In the age of asymmetric warfare, intelligence is tantamount to national defense. Our terrorist adversaries are too dispersed to destroy and too fanatical to deter. Our best hope of security is accurate, timely, accessible information and actionable analysis. We need to organize the Intelligence Community (IC) by mission—not collection mechanism—to take full advantage of our technical proficiency and analytic expertise.
Today, the IC is divided into an alphabet soup of organizations, with key agencies focusing on a single collection discipline, or “-INT.” The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) specializes in human intelligence (HUMINT), the National Security Agency (NSA) specializes in signals intelligence (SIGINT), the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) specializes in imagery intelligence (IMINT), etc. This focus on function has enabled each agency to develop and refine the technologies and best practices associated with its particular collection capability, but the challenge of asymmetric warfare calls for a different organizational design. Structuring the IC by mission instead of collection mechanism would improve the depth and transparency of our intelligence analysis. The reorganization would act as a force multiplier for our existing analytic resources.