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Fixing Intelligence

Fixing Intelligence: For a More Secure America

William E. Odom
Copyright Date: 2003
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 272
  • Book Info
    Fixing Intelligence
    Book Description:

    William E. Odom is the highest-ranking member of the United States Intelligence community ever to write a book outlining fundamental restructuring of this vast network of agencies, technology, and human agents. In the wake of 9/11, Odom has revised and updated a powerful critique he wrote several years ago for staffs of the U.S. congressional committee overseeing the vast American intelligence bureaucracy. His recommendations for revamping this essential component of American security are now available for general readers as well as for policymakers.While giving an unmatched overview of the world of U.S. intelligence, Odom persuasively shows that the failure of American intelligence on 9/11 had much to do with the complex bureaucratic relationships existing among the various components of the Intelligence Community. The sustained fragmentation within the Intelligence Community since World War II is part of the story; the blurring of security and intelligence duties is another. Odom describes the various components of American intelligence in order to give readers an understanding of how complex they are and what can be done to make them more effective in providing timely intelligence and more efficient in using their large budgets. He shows definitively that they cannot be remedied with quick fixes but require deep study of the entire bureaucracy and the commitment of the U.S. government to implement the necessary reforms.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-13035-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface to the Second Edition
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. xiii-xxxv)

    This book deals with a timely though unpopular topic, intelligence reform. Some members of the Senate gave public attention to reform in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but then their colleagues legislated a presidential commission to investigate the matter. Like most other presidential commissions, its sponsors wanted it to justify the status quo and silence the proponents of reform. They succeeded. Commissions on the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Imagery Agency in 2000–2001 did the same thing in spite of abundant evidence that both needed fundamental changes.

    In the aftermath of the events of 11 September 2001,...

  6. Glossary
    (pp. xxxvi-vliii)
  7. 1 Why Intelligence Reform?
    (pp. 1-7)

    Studies on intelligence reform have become a cottage industry. Why do we need another one? The answer is simple: most of them have attempted to doctor the symptoms, not the illness. The skeptical reader will object that this claim is not self-evident. But consider the public record.

    Since Congress began investigating the Intelligence Community in the mid-1970s, the issue of intelligence reform has been raised repeatedly. During the Carter administration several initiatives were taken to implement some of the ideas produced by a committee chaired by Senator Frank Church (D-Idaho), but no fundamental structural change occurred. Several times in the...

  8. 2 Essential Dogma and Useful Buzzwords
    (pp. 8-52)

    The major problem confronting all discussions about reform of the U.S. Intelligence Community is the absence of a commonly understood and accepted doctrine—a single set of terms, rules, and practices—for intelligence organization, operations, and management. Virtually every agency within the Intelligence Community has either a unique doctrine or none. The director of central intelligence has never promulgated a unifying set of principles. The Community Management Staff holds some vague ideas about the topic, but these have never been fully developed or promulgated as official guidance. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA), and the Defense...

  9. 3 Making Dollars Yield Useful Intelligence
    (pp. 53-88)

    The inchoate outlines already exist for a management structure through which the director of central intelligence can direct and manage the Intelligence Community. Some of the parts of this outline appeared early, while others emerged over time. In the late 1960s through the early 1970s, substantial organizational attention was devoted to soliciting the intelligence collection requirements of all departments in the government, prioritizing them, and tasking various agencies to collect intelligence to meet them; other areas of progress included resource and program management and Intelligence Community–wide policies. From 1947 there was always a board (known today as the National...

  10. 4 The World of Military Intelligence
    (pp. 89-114)

    The focus of this chapter is a top-down management and structure critique of the intelligence organizational structure in the Department of Defense. My aim here is neither to provide solutions to all Intelligence Community problems nor to take an excessively small-grain look at structural issues. Rather I will try to show how a few key structural and management changes at the top levels in Department of Defense intelligence would provide a more effective allocation of responsibilities and missions. With that rationalization of the top management structure, incumbent senior intelligence officers would have a much improved prospect for continuing the rationalization...

  11. 5 Listening to Learn: Signals Intelligence
    (pp. 115-129)

    Of all the collection disciplines in the Intelligence Community, signals intelligence is the best structured to exploit changing technology and to provide support to both national-level users and tactical military forces. This is true primarily for two reasons. First, in the early 1950s, the military service signals intelligence organizations were centralized under a new organization, the National Security Agency (NSA). The military services’ signals intelligence organizations, the Army Security Agency and Naval Security Group in particular, resisted the change and were able to prevent the NSA from gaining program budget control over their tactical assets. They also maintained independent signals...

  12. 6 Looking to See: Imagery Intelligence
    (pp. 130-141)

    Maps, drawings, photographs, and a variety of advanced technological means for acquiring and portraying images have only recently been grouped as a single intelligence collection discipline in the U.S. Intelligence Community. Imagery intelligence has yet to acquire the status of a specialty on the same level as human intelligence and signals intelligence. The means for acquiring and transmitting images have involved highly sophisticated technology, requiring great technical skill and competence in processing, interpreting, and disseminating intelligence, but the discipline has received neither a clear definition of its boundaries nor an organizational structure that permits full exploitation of its capabilities.


  13. 7 Spying to Know: Human Intelligence
    (pp. 142-166)

    The heart of the human intelligence discipline is the clandestine service. A professional peacetime clandestine service is relatively new in American history. Perhaps the most effective American clandestine operations were conducted by George Washington during the Revolutionary War, but operations were discontinued after the war. During the Civil War, Allan Pinkerton’s detective service ran clandestine operations on contract in support of Lincoln’s administration. Again, clandestine human intelligence was discontinued after the war. In the 1880s both the War Department and the Navy Department initiated modest overt human intelligence collection by military attachés and officers on leave visiting foreign countries. Shortly...

  14. 8 Spying on Spies: Counterintelligence
    (pp. 167-184)

    Counterintelligence is the most arcane and organizationally fragmented, the least doctrinally clarified, and legally, and thus politically, the most sensitive intelligence activity. I have already made several recommendations for reforming counterintelligence in the Defense Department, and I will not repeat them here, but I will fit them into the proposals in this chapter. Reforming counterintelligence within the overall Intelligence Community, a few fundamental structural reforms have long been imperative although politically unfeasible. Over the past couple of years the political climate has radically changed, making these reforms at least conceivable.

    Some historical perspective on the poor performance of U.S. counterintelligence...

  15. 9 Conclusion: What It All Means
    (pp. 185-194)

    I have in the foregoing analysis been highly critical of the Intelligence Community, but one should not conclude that it has been an overall failure or that there is little positive to say about its performance. In a few important instances, it has had embarrassing failures that should not be tolerated. On balance, however, it has performed impressively, at times accomplishing remarkable feats. Most of these successes must remain secret if there is to be a chance of repeating them in the future. There is, nonetheless, sufficient unclassified evidence of the achievements of the Intelligence Community to make the general...

  16. Appendix Intelligence Organizations and the Intelligence Process
    (pp. 195-206)
  17. Notes
    (pp. 207-212)
  18. Index
    (pp. 213-230)