National Intelligence Office Not Doing Much
Several critics are shocked that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, a bureaucracy added on top of the existing intelligence bureaucracies, is making intelligence more bureaucratic rather than fixing the problems with bureaucracy.
A year after John Negroponte became the first director of national intelligence, key lawmakers worry that the spy agency they created is not fulfilling its vital mission. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is “not adding any value” by enlarging the bureaucracy, said Rep. Pete Hoekstra, a Michigan Republican who leads the House Intelligence Committee. “They’re lengthening the time to make things happen. … We want them to be lean and mean.” The agency does some tasks well, Hoekstra said in an interview Tuesday, but is only slowly improving the quality of intelligence. Negroponte was sworn into office last April 21.
Congress created the agency in December 2004 to streamline and centralize control over the nation’s intelligence community. Last month, a bipartisan majority of Hoekstra’s committee asked Congress to freeze part of the agency’s budget until it answers lawmakers’ concerns, including worries that new employees are being hired too quickly. Once a bureaucracy takes root, Hoekstra said, “It’s awfully hard to get rid of.”
Gen. Michael Hayden, Negroponte’s deputy, said the agency is within the limit set by Congress of 500 new positions. About 400 intelligence jobs from other agencies also have moved under Negroponte’s control, Hayden said, along with about 400 staffers at new centers focused on issues such as nuclear proliferation and terrorism. The agency’s staff must have enough power to know what’s happening in the intelligence community, Hayden said. “I’m confident we can do that (without) another layer of bureaucracy.”
But, general, you are by definition “another layer of bureaucracy.”
This was not only ridiculously predictable but widely predicted. Indeed, the proponents of this constantly reminded us that this was the biggest shakeup in the national security apparatus since the National Security Act of 1947. That act, among other things, tried to streamline the military by adding a new bureaucracy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, on top of the existing Departments of War and Navy and, for good measure, split the War Department into separate Departments of Army and Air Force. Shockingly, its goal was not realized.