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National Intelligence Changing to Meet 21st Century Needs

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 17, 2006 – Morphing threats have created the need for change in the U.S. intelligence community, a top Defense Department intelligence official said here March 14.

The National Security Act of 1947 was born from what President Harry S. Truman considered the failure at Pearl Harbor, Army Lt. Gen. William Boykin, deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence and warfighting support, said at the 17th Annual National Defense Industrial Association Special Operations/Low-intensity Conflict Symposium and Exhibition.

The act remained largely unchanged until the fall of 2004, he said. At that time, changes to the act created the position of director of national intelligence, national counterterrorism and counterproliferation centers, and the Joint Intelligence Community Council.

"What's driving the change, first of all, is the change in threat," Boykin said. The threat faced today is not as defined as that of the Cold War era, he added.

A number of changes have occurred in the intelligence community because of new requirements to fight the new threat, Boykin said. One of those changes involves human intelligence. "We realized that the war we're in today, the enemy we're up against today, really requires a robust (human intelligence) capability," he said. To deal with this realization, the Defense Department created the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence in 2003, Boykin said.

"We did this thing called taking stock of defense intelligence and defense (human intelligence) reform," he said. The two projects were eventually joined under the common title, "Remodeling Defense Intelligence," and initial findings are now being implemented, he said.

Another key change that occurred in 2004 is the mandate for improving education for the intelligence community. The community has never had appropriate and adequate career paths, professional development and educational opportunities, Boykin said. "So we will have, in the next few years, a better educated, better trained, and better developed community of people," Boykin said.

These changes in the intelligence community have allowed DoD to focus on an intelligence campaign plan. "The idea behind the campaign plan is that we're building a plan that says, 'This is what the entire U.S. intelligence community has to do in support of this campaign," he said. "Our whole objective here is to get the entire intelligence community together synergistically, working to help solve a problem or address an issue."

Boykin cited an intelligence campaign plan being developed to address improvised-explosive-device issues in Afghanistan and Iraq. "You can apply it to anything, but we have, to this point, tried to apply it to major theater challenges," he said.

Efforts also are under way to streamline intelligence operations, Boykin said. The Defense HUMINT Management Office is helping accomplish that. "We're trying to move from separate services and agencies over to an integrated and complimentary joint approach," he said. "Instead of everybody out there ... doing their own thing, we're trying to get some centralized management and decentralized execution."

The U.S. has to fight this fight as long as it lasts, Boykin said, adding that it's not going to end quickly. It also does not preclude the need to prepare for conventional and nuclear threats, he said. "We can't go too far one way or the other," Boykin said. "We have got to recognize that we're fighting a unique kind of enemy today, but at the same time, be prepared for the conventional fight."

For this to happen, the intelligence community needs to shift its thinking to complement the changes, Boykin said. "We need to go from this concept of need-to-know to need-to-share," he said. "That's a significant paradigm shift."

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Related Sites:
Director of National Intelligence
National Counterterrorism Center


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