programs for creating a 21st century intelligence operating environment. This operating environment, known as JIVA (Joint Intelligence Virtual Architecture), focuses on creating a virtual work environment that transcends organizational and stovepipe boundaries. A virtual architecture will allow analysts and collectors to more efficiently work requirements and maintain continuous contact with policy makers. This will also allow the policy and intelligence communities to constantly refine requirements and refocus resources on those issues of paramount importance. Managers should function less as intermediaries who control the information flow to and from policy makers and more as facilitators who monitor the dialogue between policy makers and substantive experts. Managers also should ensure that intelligence does not become politicized as a result of the close analyst-policy maker working relationship. INTELLIGENCE REQUIREMENTS PROCESS Scope of Paper This paper takes a macro look at the Intelligence Community requirements process, specifically, the current structure and future applicability of the National Intelligence Needs Process. The requirements study examines the overall process of formulating requirements, rather than the specifics of how the specific collection disciplines, or "INTs," should be used to meet these requirements in the future. This study provides guidelines to the Intelligence Community on how the requirements process should be structured to ensure that the Community can meet national security needs of the 21st century. Introduction The principal mission of the Intelligence Community is to supply policy makers with timely information and analysis that allows for informed, knowledgeable decisionmaking. In order to fulfill this mission, the Intelligence Community must understand the prioritized intelligence requirements of policy makers. These requirements should not only play a central role in defining the mission, functions, and structure of the Intelligence Community, they also should drive the Community's collection, analysis, and budget. In an ideal world, the Community would be able to fulfill all actual and potential policy maker requirements in a timely, comprehensive manner. Unfortunately, the requirements process is complicated by the fact that it is often difficult for senior policy makers to focus on long-term intelligence requirements because they usually are occupied with more immediate, pressing issues and because, in many cases, they do not know what information they want until they actually need it. In addition to the difficulty of eliciting policy maker needs, there are political, bureaucratic, and resource realities that hinder the Community's ability to anticipate and satisfy all intelligence needs. The United States has lacked a strategic vision defining its role in the world since the end of the Cold War. The requirements process, in fact, has been made even more difficult by the absence of any current political consensus on national security issues and their importance. As policymakers have struggled to define core national interests, they have turned to the Intelligence Community for increased coverage of diverse issues. Because of the changing-- but not clearly defined--nature of threats and intelligence needs since the end of the Cold War, the Intelligence Community itself has been forced to reexamine its roles and missions. There is considerable disagreement among experts about whether the Intelligence Community should focus primarily on supporting national security policy makers or whether it should support other customers, such as law enforcement agencies, economic/trade officials, or environmental agencies. Still others argue that intelligence support to military operations (SMO) should be the primary function of intelligence. These debates over national security priorities and the Community's mission, requirements, and customer base are not easily resolved. Nonetheless, the Intelligence Community's function in aiding the national security decisionmaking process must be defined so that it can properly target its resources against the most important foreign policy challenges. Ideally, requirements should reflect policy makers' prioritized intelligence needs and help the Community devise long-term planning and investment strategies. However, without a strategic national security policy vision to guide it, the Intelligence Community often is forced to prioritize requirements itself. In addition, because policy makers often do not know what intelligence they need or want until they actually need it, the Intelligence Community must try to anticipate policy maker needs. This can only be achieved if the Community, through an ongoing requirements dialogue with senior policy makers, sets the minimum collection and analysis parameters not only for the most important, immediate strategic needs, but also for long-term needs. Experienced mid-level analysts also should be allowed to formulate requirements based on their expertise and through constant dialogue with policy makers at various levels, as well as with intelligence collectors and other analysts. Unfortunately, the Community's bureaucratic structure often impedes this type of free-flowing dialogue and interaction at the working level. In addition to political and bureaucratic issues, resource concerns also have an effect on the Community's ability to meet policy maker requirements. In the post-Cold War era, requirements have become increasingly diverse; at the same time, the Community has been forced to downsize considerably. Despite fewer resources, the Intelligence Community is expected to have at least basic worldwide coverage of most countries and issues while maintaining in-depth knowledge of high-priority issues. In order to achieve this level of coverage, the Intelligence Community may have to pursue a dual requirements strategy to deal with increasing requirements -- a day-to-day one with good breadth, but little depth, to cover usual areas of interest, and a second one with narrow focus and great depth for crises or issues of ongoing, intense interest. Maintaining an effective requirements process has been a continuous struggle for the Intelligence Community. During the Cold War, when a majority of Community resources were targeted against the Soviet Union, having an effective requirements process was less important than it is now. Since the end of the Cold War, the growing tangle of new requirements, some of which are of the "highest priority" for only a short time, has left the Intelligence Community without clear guidance on which to base its resource allocation and planning. Lacking a cohesive foreign policy strategy to guide it and faced with declining resources and increasingly diverse customer demands, the Intelligence Community needs a flexible, dynamic requirements process to help it fulfill its principal mission -- to provide policy makers with timely, useful, objective intelligence. Background: The Requirements System Today -- The National Needs Process, PDD-35 and Strategic Intelligence Reviews The current system for intelligence requirements, known as the "Needs Process," is derived from Presidential Decision Directive-35 (PDD-35), signed by the President in March 1995, and the "Strategic Intelligence Reviews" (SIRs), first published by the National Intelligence Council (NIC) in May 1994. The SIRs identify core near-term (12-18 months) intelligence issues, priorities, and gaps for various geographic regions and transnational issues and assess the value of current collector contributions against those issues. The SIRs also identify "enduring" intelligence needs (i.e., of concern for the next three to seven years) to help program managers do long-term budgeting. PDD-35, which outlines a tiered structure of the President's prioritized intelligence needs, provides collection and analysis guidance to the Intelligence Community. After PDD-35 was signed, an interagency task force made recommendations on how to align "enduring" intelligence challenges with the PDD-35 tier structure. The responsibility for writing the SIRs belongs to 18 Issue Coordinators who meet frequently with high-level policy makers./1/ The function of Issue Coordinators is to understand key customer needs, develop a prioritized statement of those needs, evaluate the current collection and analytical activities related to those needs, assess the intelligence value of future programs, and facilitate community responses to critical shortfalls. In the process of writing the most recent set of SIRs (November 1995), Issue Coordinators met with over 100 high-level intelligence consumers/2/ in order to get an understanding of their most important needs. Findings The Needs Process The Intelligence Community, with all its components and disciplines, needs an overarching concept for coordinating Community requirements, especially when faced with declining resources and increasingly diverse requirements. Leadership from the highest levels of the Intelligence Community is necessary to ensure that policy makers' most important needs are being met and that the Community is poised to cope with the intelligence challenges of the 21st century. With its focus on PDD-35, the National Needs Process is an important step towards dealing effectively with near-term, high-priority customer requirements, but it may be inadequate for meeting long-term, worldwide intelligence needs. In fact, if the Intelligence Community focuses primarily on policy maker-defined requirements, it cannot adequately prepare for the needs of the future because policy makers, by their very nature, tend to concentrate on immediate problems and do not think long-term. Defining Future Intelligence Needs The Intelligence Community has, correctly, changed its focus and targeting since the end of the Cold War. It cannot however, hope to link long-term resource planning to future needs until it has a corporate understanding of what future intelligence needs will likely be and how its resources currently are used to meet intelligence requirements. Although there is disagreement about what will constitute a threat to U.S. national security in the future, the Community must, at a minimum, be capable of dealing with issues such as foreign denial and deception, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, ethnic and regional conflict, and economic competitiveness. Throughout the Cold War, the Intelligence Community could design systems aimed at country-specific targets, (i.e., "denied areas"), but the national security needs of the future do not allow us to look at resources on a strictly nation-state basis. Indeed, the Community must still plan for meeting requirements on "enduring" hard targets, such as North Korea. However, the Community also must design, invest, and plan its future systems and capabilities around "types" of threats, such as proliferation, rather than around specific threats necessarily tied to a particular country or region. Focus on Top Tier Issues -- Creating Intelligence Gaps? Under any system that prioritizes requirements, collectors and analysts will naturally put most resources towards the highest priority issues. While PDD-35 has focused the IC on important near-term, high priority requirements, it has begun to drive intelligence collection and production at the expense of lower tier issues. In response to PDD-35, many intelligence agencies and components are rushing out to fulfill PDD-35 requirements while ignoring other, less pressing requirements, even when they are better equipped to address the lower tier requirements. If PDD-35 continues to drive the intelligence process, the Community may face another Rwanda or Somalia situation -- that is, a country that had little, if any, intelligence coverage suddenly becoming a top tier priority. Although PDD-35 explicitly states that it is not meant to be an exhaustive requirements list, we are concerned that, with declining resources, collectors and analysts will continue to focus most resources on top tier issues and assume that "someone else," (i.e., State Department, Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service (FBIS), etc.), has the resources to keep a minimal level of coverage on lower tier issues. The Intelligence Community cannot necessarily rely on other government agencies to fill its own collection gaps because the State Department, like the Intelligence Community, is being downsized and seeing reductions in its diplomatic reporting capabilities. In addition, in many of these lower-tier countries, particularly those in the Third World, open sources are often inadequate and inaccurate sources of information. Furthermore, FBIS has not been spared from downsizing and is also concentrating its efforts on top tier issues. Losing our Intelligence Base The Intelligence Community's ability to maintain an intelligence "base" on many lower tier issues is threatened not only because of PDD-35's unintended effect on collection and production, but also because the Intelligence Community currently has no mechanism to ensure a basic level of coverage for all tiers. In addition, the demand for SMO threatens to consume an increasing amount of intelligence resources at the expense of national intelligence needs. With the erosion of our intelligence "base," (i.e., the ability to monitor political, military, economic, and social developments around the world), comes serious consequences for the Intelligence Community's ability to "surge" and do long-term analysis. Under the current Needs Process, there is no corporate view of collection and production management that is necessary to ensure that collectors maintain databases of lower tier information and that enough analysts are available to monitor lower-tier issues and potentially important long-term trends. Maintaining an intelligence base is particularly critical when, as we have experienced several times in the recent past, lower tier countries rapidly and unexpectedly become top priority issues for policy makers. Support to Military Operations In addition to fulfilling numerous top priority requirements, collectors and analysts are expected to develop and/or update data for lower-tier countries where U.S. forces may have to operate in the future. SMO certainly is an extremely important mission for the Intelligence Community. However, the effort required to obtain detailed information sufficient to support short-notice military operations in scores of countries would strain the Community's ability to stay abreast of more pressing issues. In addition, the proposal that the military define the "essential elements of information" it needs for potential operations in these countries raises the specter of an endless list of requirements being levied on the Intelligence Community. In order for the Community to be able to cope with SMO requirements, the level of detail needed for SMO in lower-tier countries must be strictly defined. Furthermore, SMO requirements should not stand alone, apart from the other intelligence requirements. Currently, the Needs Process demands, in some cases, that the Community spend more time gathering intelligence for potential SMO than for monitoring other developments that might help policy makers avert the need to ever have to deploy forces. If a country is important enough to have SMO requirements assigned to it, then national intelligence consumers also should have enough information to assess the country's general economic, political, and social situation. Level of Engagement with Policy Makers Under the current system, most Issue Coordinators have ongoing communication with high-level policy makers about strategic policy goals, which are then formulated into overall Community-wide requirements. Issue Coordinators attend National Security Council (NSC) meetings frequently and typically meet with intelligence customers at the Undersecretary or Deputy Secretary level at the State Department and the command level in the Department of Defense (DoD). While high-level contact is vital to the requirements process, analysts and managers at lower levels must maintain informal contacts with their customers because, often, mid-level policy makers can provide in-depth knowledge and further detail for a particular policy need. This type of informal dialogue also must exist between collectors and analysts and among analysts in different Community components. Policy Detail Just as important as the need for constant Intelligence Community dialogue with customers is the need for the Community to understand the details of policy makers' goals. The Community must work actively with policy makers to disaggregate their intelligence needs into smaller, actionable parts and should understand how policy makers plan to use the intelligence they receive so it can devise the most appropriate collection strategy to satisfy that need. With an issue such as proliferation, for example, different collection assets might be used depending on whether the policy goal is to intercept weapons shipments, influence key foreign leaders to not proliferate, apply sanctions against a proliferator, or simply to monitor developments in a country's weapons industry. Budgetary Authority We are concerned that program managers--whose interests focus more on their share of the budget than on fulfilling policy maker requirements--have a disproportionate level of power over resource and programming issues. Many Issue Coordinators, particularly the NIOs, are not knowledgeable about the budget process and collection resource issues and lack sufficient staffs capable of handling these issues. As a result, they have to rely on program managers more extensively to reprogram resources in surge situations and to set future systems requirements. This power imbalance has resulted in the Community budgeting to meet systems requirements rather than information needs, which may adversely affect the Community's ability to fulfill policy maker requirements. "Cross-INT" Coordination Another concern about the Needs Process is the issue of cross-INT coordination. (This issue is dealt with in detail in the Collection Synergy staff study, but merits some attention here as well.) The Intelligence Community does not manage all-source collection well, leading to inefficiencies and sometimes unnecessary duplication in meeting customer needs. Management by "stovepipes", rather than across disciplines (i.e., corporately), makes it difficult, if not impossible, to evaluate collection tradeoffs, not only within collection disciplines, but among them as well. Cross-INT coordination would be especially helpful for dealing with "hard targets," which often require coordinated, multi-disciplinary attacks. Requirements Committees A related issue of concern is the level of communication and coordination among the various committees that handle requirements for each of the collection disciplines. The requirements committees meet with each other informally three to four times a year to discuss how various collectors are approaching a particular intelligence need, but there is no formal, ongoing dialogue and, as a result, no overarching view of the Community collection process against requirements targets. Further complicating coordination efforts is the fact that the requirements committees have different missions and authorities; some committees have the authority to task collectors while others only have the authority to request reporting on various topics. Recommendations Community-Wide Approach The Intelligence Community must define the nature of its future strategic requirements, beyond looking just at intelligence gaps, in order to determine what platforms will be needed to meet those requirements. The DCI, in coordination with the CMS requirements office, should devise a strategic plan, that could be updated yearly, if necessary, outlining national security issues and gaps that the Intelligence Community will likely face 10 to 15 years into the future. It should include, but not be limited to, hard targets and transnational issues. In addition to looking at traditional adversarial threats (i.e., states and organizations with the ability and will to harm U.S. interests), the Community must focus on how to collect against systemic threats (i.e., those which derive from anomalies or instabilities in economic, political or social systems) and against new vulnerabilities, such as information warfare. Based on this strategic plan, the CMS requirements office, with input from senior intelligence customers and all-source analysts, should formulate Community-wide requirements and devise a collection strategy to meet those needs. By preparing a strategic plan for the future, the Intelligence Community can assist policy makers in prioritizing their own needs. Basic Worldwide Coverage The Intelligence Community must maintain its intelligence base and its ability to surge. We are well aware of the fact that many Intelligence Community components already are stretched to the limit in handling top-tier issues and that the situation will likely get worse in some agencies because of restricted hiring practices. At the same time, however, many in the policy community still expect the Intelligence Community to have at least basic worldwide coverage and the ability to surge at a moment's notice during crises. In order to ascertain the Community's current level of overall coverage, the DCI should direct the National Intelligence Evaluations Council (NIEC)/3/ to expand the "Comprehensive Capabilities Review" to evaluate collection and analytical capabilities and gaps against all tier issues. The review should be updated continuously, taking the DCI's strategic plan into account. Assessing intelligence capabilities on an ongoing basis will help bring policy maker expectations into line with Community capabilities and will serve as a mechanism for facilitating cross-INT tradeoffs to ensure that the most important areas are covered by collectors and analysts. A dynamic capabilities review process also would be extremely helpful for the Committee in dealing with budgetary issues and for other congressional committees with jurisdiction over national security and international relations issues. Based on the capabilities review process, the Intelligence Community, under the auspices of an enhanced CMS,/4/ should assign specific collection and analytical components responsibility for some basic level of coverage of lower-tier countries and issues. Because open source information may be the most accessible, least expensive tool for obtaining worldwide coverage, the Community should work with the State Department to coordinate diplomatic and open source collection. FBIS's ability to collect and analyze adequate information for lower-tier countries also should be evaluated so that the Intelligence Community and Congress can determine what additional resources FBIS will need in the future to meet this important mission. A healthy FBIS is needed to rebuild some of the Community's lost capabilities resulting from the cutbacks in the CIA and State Department's overseas presence. Cross-INT Coordination In order to encourage efficiency in meeting intelligence requirements, the "catwalks" among the collection disciplines must be strengthened. The establishment of a new Technical Collection Agency (TCA)/5/ would facilitate coordination among the various collection disciplines and improve the Community's responsiveness to policy maker needs. An enhanced CMS, through coordination among its proposed requirements, collection management, and resource management offices, would serve as the forum for ensuring that synergistic, cross-INT coordination is utilized to best meet requirements. Requirements Vision for the 21st Century The above recommendations are important for effecting immediate change in the current requirements system. However, the Community must go even further to prepare for challenges it will face 10 to 15 years into the future. The Community probably will still need a high-level body to formulate and monitor macro community-wide requirements that provide important guidance to program and agency managers. However, mid-level analysts, working in close and continuous contact with policy makers, collectors, and other analysts should be allowed to work detailed requirements. In order to empower analysts to help develop these detailed requirements, analysts must be connected electronically at all levels with both policy makers and intelligence collectors. (Analysts should serve as the middleman between policy makers and collectors; collectors and policy makers working non-military issues should not be connected electronically.) As a model for achieving electronic connectivity, the Intelligence Community should look to the military's test-bed programs for creating a 21st century intelligence operating environment. This operating environment, known as JIVA (Joint Intelligence Virtual Architecture), focuses on creating a virtual work environment that transcends organizational and stovepipe boundaries. A virtual architecture, that eliminates the need for physically co-locating analysts, will allow analysts and collectors to more efficiently work requirements and maintain continuous contact with policymakers. Breaking down these barriers will help synergy in all areas -- collection, analysis, production, and requirements formulation and vetting. By providing more flexibility and less bureaucratic rigidity, electronic connectivity will allow the policy and intelligence communities to continually reevaluate requirements and refocus resources on those issues of paramount importance. At the same time, by co-locating analysts with policy makers, either virtually or physically, analysts will better be able to understand detailed policy needs and anticipate what kind of intelligence policy makers may need in the future. In such a future construct, managers will function less as intermediaries who control the information flow to and from policy makers. Instead, they will become facilitators who monitor the dialogue between policy makers and substantive experts to ensure that Community resources are appropriately allocated to priority tasks and to help say "no" to requests when resources are not available. Managers also would perform the vital function of ensuring that intelligence does not become politicized as a result of the close analyst-policy maker working relationship. Indeed, if the system functions correctly, analysts and collectors, with some guidance from upper management, should be able to respond quickly and objectively to policy maker needs and be able to anticipate future needs that policy makers have not yet articulated. However, if the Intelligence Community does not take advantage of technological developments and reduce bureaucratic barriers, it will fail to meet its basic mission of providing policy makers with timely, objective, and useful intelligence. ------------------------------ FOOTNOTES /1/The Issues Coordinators are the National Intelligence Officers (NIOs) from the NIC, the Center Chiefs (ACIS, CNC, NACIC, and CTC), and "key officers" from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). /2/Throughout the paper, the terms customer, consumer, and policy maker are used interchangeably to refer to those U.S. Government officials who use intelligence products in the course of their work. /3/See the Intelligence Community Management staff study. /4/See the Intelligence Community Management staff study. /5/See the Intelligence Community Management staff study.
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