A Better Government | Intelligence Reform
As the 9/11 Commission points out, “A ‘smart’ government would integrate all sources of information to see the enemy as a whole.” Sharing information, preventing duplication, and acting jointly makes sense. When agencies act jointly, the Commission report explains, “the problem and options for action are defined differently from the start. Individuals from different backgrounds come together in analyzing a case and planning how to manage it.” If we are to be successful in the struggle against terrorism, it is this type of creative and innovate thinking necessary to reform “a system designed generations ago for a world that no longer exists.”
In July 2004, the 9/11 Commission recommended the establishment of a National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) to serve as “a center for joint operation planning and joint intelligence, staffed by personnel from the various agencies” comprising the national security community. A month later, the President created the NCTC to “serve as the primary organization… for analyzing and integrating all intelligence possessed or acquired by the United States Government pertaining to terrorism and counterterrorism.” Congress supported this action with passage of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. The establishment of NCTC was a positive step forward, with “shared analysis and evaluation of threat information… in progress, [and] joint operational planning… beginning.” However, as of December 2005, the 9/11 Commission reported, “the NCTC does not yet have sufficient resources or personnel to fulfill its intelligence planning role.” The early support for this organization must be sustained in order for it to be truly successful in its counterterrorism efforts. Ambiguities that surround the NCTC must be resolved soon, either by Congress or the authority afforded to the Director of National Intelligence. Doing so would be a tremendous step forward in the implementation of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations and, more importantly, the security of our country.
9/11 Commission Recommendation:
We recommend the establishment of a National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), built on the foundation of the existing Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC). Breaking the older mold of national government organization, this NCTC should be a center for joint operational planning and joint intelligence, staffed by personnel from the various agencies. The head of the NCTC should have authority to evaluate the performance of the people assigned to the Center.
Follow-Up to Recommendation:
December, 2005 9/11 Public Discourse Project Report Card:
National Counterterrorism Center, grade: B
Shared analysis and evaluation of threat information is in progress; joint operational planning is beginning. But the NCTC does not yet have sufficient resources or personnel to fulfill its intelligence and planning role.