Friday, 11 June 2010

Pentagon Tightens Grip on the Obama Administration and the Intelligence Community

If President Obama were truly interested in intelligence reform, he would have abolished the office of national intelligence and the position of intelligence czar or at least placed the DNI in civilian hands to counter the Pentagon's control of intelligence personnel and intelligence spending. The Pentagon already controls nearly 85 percent of the $70 billion intelligence budget and nearly 90 percent of the 100,000 intelligence personnel. Active duty and retired general officers now command nearly all of the major institutions of the intelligence community, although my 18 years on the faculty of the National War College confirmed my impression that military officers are not distinguished in the fields of strategic intelligence or geopolitical problem solving.

Strategic management of the 16 agencies of the intelligence community is the DNI's major challenge, but the last three intelligence czars have been unqualified general and flag officers. The absence of an independent civilian to counter the power of military intelligence threatens civilian control of the decision to use military power and makes it more likely that intelligence will be tailored to suit the purposes of the Pentagon. The president's erratic decision making on Afghanistan over the past year points to military domination of the decision making process.

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, June 11th, 2010.]

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