The history of the community can be described as the interrelation between the histories of its member elements. After WWII, most offices and agencies, especially the CIA, began to deal with the intelligence-related affairs between the Soviet Union and the United States, which had been extremely tense up to the 1980s (Richelson, 1995). Beyond the undeclared Cold War, there was a number of other activities, in which the members were engaged: for instance, due to the tension between North Korea, the CIA and a number of military offices were assigned to investigate the political conflict, but failed to foresee the military invasion.
In the 1960s, most offices were ‘consumed’ by gathering information about the communist camp countries, among which Cuba and the Soviet Union were the most ‘problematic’ : Cuban government due to the revolution very suddenly cut all diplomatic relaions with the U. S. , so it was necessary to transform the organization of intelligence collection in the context of this country.
The offices and department, dealing with military intelligence, directed their efforts towards analyzing the scanty information, which came from the Soviet union I order to prepare for the possible military conflicts. Before and during the Vietnam War, the community was reinforced through the creation of additional defense offices for the purpose of prevnting and detecting information leakage. Among the most notorious projects of CIA was the prevention of the Islamic Revolution, which grew into the hostage crisis.
As Lowenthal (200) writes, “It is time to jettison the myth that only clandestine collection of information can ascetain foreign leaders’ intentions. Intelligence community sources failed to decipher Leonid Brezhnev’s intentions toward Czechoslovakia in 1968, anwar Sadat’s toward Israel in 1973 and Saddam Hussein’s toward Kuwait in 1990” (Lowenthal, 2000, p. 175). Nowadays, due to the establishment of single leadership over the Community, the organization’s performance has become well—coordinated and focused.
For instance, the recent objectives the Community has been working on over the past two decades are homeland security and the prevention of terrorism, later transformed into the war on terrorism. “The Community is responsible for assesing the vulnerabilities of the nation’s critical infrastructure and coordinating with other federal, state, local and private entities to ensure the most effective response” (http://www. intelligence. gov/2-current-affairs. shtml, 2007).
Due to the War on terrorism, the Community has recently switched from Anti-Terrorism to Counter-Terrorism Program, as the latter is more relevant during wartime. The newest Intelligence Strategy, adopted in 2005, put forth additional tasks within the field of counter-terrorism, which include undermining terrorists’ intelligence and operation capabilities, “preventing and countering the spread of weapons of mass destruction” (National Intelligence Strategy, 2005, p. 14), nurturing democracy in former terrorist states as well as developing technological resources.
This strategy is much more radical and focused than the previous one, as the principle of continuous innovation and closer relations with the FBI are likely to shape foreign policy in accordance with the most recent changes. On the other hand, the leadership in the Community still remains dispersed, as the DNI has insufficient entitlements and therefore is not always able to gather the policies and courses of all member elements under one roof.
Thus, the strategy itself is ambitious, but before developing such promising plans, it is important to re-structure the organization itself, which contains a number of cold war vestiges and therefore might repeat the mistakes of the 1950s-1980s, rooted in coordination gaps within the community.
Andrew, C. (1995). For the president’s Eyes only: Secret intelligence and the Presidence from Washington to Bush. New York: Harper Perennial. Kahn, D. (1997). The Code-Breakers: the Comprehensive History of Secret communication from Ancient Times to the Internet.
New York: Scribner. Lowenthal, M. (2000). Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy. Washington, CQ Press. Office of the Director of National Intelligence. (2005). National Intelligence Strategy. Available online at: http://www. au. af. mil/au/awc/awcgate/dni/nat_intel_strat. pdf Richelson, J. (1995). A Century of Spies: Intelligence in the Twentieth Century. New York: Oxford University Press. United States Intelligence Community Current Affairs. (2007). Available online at: http://www. intelligence. gov/2-current-affairs. shtml