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United States Intelligence Community

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

United States Intelligence Community
Seal of the US Intelligence Community
Flag of the US Intelligence Community
Agency overview
FormedDecember 4, 1981; 42 years ago (1981-12-04)
Agency executive

The United States Intelligence Community (IC) is a group of separate United States government intelligence agencies and subordinate organizations that work both separately and collectively to conduct intelligence activities which support the foreign policy and national security interests of the United States. Member organizations of the IC include intelligence agencies, military intelligence, and civilian intelligence and analysis offices within federal executive departments.

The IC is overseen by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), which is headed by the director of national intelligence (DNI) who reports directly to the president of the United States.[1][2] The IC was established by Executive Order 12333 ("United States Intelligence Activities"), signed on December 4, 1981, by President Ronald Reagan.[3] The statutory definition of the IC, including its roster of agencies, was codified as the Intelligence Organization Act of 1992 (Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 102–496, H.R. 5095, 106 Stat. 3188).[4]

The Washington Post reported in 2010 that there were 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies in 10,000 locations in the United States that were working on counterterrorism, homeland security, and intelligence, and that the intelligence community as a whole would include 854,000 people holding top-secret clearances.[5] According to a 2008 study by the ODNI, private contractors make up 29% of the workforce in the U.S. intelligence community and account for 49% of their personnel budgets.[6]

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The term Intelligence Community was first used during LTG Walter Bedell Smith's tenure as Director of Central Intelligence (1950–1953).[7]


Intelligence is information that agencies collect, analyze, and distribute in response to government leaders' questions and requirements. Intelligence is a broad term that may entail for example:

Collection, analysis, and production of sensitive information to support national security leaders, including policymakers, military commanders, and members of Congress. Safeguarding these processes and this information through counterintelligence activities. Execution of covert operations approved by the president. The IC strives to provide valuable insight on important issues by gathering raw intelligence, analyzing that data in context, and producing timely and relevant products for customers at all levels of national security—from the war-fighter on the ground to the president in Washington.[8]

Executive Order 12333 charged the IC with six primary objectives:[9]

  • Collection of information needed by the president, the National Security Council, the secretary of state, the secretary of defense, and other executive branch officials for the performance of their duties and responsibilities;
  • Production and dissemination of intelligence;
  • Collection of information concerning, and the conduct of activities to protect against, intelligence activities directed against the U.S., international terrorist and/or narcotics activities, and other hostile activities directed against the U.S. by foreign powers, organizations, persons and their agents;
  • Special activities (defined as activities conducted in support of U.S. foreign policy objectives abroad which are planned and executed so that the "role of the United States Government is not apparent or acknowledged publicly", and functions in support of such activities, but which are not intended to influence United States political processes, public opinion, policies, or media and do not include diplomatic activities or the collection and production of intelligence or related support functions);
  • Administrative and support activities within the United States and abroad necessary for the performance of authorized activities and
  • Such other intelligence activities as the president may direct from time to time.

Before the CIA's establishment, several military intelligence agencies,[10] and the FBI to a limited extent, fulfilled its role.


Seal of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence

The IC is headed by the director of national intelligence (DNI), whose statutory leadership is exercised through the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). The other members of the IC are:[11][12]

List of members

Seal Organization Parent organization Federal department Date est.
Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) United States Navy Defense 1882
Coast Guard Intelligence (CGI) United States Coast Guard Homeland Security 1915
Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) United States Department of State State 1945
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) None Independent agency 1947
Sixteenth Air Force (16 AF) (USAF ISR Enterprise) United States Air Force Defense 1948

National Security Agency (NSA) /
Central Security Service (CSS)[Note 1]
United States Department of Defense Defense 1952
National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) United States Department of Defense Defense 1961
Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) United States Department of Defense Defense 1961
Military Intelligence Corps (MIC) United States Army Defense 1977
Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence (OICI) United States Department of Energy Energy 1977
Marine Corps Intelligence (MCI) United States Marine Corps Defense 1978
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) United States Department of Defense Defense 1996
Office of Intelligence and Analysis (OIA) United States Department of the Treasury Treasury 2004
Intelligence Branch (IB) Federal Bureau of Investigation Justice 2005
Office of National Security Intelligence (ONSI) Drug Enforcement Administration Justice 2006
Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) United States Department of Homeland Security Homeland Security 2007
National Space Intelligence Center (NSIC) (USSF ISR Enterprise) United States Space Force Defense 2020


  1. ^ The NSA's Central Security Service also includes the U.S. Navy's Fleet Cyber Command and the Marine Corps' Cryptologic Support Battalion as part of their current cadre, along with the community members from the Army (INSCOM), Air Force (16AF) and Coast Guard (CGI), noted above.


The IC performs under two separate programs:

  • The National Intelligence Program (NIP), formerly known as the National Foreign Intelligence Program as defined by the National Security Act of 1947 (as amended), "refers to all programs, projects, and activities of the intelligence community, as well as any other programs of the intelligence community designated jointly by the director of national intelligence (DNI) and the head of a United States department or agency or by the president. Such term does not include programs, projects, or activities of the military departments to acquire intelligence solely for the planning and conduct of tactical military operations by the United States Armed Forces". Under the law, the DNI is responsible for directing and overseeing the NIP, though the ability to do so is limited (see the Organization structure and leadership section).
  • The Military Intelligence Program (MIP) refers to the programs, projects, or activities of the military departments to acquire intelligence solely for the planning and conduct of tactical military operations by the United States Armed Forces. The MIP is directed and controlled by the under secretary of defense for intelligence. In 2005 the Department of Defense combined the Joint Military Intelligence Program and the Tactical Intelligence and Related Activities program to form the MIP.

Since the definitions of the NIP and MIP overlap when they address military intelligence, the assignment of intelligence activities to the NIP and MIP sometimes proves problematic.

Organizational structure and leadership

The overall organization of the IC is primarily governed by the National Security Act of 1947 (as amended) and Executive Order 12333. The statutory organizational relationships were substantially revised with the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA) amendments to the 1947 National Security Act.

Though the IC characterizes itself as a federation of its member elements,[13] its overall structure is better characterized as a confederation due to its lack of a well-defined, unified leadership and governance structure. Prior to 2004, the director of Central Intelligence (DCI) was the head of the IC, in addition to being the director of the CIA. A major criticism of this arrangement was that the DCI had little or no actual authority over the budgetary authorities of the other IC agencies and therefore had limited influence over their operations.

Following the passage of IRTPA in 2004, the head of the IC is the director of national intelligence (DNI). The DNI exerts leadership of the IC primarily through statutory authorities under which he or she:[14][15]

  • develops and executes the National Intelligence Program budget;
  • establishes objectives, priorities, and guidance for the IC; and
  • manages and directs the tasking of, collection, analysis, production, and dissemination of national intelligence by elements of the IC.

Despite these responsibilities, the DNI has no authority to direct and control any element of the IC except his own staff—the Office of the DNI—nor does the DNI have the authority to hire or fire personnel in the IC except those on his or her own staff. The member elements in the executive branch are directed and controlled by their respective department heads, all cabinet-level officials reporting to the president. By law, only the director of the Central Intelligence Agency reports to the DNI.[16][17]

In light of major intelligence failures in recent years that called into question how well Intelligence Community ensures U.S. national security, particularly those identified by the 9/11 Commission (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States), and the "WMD Commission" (Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction), the authorities and powers of the DNI and the overall organizational structure of the IC have become subject of intense debate in the United States.

Interagency cooperation

Previously, interagency cooperation and the flow of information among the member agencies was hindered by policies that sought to limit the pooling of information out of privacy and security concerns. Attempts to modernize and facilitate interagency cooperation within the IC include technological, structural, procedural, and cultural dimensions. Examples include the Intellipedia wiki of encyclopedic security-related information; the creation of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, National Intelligence Centers, Program Manager Information Sharing Environment, and Information Sharing Council; legal and policy frameworks set by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, information sharing Executive Order 13354 and Executive Order 13388, and the 2005 National Intelligence Strategy.


The United States intelligence budget (excluding the Military Intelligence Program) in fiscal year 2022 was appropriated as $65.7 billion, an increase of $3.4 billion from the $62.3 billion requested and up from $60.8 billion in fiscal year 2021. The total budget of the National Intelligence Program has been public since 2007, due to the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, which required them to disclose the "aggregate amount of funds appropriated by Congress” for the NIP within 30 days of the end of the fiscal year. The requested budget of the NIP has been public since 2011 due to a requirement enacted by Congress in Section 364 of the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010.[18][19]

Data visualization of U.S. intelligence black budget (2013)

About 70 percent of the intelligence budget went to contractors for the procurement of technology and services (including analysis), according to the May 2007 chart from the ODNI. Intelligence spending has increased by a third over ten years ago, in inflation-adjusted dollars, according to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.[citation needed]

In a statement on the release of new declassified figures, DNI Mike McConnell said[when?] there would be no additional disclosures of classified budget information beyond the overall spending figure because "such disclosures could harm national security". How the money is divided among the 16 intelligence agencies and what it is spent on is classified. It includes salaries for about 100,000 people, multi billion-dollar satellite programs, aircraft, weapons, electronic sensors, intelligence analysis, spies, computers, and software.

On August 29, 2013 The Washington Post published the summary of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence's multivolume FY 2013 Congressional Budget Justification, the U.S. Intelligence Community's top-secret "black budget".[20][21][22] The IC's FY 2013 budget details how the 16 spy agencies use the money and how it performs against the goals set by the president and Congress. Experts said that access to such details about U.S. spy programs is without precedent. Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists, which provides analyses of national security issues, stated that "It was a titanic struggle just to get the top-line budget number disclosed, and that has only been done consistently since 2007 ... but a real grasp of the structure and operations of the intelligence bureaucracy has been totally beyond public reach. This kind of material, even on a historical basis, has simply not been available."[23] Access to budget details will enable an informed public debate on intelligence spending for the first time, said the co-chair of the 9/11 Commission Lee H. Hamilton. He added that Americans should not be excluded from the budget process because the intelligence community has a profound impact on the life of ordinary Americans.[23]


Intelligence Community Oversight duties are distributed to both the executive and legislative branches. Primary executive oversight is performed by the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the Joint Intelligence Community Council, the Office of the Inspector General, and the Office of Management and Budget. Primary congressional oversight jurisdiction over the IC is assigned to two committees: the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The House Armed Services Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee draft bills to annually authorize the budgets of DoD intelligence activities, and both the House and Senate appropriations committees annually draft bills to appropriate the budgets of the IC. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs took a leading role in formulating the intelligence reform legislation in the 108th Congress.

See also



  1. ^ Agrawal, Nina. "There's more than the CIA and FBI: The 17 agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on September 2, 2017. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  2. ^ "Members of the IC". Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Archived from the original on November 17, 2018. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  3. ^ "Executive Order 12333". Archived from the original on June 12, 2007. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  4. ^ DeVine, Michael (June 27, 2018). "In Focus: U.S. Intelligence Community Elements: Establishment Provisions". Congressional Research Service (IF10527). Archived from the original on September 27, 2022. Retrieved September 27, 2022.
  5. ^ Dana Priest & William M Arkin (July 19, 2010). "A hidden world, growing beyond control". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on July 20, 2010.
  6. ^ Priest, Dana (2011). Top secret America : the rise of the new American security state. William M. Arkin (1st ed.). New York: Little, Brown and Co. p. 320. ISBN 978-0-316-18221-8. OCLC 707964997.
  7. ^ Warner, Michael; McDonald, Kenneth. "US Intelligence Community Reform Studies Since 1947" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on March 21, 2021. Retrieved December 11, 2021.
  8. ^ Rosenbach, Eric & Aki J. Peritz (June 12, 2009). "Confrontation or Collaboration? Congress and the Intelligence Community" (PDF). Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School. Archived (PDF) from the original on February 5, 2017. Retrieved December 2, 2022.
  9. ^ Executive Order 12333 Archived March 9, 2011, at the Wayback Machine text
  10. ^ Tikkanen, Amy; Munro, André; Duignan, Brian; Pringle, Robert W. (June 2, 2023). "Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)". Encyclopedia Britannica. Archived from the original on May 9, 2023. Retrieved June 7, 2023.
  11. ^ "Members of the IC". Archived from the original on March 1, 2016. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
  12. ^ "USSF Becomes 18th Member of Intel Community". Archived from the original on January 8, 2021. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  13. ^ "What is Intelligence?". Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Archived from the original on November 17, 2018. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  14. ^ "The National Counterintelligence and Security Center: About". Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Archived from the original on October 16, 2020. Retrieved November 23, 2020.
  15. ^ "U.S. National Intelligence: An Overview, 2013" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on November 22, 2020. Retrieved November 23, 2020.
  16. ^ "In today's intelligence hierarchy, who really runs the show? -". Archived from the original on August 29, 2021. Retrieved August 29, 2021.
  17. ^ "The Role of the Director of National Intelligence as 'Head' of the Intelligence Community - Foreign Policy Research Institute". Archived from the original on August 29, 2021. Retrieved August 29, 2021.
  18. ^ "IC Budget". Archived from the original on December 5, 2022. Retrieved December 5, 2022.
  19. ^ "H.R.2701 - Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010". Archived from the original on December 5, 2022. Retrieved December 5, 2022.
  20. ^ Matt DeLong (August 29, 2013). "Inside the 2013 U.S. intelligence 'black budget'". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on September 1, 2013. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  21. ^ Matthews, Dylan (August 29, 2013). "America's secret intelligence budget, in 11 (nay, 13) charts". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on August 30, 2013. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  22. ^ DeLong, Matt (August 29, 2013). "2013 U.S. intelligence budget: Additional resources". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on September 1, 2013. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  23. ^ a b Barton Gellman & Greg Miller (August 29, 2013). "U.S. spy network's successes, failures and objectives detailed in 'black budget' summary". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on September 1, 2013. Retrieved August 31, 2013.

Further reading

External links

This page was last edited on 8 October 2023, at 01:17
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