U.S. Intelligence: Evolution and Anatomy

By Mark M. Lowenthal | Go to book overview
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During 1990-1992, much of the discussion about the intelligence community in the wake of the collapse of Soviet power and the apparent end of the cold war has unfortunately centered on organization. Organization does matter, but only to a point. Too often, moving the boxes around on an organizational chart is an all too easy refuge from more fundamental problems and issues.

The key issue facing the intelligence community is not central authority versus autonomy, proximity to versus distance from policymakers, or diversity versus redundancy. The key issue is the ability of the community to deliver timely, digestible, and accurate analysis to policymakers and the priority among the myriad areas of interest and concern. Although bad organization can greatly impede such an effort, the reverse is not necessarily true; even the best organization cannot ensure "good" intelligence. Good intelligence analysis can only occur if there are analysts and collectors as well as managers and consumers who understand each other's needs and limits, who can communicate easily and with confidence, and who have a shared sense of trust. Such an arrangement sounds idyllic, but it does happen periodically, albeit not across the board and not consistently within any one area or issue.


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U.S. Intelligence: Evolution and Anatomy


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