U.S. intelligence agencies need to be more “agile” than their enemies to deal with current terrorist and other threats, according to a strategy report made public yesterday.
The report, produced by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, also states that domestic and foreign intelligence agencies should work together more closely.
“The stakes for America in the 21st century demand that we be more agile and resourceful than our adversaries,” according to the report.
U.S. adversaries, including governments and networks of terrorists or arms traffickers, have become better at hiding their activities, according to the report. U.S. spy agencies must “penetrate the thinking of both sets of leaders” through better human and technical spying.
The CIA, FBI and Pentagon intelligence agencies will provide information to government leaders and also will “support the spread of freedom, human rights, economic growth and financial stability and the rule of law,” according to the report.
“We must identify these opportunities for democratic transformation because autocratic and failed states are breeding grounds of international instability, violence and misery,” the reportstates.
Spy services also will seek to “make war an instrument of last resort and ensure victory in the event that conflict is unavoidable.”
“For U.S. national intelligence, the time for change is now,” John D. Negroponte, director of national intelligence, said in a foreword to the report, noting that “U.S. national intelligence must do more.”
Key strategic intelligence objectives outlined in the report include defeating terrorists domestically and internationally; preventing the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological arms; and promoting democracy and protecting peaceful democratic states.
It also calls for adopting “innovative ways” to plant agents inside the most difficult intelligence targets.
The report is a recognition that U.S. spy agencies have failed to penetrate terrorist organizations or so-called “hard targets” in places such as China, Iran and North Korea.
The strategy report also calls for better integration of the 14 intelligence agencies and improved intelligence analysis.
According to the report, secret intelligence will be distributed on a “need-to-share” basis among agencies and policy-makers, instead of the restrictive “need-to-know” rules that in the past limited communication among agencies.
The adoption of a new concept of “national intelligence” is based on the findings of investigations of recent intelligence failures, including those linked to the September 11, 2001, attacks and those related to misjudging Iraq’s weapons programs.
Another goal outlined in the report is bringing domestic and foreign intelligence agencies closer together to eliminate “gaps” in learning about national security threats.
Critics of the new Office of the Director of National Intelligence within the intelligence community say it is another layer of bureaucracy and that it has failed to initiate bold reforms.