A new Pentagon policy directive for U.S. military intelligence mandates information-sharing with U.S. domestic agencies and foreign partners and recognizes the leading role of the new director of national intelligence.
Although both have been long-standing priorities for the Bush administration, the new directive, drafted in the office of Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. and published last month, is the first time that they have been promulgated in such a high-level policy document at the Pentagon.
Deborah Barger, Mr. Clapper”s head of policy, told United Press International in a recent interview that in some ways, the new policy is radical and that “in other ways, there is continuity.”
The directive states that defense intelligence agencies “have an affirmative responsibility to share collected and stored information, data, and resulting analysis with … other relevant federal agencies, and civilian law-enforcement officials, as appropriate.”
Miss Barger said the wording reflected a new outlook.
“The default [position] in the past was the responsibility of the other party to demonstrate their need to know. That has changed,” she said, adding that the burden is on the person or agency with the information to share it.
The directive also states sharing with foreign coalition partners should be “the broadest possible” and to accomplish this, “original classifiers shall draft intelligence products with a presumption of release, and in such a manner as to allow the widest dissemination to allies, coalitions and international organizations.”
“That is a reflection of the desire of both the [director of national intelligence] and [Mr. Clapper] to share intelligence wherever reasonably and appropriately possible,” Miss Barger said, given that “we must always protect sources and methods.”
The directive, which replaces one more than 20 years old, also explicitly recognizes the role of the director of national intelligence, stating that all defense intelligence and counterintelligence activities “shall conform to U.S. law and presidential guidance concerning the authorities and responsibilities” of the new post.
Miss Barger said Mr. Clapper “wanted to establish a much closer relationship with the [new director”s office], especially on policy and strategy.”
“We”re very proud of the way that relationship is improving,” she said, adding that “the fact that this [policy directive] came to closure as well as it did” was a reflection of that improvement.
Retired Col. Pat Lang, a former senior defense intelligence official, reviewed the document for UPI. He said the new direction came all the way from the top.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates “is a big boy about this intelligence stuff. He wants the system to work and he knows that means military intelligence has to be coordinated with, and to some extent subordinate to, the [director of national intelligence],” he said.