The United States Intelligence Community (IC) is a group of 17 separate United States government intelligence agencies, that work separately and together to conduct intelligence activities to support the foreign policy and national security 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 itself is headed by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), who reports to the President of the United States.
Among their varied responsibilities, the members of the Community collect and produce foreign and domestic intelligence, contribute to military planning, and perform espionage. The IC was established by Executive Order 12333, signed on December 4, 1981, by U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
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 includes 854,000 people holding top-secret clearances. 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.
The government funded agencies are:
In addition, there are several other agencies responsible for, National Security. Not listed above are the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service, Office of the Director of National Intelligence (2001), the DEA, Dept of the Treasury office of Intelligence and Analysis & Army Intelligence.
I am certain that all of these agencies are doing wonderful work, but does it really take 23 separate agencies to perform national security and intelligence gathering? Are any of these agencies territorial? Do they freely share all of their information with other agencies? I’ll leave you to ponder the answers.
What I do know is that these agencies were founded at different times and for different reasons and are funded via different budget requests. I wonder if our security could be performed more efficiently and at a much lower overall cost? If we hade zero security today and were building an organization from scratch would it look like what we have today?