Ensuring Language Capability in the Intelligence Community

Ensuring Language Capability in the Intelligence Community: What Factors Affect the Best Mix of Military, Civilians, and Contractors?

Beth J. Asch
John D. Winkler
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 96
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/j.ctt4cgdt7
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  • Book Info
    Ensuring Language Capability in the Intelligence Community
    Book Description:

    Draws on Department of Defense guidance, the economics and defense manpower literatures, interviews with personnel at the National Security Agency/Central Security Service, and an exploratory quantitative analysis to identify the factors that affect the most cost-effective mix of military personnel, government civilians, and contractors for providing language capability in the intelligence community.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8193-3
    Subjects: Political Science, Management & Organizational Behavior, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Executive Summary
    (pp. v-vi)

    To provide language capability in the intelligence community, RAND analysis suggests that the Chief Human Capital Office in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) should continue to use language professionals from three personnel categories: military service members, government civilians, and contractors. The analysis indicates that each category of personnel provides unique advantages and belongs in the workforce mix. The analysis suggests that the intelligence community do the following:

    Build intelligence community language capability around permanent civilian positions.

    Continue to develop and train military personnel.

    Continue to use contractors to augment and extend the military and civilian workforce....

  4. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Figures and Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xi-xvi)

    Language professionals play a pivotal role in U.S. national security. The adversaries of the United States communicate their plans and actions in many different languages and dialects. Consequently, U.S. intelligence operations require personnel with high-level capability in these languages and dialects. For example, in the area of signal intelligence, these professionals are required to listen to communications, decipher written and oral transmissions, and use and understand the colloquial phrases and syntax that are commonly used by native speakers of a language.

    Language capability is provided in the intelligence community (IC) by military, government civilian, and contractor personnel. Each category of...

  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xix-xx)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-2)

    Language professionals play a pivotal role in U.S. national security. The adversaries of the United States communicate their plans and actions in many different languages and dialects. Consequently, U.S. intelligence operations require personnel with high-level capability in these languages and dialects. Intelligence language professionals, be they military, government civilian, or contractor personnel, provide these vital skills. For example, in the area of signal intelligence, these professionals are required to listen to communications, decipher written and oral transmissions, and use and understand the colloquial phrases and syntax that are commonly used by native speakers of a language.

    Given their pivotal role,...

  10. CHAPTER TWO DoD Guidance for Determining Workforce Mix
    (pp. 3-6)

    DoD Instruction (DoDI) 1100.22, Guidance for Determining Workforce Mix, provides defense organizations with a framework for determining the mix of contractors, civilian, and military personnel to perform defense functions. The framework recognizes mission success, cost, and risk mitigation as important factors in determining the best source of personnel to perform an activity. ODNI does not have similar guidance for intelligence agencies. Because the framework in DoDI 1100.22 is written in a way that is generalizable to a broad array of functions, it can serve as an information source on factors that are likely to be important in the IC. Furthermore,...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Literature Review on the Costs and Benefits of Different Categories of Personnel
    (pp. 7-18)

    DoD guidance is that risk mitigation takes precedence over cost-savings in choosing different personnel categories, and civilian manpower is the preferred source of personnel unless a cost analysis shows that this source is not the lowest-cost source. This chapter presents information relevant for conducting such a cost analysis. We draw on information in the economics literature, past defense manpower studies, and recent guidance from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Cost Assessment and Performance Evaluation (CAPE). We use the CAPE guidance because it is the current guidance on determining manpower mix in DoD. Other guidance is available, such as...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Insights from Interviews
    (pp. 19-30)

    This chapter describes our qualitative results. The purpose of this analysis was to obtain qualitative information on the factors that may affect language workforce mix decisions in the IC but that are not amenable to measurement or for which there is little data. Chapter Five presents the quantitative analysis.

    The chapter begins with an overview of the methodology used, with a more detailed description given in Appendix B. It then summarizes the major themes that emerged from the interviews we conducted, beginning with a description of the general nature of work performed by language professionals at NSA/CSS. While the specific...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Exploratory Analysis of the Relative Cost-Effectiveness of Military Versus Civilian Language-Proficient Workforces
    (pp. 31-42)

    It is useful to supplement the interview findings with computations of the difference in the cost of providing language capability to the IC with different categories of personnel. Because of data limitations, we were not able to make such computations. Instead, we developed an exploratory model, so described because (1) we do not use information specifically for language personnel in the IC, (2) we focus on military and civilian personnel but not contactors, and (3) we consider only direct costs and not other cost categories. We exclude contractors because of a lack of data and information on these personnel.¹ Furthermore,...

  14. CHAPTER SIX Summary and Concluding Thoughts
    (pp. 43-46)

    This chapter summarizes our key findings and offers some concluding thoughts about the factors affecting the best workforce of language professionals in the IC. In the process, we also discuss our framework for assessing workforce mix and offer some thoughts about potential areas for improving the management of language professionals in the IC.

    DoD guidance and policy provides a useful starting point for assessing the best workforce mix of military, government civilian, and contractor personnel. The NSA/CSS, the agency that we considered as a case study in our qualitative analysis, is a DoD agency, so DoD guidance is relevant. Currently,...

  15. APPENDIX A Details on DoD Guidance of Workforce Mix
    (pp. 47-54)
  16. APPENDIX B Qualitative Analysis Approach
    (pp. 55-62)
  17. APPENDIX C Quantitative Research Approach
    (pp. 63-72)
  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 73-76)