The United States Intelligence Community is abbreviated as IC. This is a federation where 16 independent United States government agencies cooperate but working separately to conduct security intelligence activities necessary in maintaining and monitoring foreign relations and ensuring United States national security is upheld (Cohen 80).
The members of the intelligence community includes: military intelligence, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), analysis offices, joint intelligence unit service, civilian intelligence within the department of federal executive and the intelligence agencies (Prados 175). All the departments have a role to play separately but they all aim at ensuring the national security in the United States is assured to her citizens. The IC is headed by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) who is appointed by the president. They must follow the set guidelines of purpose as stipulated in constitution concerning security of the state. The DNI reports to the president all the intelligence activities and the state of national security (Hersh 290).
The flow of information and interagency among the 16 member agencies initially had problems because each agency was independent; hence sharing of sensitive information about security was difficult. This led to the reforms which have the IC to share information and to work as a united group for the sake of the national security (Knott 310).
Responsibilities of members of Intelligence Community
The members of IC have the following roles and responsibilities to accomplished:
The Intelligence Community has six major objectives. These include:
There many reforms introduced during and after World War II, the Congressional investigations of the 1970s and as a result of September 11, 2001 bomb attacks and the War in Iraq initiated in March 2003. The Intelligence Reforms and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 came up with the office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). It was meant to perform both IC and government functions. This was to counter the terrorists through the intelligence cycles. This was after the war in Iraq and the September 11, 2001 bombing (Prados 180).
The Act was part of the reform agenda that was needed by the US government in order to avoid and to counter future terrorist bombing and explosions. This was also to provide a link and to improve relationship with other countries foreign intelligence agencies. The reform was meant to strengthen and unite the 16 IC agencies so as to work as a team but secretly by spying countries which are considered as posing threat to the national security of the United States. This reform agenda has made all intelligence agencies to be alert and active all the time, hence boasting national security and defense (Cohen 100).
Immediately after the World War II, some changes were carried out in the intelligence community so as to counter any future wars incase they occur. In 1947, the National Security Act was established as a reform agenda number one. It was established so as to carry out covert and detailed intelligence operations. These are to act against the hostile foreign groups, states and any unfriendly person who may be planning to attack the US government unaware as it was in the World War II (Hersh 260).
The reform agenda was to coordinate all the activities in the event of war in order to avoid inconveniences and poor planning. After the Second World War, the American Intelligence Community build what was known as world class intelligence capability force which was recognized by the busting codes and foreign agents in the US. This was a reform strategy where the codes were broken into manageable units and improve the counterintelligence operations and coordination (Cohen 98).
The Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949 was introduced. This was a major reform in the history of IC in United States of America (Prados 200). This is one of crucial agencies in IC which was given the mandate to use the most sensitive administrative and confidential fiscal procedures to handle essential aliens and defectors who can provide information on security matters. The CIA had been dealing with terrorism especially from the al-Qaeda led by Osama bin Laden (Cohen 73).
The CIA unit set a counterterrorist center in 1984 to deal with the problem directly. The center was set up due to the terrorism which had increased; hence the Intelligence Community confronted it and set another office of service in Peshawar, Pakistan so as to coordinate the intelligence activities very easily (Hersh 275). The reforms empowered the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to organize an efficient and effective counterintelligence on all terrorists and external attacks from other countries. Because of the improved technology, the intelligence became more effective in collecting and disseminating information Cohen 70).
The detectives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) were able to penetrate and infiltrated the espionage network and sabotage the operations of the aliens or enemies (Loch 55). The civilian's intelligence agency had been well equipped where the coordinators of the intelligence information were stationed. This office is meant to plan and organize all the activities of all agencies and link them all. This office has ensured the safety of all the citizens by improving the national security and all the defense mechanisms (Prados 170).
The anticommunism force was created from the United States Army Special Forces in 1978 as a reform strategy to penetrate into the Soviet Union. It was difficult to get information from this country but due to the reforms introduced by the new technology; it made it easy for Intelligence community agencies to get the information they require (Hersh 240).
The congressional investigations of 1970's were a church committee which was referred to as the United States Senate Select Committee to study the governmental operations in respect to intelligence activities and operations. This committee was chaired by Senator Frank Church in 1975. The committee gathered intelligence information through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) (Smist 130).
The committee wanted to come up with reforms to correct the illegalities and loopholes which were disclosed by Watergate affair (Hersh 230). The congressional investigation came up because they wanted to rein the nation's intelligence agencies which had involved themselves in questionable activities hence compromising the national security. The CIA and FBI had been reported as being reluctant in offering adequate security and investigations in the country. Among the reforms the church includes:
Some people criticized the reform agendas introduced by the church committee known as the congressional investigations of 1970s. The most recent was the September 11, 2001 attacks. This has led to the reduction of the CIA ability to gather human intelligence information. The congressional investigation reform agenda was that, foreigners should not be subjected to too much interrogation and investigation before entering the country. The reforms were criticized as compromising the country's national security as more than two hundred people were killed and more than one thousand others injured (Cohen 72).
The 2003 Iraq war assisted the Intelligence community and its agencies in ensuring that; the war was well organized and planned so that USA does not loose (Smist 100). The reforms guided the whole process of the war until a few leaders who were dictatorial were arrested and those who refused to be arrested were killed. This means that the reforms made from the World War II were useful in making strategies to be used in the war for it to be successful. The reforms made after the world war II were also important guidelines used by the church committee through the 1970s congressional investigation (Cohen 70). The reforms too were meant to ensure the government of Iraq respect people's rights and do away with dictatorial government and bad leadership. Bad leaders worsen the security of its citizens and the international community at large.
The intelligence community have used the reforms especially the modern technology so as to enhance security in the country. The modern technology gadgets are used in detectives by all the agencies of intelligence communication during investigation. For instance, the missiles and bombs found in Iraq during the war were because of the modern technological devices, equipment and gadgets (Hersh 210).
The national security has improved compared to 1944 before the world war two. Foreigners are being investigated and thorough searching at the airports and seaports in order to assure the citizen that, the foreigners cannot endanger their lives. This is because the equipment used in the search is more sophisticated and can detect illegal passport documents and the bomb (Loch 50).
The supplementary Detailed Staff Report on Intelligence was part of the reform process where the security officers were to be vetted so that those who are physically and mentally fit can be recruited as intelligence officers. The academic qualification was made mandatory for all those who wanted to be recruited into the intelligence unit or any agency within the IC. Minimum standards were set including training and development on security issues was mandatory for all intelligence officers (Knott 300). The reform agenda has ensured that, people with integrity work in these sixteen agencies of intelligence community.
The reforms have been reactive when dealing with sensitive intelligence information. They are meant also to improve on the future national security of the nation. United States of America has been able maintain a stable economic conditions due to its improved national security. Due to peace brought about by well organized intelligence community agencies, many investors are willing to invest in US. This is because the there are less risky factors such as political risks, wars and other risks associated with the national security of a country (Loch 54).
The reforms have assisted to restore peace in Iraq due organized reform processes and procedures. These procedures will help improve the economic growth and development of a country by ensuring that there are no future wars (Hersh 212). Lack of security will endanger the economic growth of a country. A country like United States of America have made all necessary steps to ensure the security have been maintained in all industrial areas. The intelligence community has ensured that the reforms are implemented so as to enhance national security and to eliminate the past incidences from happening in future. Though the reforms are not through for implementation, the already implemented ones have yield good fruits in all the agencies of intelligence community. The national security of the state has improved since reforms were started in after World War II (Loch 50).