Post 9/11 Intelligence Reform
Impact and the Way Ahead
October 8, 2012
After 9/11, an event so shocking, and humiliating to both the American people, and the U.S. Government, vast reforms were identified to ensure that an attack of this magnitude never happened again. From the ashes of this despicable act came two major pieces of Intelligence reform. These documents were the 9/11 Commission Report and The Intelligence Reform Act and Terrorist Prevent Act of 2004 (IRTPA). Both documents worked to reform the Intelligence Community (IC), and streamline current processes to improve the sharing of intelligence information, and products. With the sweeping changes mainly through the ITPRA the Intelligence Community is well on its way to being the major muscle group we need it to be acting as a single unit as opposed to separate and individual muscles all trying to lift the same heavy weight. With the findings of the 9/11 commission, the implementations of the IRTPA have taken long strides, but what can be done better? We will look at the two pieces of legislation, and then compare and contrast the sweeping changes, and if the are going in the correct direction.
The 9/11 Commission Report
In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, a group of politicians both Republican and Democrats came together to identify shortfalls and introduce a call for reform. According the report, “Our aim has not been to assign individual blame. Our aim has been to provide the fullest account of the events surrounding 9/11 and to identify lessons learned.” When we as Americans have a major event in the United States, we always look for a scapegoat, the ideas behind the 9/11 commission was built as a bi-partisan group for just this reason. The report takes the events of 9/11 and attempts to paint a picture of a major lack of understanding of the threat we face from radical Islam, as well as other disenchanted with is around the world. The 9/11 report goes deep into the history of the events surrounding 9/11, but really only spends about 25 pages of the 450 pages report identifying the shortcomings, and way ahead. Now while this is a macro view of the reforms needed, it does leave much to the imagination. Post 9/11 Reform
As we look at the reforms recommended we see that the commission broke the recommendations into major groups, they divided them into ways to give Overall Government Reform. This is subdivided into five categories, a new Unity of Effort between Foreign and Domestic operations in an attempt to mandate primacy in different types of operations to ensure the proper agency is doing the correct job, A Unity of Effort for the Intelligence Community, Unity of Effort in Sharing Information, Unity of Effort of in the Congress, and finally how to better organizing Homeland defenses. While these are all important, the major issue was the lack of ownership and sharing of intelligence between governmental agencies.
As the 9/11 commission pushed for counterterrorism reform, it also pointed to a need for intelligence reform. the IC reform was aimed at the way we collect process and disseminate intelligence. The 9/11 commission struck to identify, “whether the government is organized adequately to direct resources and build the intelligence capabilities it will need not just for countering terrorism, but for the broader range of national security challenges in the decades ahead.” This viewpoint looks at the National Intelligence Agencies and strive to focus their power to be both effective, and balanced. Coupled with these factors the 9/11 commission identified six major problems, the structural barriers to performing joint intelligence work, lack of common standards and practices across the foreign-domestic divide. Divided management of national intelligence capabilities, weak capacity to set priorities and move resources, too many jobs, and too complex and secret....