Thursday, February 21, 2008
disappeared in the crowd, all you seen was troops:
Newness. For everyone out there who's been noticing that all the civilian intelligence agencies are run by military people, and who wonders if long-term forecasting is losing out to warfighter support as an intelligence priority, here comes some white-label, acetate-only Washington Independent truth and soul:
According to long-time observers, the militarization of the U.S. intelligence community goes further than the uniforms worn by agency leaders. Put another way, those leaders are symptoms of a more fundamental shift over the last several years. With the U.S. mired in Iraq and Afghanistan, intelligence has moved away from long-term forecasting and toward immediate support to military commanders prosecuting the wars.

"There needs to be a semi-independent voice that voices the broader strategic perspectives and is not driven by the [intelligence] demands of day," said Robert Hutchings, who chaired the National Intelligence Council from 2003 until 2005. "The worry is not that Mike Hayden and Mike McConnell happen to be military officers; it’s that the system is now skewed to current intelligence, driven by military operations. That’s leaving too little left over for strategic analysis of what’s going on more broadly. And that leads to [an echo chamber effect]: this is what’s presented to policy-makers, and it just reinforces the worldview they began with."
--Spencer Ackerman
You raise a point overlooked by many observers of the IC, excellent reporting. I would venture a guess that the shift from a heavy civilian hand to a heavy military hand is like that of pendulum and will most likely correct itself with time. This begs the conclusion that a proper balance between the two would be best structure for the IC, but extremely unlikely given the current context.

"If you’re an intelligence professional and a civilian, it’s almost a career killer to accept a senior position in the U.S. intelligence community now. A lot of people are waiting the nine months or however long for the next administration before accepting a promotion."

Past history shows that mindset is not entirely accurate. George Tenet survived the Clinton-Bush transition (one of very few officials to do so).
Blogger Jeff Dexter | 11:37 AM