The Brennan Plan; President Obama's Recent Visit to the CIA Reminds Us of the Critical Role the Central Intelligence Agency Plays in National Security. While the President Was at the CIA Headquarters to Learn about ISIS, He Had Little Time to Notice the Bureaucratic Swirl Going on around Him. [Derived Headline]

By John D Woodward, Jr. | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 22, 2016 | Go to article overview

The Brennan Plan; President Obama's Recent Visit to the CIA Reminds Us of the Critical Role the Central Intelligence Agency Plays in National Security. While the President Was at the CIA Headquarters to Learn about ISIS, He Had Little Time to Notice the Bureaucratic Swirl Going on around Him. [Derived Headline]


John D Woodward, Jr., Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


President Obama's recent visit to the CIA reminds us of the critical role the Central Intelligence Agency plays in national security. While the president was at the CIA headquarters to learn about ISIS, he had little time to notice the bureaucratic swirl going on around him.

A significant but largely unnoticed transformation has been percolating for the past year -- CIA Director John Brennan's restructuring of the agency. The Brennan plan is the most far- reaching organizational shake up since the CIA's creation in 1947. If fully implemented, this restructuring will drastically change the way espiocrats perform their duties.

The Brennan plan shifts the traditional power center of the CIA - - away from separate operational, analytical and technical components focusing largely on strategic intelligence -- to 10 more tactically oriented mission centers focusing on regional and transnational issues. The affect of this reorganization on intelligence is not clear. Perhaps it means a faster, more nimble approach, as Brennan contends. But long-range thinking, source protection and analytical objectivity might be the first casualties.

Designed to increase collaboration and fill the intelligence gaps, the mission centers fuse together operations officers, analysts, technical intelligence officers and others. The directorate of operations and the directorate of analysis -- long the bedrock of CIA organization -- have shifted to function as talent pools from which the 10 centers can draw personnel as needed. For example, the director of the operations directorate (DDO) -- the CIA's real spymaster responsible for the global conduct of espionage -- has become the senior bureaucrat in charge of training, equipping and preparing spies for their work in the mission centers. This realization is probably what led to the previous DDO's resignation when Brennan announced the reorganization last year.

The reorganization creates a new directorate of digital innovation, focused on cyber-espionage and computer technology. This change makes sense from a mission perspective -- cyber threats from state and non-state actors are very real -- as well as from a bureaucratic perch. With the creation of the U.S. military's Cyber Command and other agencies moving into the digital domain, the CIA needed to carve out and enhance its cyber turf.

Some objections to the Brennan reorganization can be sourced to espiocratic maneuvering. For example, the DDO used to be the power broker that selected the senior U. …

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The Brennan Plan; President Obama's Recent Visit to the CIA Reminds Us of the Critical Role the Central Intelligence Agency Plays in National Security. While the President Was at the CIA Headquarters to Learn about ISIS, He Had Little Time to Notice the Bureaucratic Swirl Going on around Him. [Derived Headline]
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