|December 4, 1981
The United States Intelligence Community (IC) is a group of separate United States government intelligence agencies and subordinate organizations that work both separately and collectively to conduct intelligence activities which support the foreign policy and national security interests of the United States. Member organizations of the IC include intelligence agencies, military intelligence, and civilian intelligence and analysis offices within federal executive departments.
The IC is overseen by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), which is headed by the director of national intelligence (DNI) who reports directly to the president of the United States. The IC was established by Executive Order 12333 ("United States Intelligence Activities"), signed on December 4, 1981, by President Ronald Reagan. The statutory definition of the IC, including its roster of agencies, was codified as the Intelligence Organization Act of 1992 (Pub. L.102–496, H.R. 5095, 106 Stat. 3188).
The Washington Post reported in 2010 that there were 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies in 10,000 locations in the United States that were working on counterterrorism, homeland security, and intelligence, and that the intelligence community as a whole would include 854,000 people holding top-secret clearances.
The term Intelligence Community was first used during LTG Walter Bedell Smith's tenure as Director of Central Intelligence (1950–1953).
Intelligence is information that agencies collect, analyze, and distribute in response to government leaders' questions and requirements. Intelligence is a broad term that may entail for example:
Collection, analysis, and production of sensitive information to support national security leaders, including policymakers, military commanders, and members of Congress. Safeguarding these processes and this information through counterintelligence activities. Execution of covert operations approved by the president. The IC strives to provide valuable insight on important issues by gathering raw intelligence, analyzing that data in context, and producing timely and relevant products for customers at all levels of national security—from the war-fighter on the ground to the president in Washington.
Executive Order 12333 charged the IC with six primary objectives:
Before the CIA's establishment, several military intelligence agencies, and the FBI to a limited extent, fulfilled its role.
The IC is headed by the director of national intelligence (DNI), whose statutory leadership is exercised through the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), and is counted as one of its 18 constituent agencies. The other members of the IC are:
|Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI)
|United States Navy
|Coast Guard Intelligence (CGI)
|United States Coast Guard
|Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR)
|United States Department of State
|Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
|Sixteenth Air Force (16 AF) (USAF ISR Enterprise)
|United States Air Force
|National Security Agency (NSA) /
Central Security Service (CSS)[Note 1]
|United States Department of Defense
|National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)
|United States Department of Defense
|Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
|United States Department of Defense
|Military Intelligence Corps (MIC)
|United States Army
|Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence (OICI)
|United States Department of Energy
|Marine Corps Intelligence (MCI)
|United States Marine Corps
|National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)
|United States Department of Defense
|Office of Intelligence and Analysis (OIA)
|United States Department of the Treasury
|Intelligence Branch (IB)
|Federal Bureau of Investigation
|Office of National Security Intelligence (ONSI)
|Drug Enforcement Administration
|Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A)
|United States Department of Homeland Security
|National Space Intelligence Center (NSIC) (USSF ISR Enterprise)
|United States Space Force
The IC performs under two separate programs:
Since the definitions of the NIP and MIP overlap when they address military intelligence, the assignment of intelligence activities to the NIP and MIP sometimes proves problematic.
The overall organization of the IC is primarily governed by the National Security Act of 1947 (as amended) and Executive Order 12333. The statutory organizational relationships were substantially revised with the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA) amendments to the 1947 National Security Act.
Though the IC characterizes itself as a federation of its member elements, its overall structure is better characterized as a confederation due to its lack of a well-defined, unified leadership and governance structure. Prior to 2004, the director of Central Intelligence (DCI) was the head of the IC, in addition to being the director of the CIA. A major criticism of this arrangement was that the DCI had little or no actual authority over the budgetary authorities of the other IC agencies and therefore had limited influence over their operations.
Following the passage of IRTPA in 2004, the head of the IC is the director of national intelligence (DNI). The DNI exerts leadership of the IC primarily through statutory authorities under which he or she:
Despite these responsibilities, the DNI has no authority to direct and control any element of the IC except his own staff—the Office of the DNI—nor does the DNI have the authority to hire or fire personnel in the IC except those on his or her own staff. The member elements in the executive branch are directed and controlled by their respective department heads, all cabinet-level officials reporting to the president. By law, only the director of the Central Intelligence Agency reports to the DNI.
In light of major intelligence failures in recent years that called into question how well Intelligence Community ensures U.S. national security, particularly those identified by the 9/11 Commission (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States), and the "WMD Commission" (Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction), the authorities and powers of the DNI and the overall organizational structure of the IC have become subject of intense debate in the United States.
Previously, interagency cooperation and the flow of information among the member agencies was hindered by policies that sought to limit the pooling of information out of privacy and security concerns. Attempts to modernize and facilitate interagency cooperation within the IC include technological, structural, procedural, and cultural dimensions. Examples include the Intellipedia wiki of encyclopedic security-related information; the creation of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, National Intelligence Centers, Program Manager Information Sharing Environment, and Information Sharing Council; legal and policy frameworks set by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, information sharing Executive Order 13354 and Executive Order 13388, and the 2005 National Intelligence Strategy.
Main article: United States intelligence budget
The United States intelligence budget (excluding the Military Intelligence Program) in fiscal year 2022 was appropriated as $65.7 billion, an increase of $3.4 billion from the $62.3 billion requested and up from $60.8 billion in fiscal year 2021. The total budget of the National Intelligence Program has been public since 2007, due to the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, which required them to disclose the "aggregate amount of funds appropriated by Congress” for the NIP within 30 days of the end of the fiscal year. The requested budget of the NIP has been public since 2011 due to a requirement enacted by Congress in Section 364 of the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010.
About 70 percent of the intelligence budget went to contractors for the procurement of technology and services (including analysis), according to the May 2007 chart from the ODNI. Intelligence spending has increased by a third over ten years ago, in inflation-adjusted dollars, according to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
In a statement on the release of new declassified figures, DNI Mike McConnell said[when?] there would be no additional disclosures of classified budget information beyond the overall spending figure because "such disclosures could harm national security". How the money is divided among the 16 intelligence agencies and what it is spent on is classified. It includes salaries for about 100,000 people, multi billion-dollar satellite programs, aircraft, weapons, electronic sensors, intelligence analysis, spies, computers, and software.
On August 29, 2013 The Washington Post published the summary of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence's multivolume FY 2013 Congressional Budget Justification, the U.S. Intelligence Community's top-secret "black budget". The IC's FY 2013 budget details how the 16 spy agencies use the money and how it performs against the goals set by the president and Congress. Experts said that access to such details about U.S. spy programs is without precedent. Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists, which provides analyses of national security issues, stated that "It was a titanic struggle just to get the top-line budget number disclosed, and that has only been done consistently since 2007 ... but a real grasp of the structure and operations of the intelligence bureaucracy has been totally beyond public reach. This kind of material, even on a historical basis, has simply not been available." Access to budget details will enable an informed public debate on intelligence spending for the first time, said the co-chair of the 9/11 Commission Lee H. Hamilton. He added that Americans should not be excluded from the budget process because the intelligence community has a profound impact on the life of ordinary Americans.
Intelligence Community Oversight duties are distributed to both the executive and legislative branches. Primary executive oversight is performed by the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the Joint Intelligence Community Council, the Office of the Inspector General, and the Office of Management and Budget. Primary congressional oversight jurisdiction over the IC is assigned to two committees: the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The House Armed Services Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee draft bills to annually authorize the budgets of DoD intelligence activities, and both the House and Senate appropriations committees annually draft bills to appropriate the budgets of the IC. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs took a leading role in formulating the intelligence reform legislation in the 108th Congress.
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United States Intelligence Community