U.S. Intelligence: Evolution and Anatomy

By Mark M. Lowenthal | Go to book overview

9
Observations

The collapse of the Soviet satellite empire in 1989 and of the Soviet Union itself in 1991 both resulted in calls for reforming and reducing the U.S. intelligence community. The short interval between these events and the calls for reform and reduction, as well as the underlying assumption--that these changes likely decreased the need for the intelligence community--shows how closely many continued to connect the intelligence community and the cold war. Few raised the equally valid counterargument that in a world of increased uncertainty--of new power balances, greater diffusion of power, increasing weapons proliferation, and political instability in the nuclear-armed former Soviet republics--the need for reliable intelligence has not diminished at all.

Whatever its accomplishments of the past 45 years, the intelligence community must now restate reasons for its existence even as the entire national security policy community attempts to redefine the key issues for the United States. Under these circumstances, the role that the intelligence community plays in this redefinition could be crucial to its future. The community's ability to take part honestly and in a manner that is not seen as self-serving will help ensure more than just reduced survival--not necessarily an

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