Working Group on Intelligence Reform

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Group.png Working Group on Intelligence ReformRdf-icon.png
Type front
Interests US/intelligence agencies

The Working Group is a project of the National Strategy Information Center's Consortium for the Study of Intelligence (CSI). It is the only ongoing, unclassified forum in which leading government and nongovernment intelligence experts regularly exchange ideas about the future of US intelligence and discuss proposals for its reform. Members of the Working Group include current and former senior intelligence officials, current and former senior officials in the Departments of State and Defense, Democratic and Republican staff members of the congressional oversight committees, and academic specialists.

The Working Group was established in 1992, well before the wave of criticism of the performance of US intelligence that led to the creation of the Commission on the Roles and Capabilities of the US Intelligence Community. Dissatisfied with the substance and limited character of the intelligence reform debate as it emerged in the early 1990s, CSI established the Working Group to stimulate and expand that debate.[1]

Paul Wolfowitz

Jack Davis was present at a meeting sponsored by the Working Group on Intelligence Reform which Paul Wolfowitz attended on 7 February 1994.[2]

The Future of U.S. Intelligence

In 1996, the National Strategy Information Center published The Future of U.S. Intelligence, a report prepared for the Working Group on Intelligence Reform by Abram Shulsky and Gary Schmitt.

the report argued that the intelligence community should adopt a new methodology aimed at "obtaining information others try to keep secret and penetrating below the 'surface' impression created by publicly available information to determine whether an adversary is deceiving us or denying us key information". The document recommended the establishment of "competing analytic centers" with "different points of view" that could "provide policymakers better protection against new 'Pearl Harbors', ie, against being surprised". Rather than a narrow focus on information collection, "intelligence analysis must ... make it more relevant to policymakers by emphasizing the forces that shape a given situation", the authors contend.
The study's overall conclusion was that the "future of intelligence" depended on building a new model that would offer "greater flexibility in the collection process" and produce the "big picture" of security threats. Ultimately, Shulsky and Schmitt concluded, the purpose of analysis is to help the policymaker shape the future, not predict it. Intelligence analysis should go beyond simply identifying security threats and assessing the military capabilities of a present or future enemy or a competitor nation; it should be "opportunity analysis" that anticipates chances to advance US interests.[3]

People

Co-Chairs

Members

President, Armed Forces Communication and Electronic Association [4]



References

  1. Abram Shulsky and Gary Schmitt, The Future of U.S. Intelligence: Report Prepared for the Working Group on Intelligence Reform (Washington: Consortium for the Study of Intelligence of the National Security Information Center, 1996), p3.
  2. The Challenge of Managing Uncertainty: Paul Wolfowitz on Intelligence Policy-Relations, by Jack Davis, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 39, No. 5, 1996.
  3. The neo-con philosophy of Intelligence, by Tom Barry, Asia Times,19 February 2004.
  4. Abram Shulsky and Gary Schmitt, The Future of U.S. Intelligence: Report Prepared for the Working Group on Intelligence Reform (Washington: Consortium for the Study of Intelligence of the National Security Information Center, 1996), pp90-91.