The Guiding of Intelligence Collection
CIA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM
RELEASE AS SANITIZED
18 SEPT 95
XXXXX XXXX contemplates the tortured progress of a complex organism in getting its food from hand to mouth.
GUIDING OF INTELLIGENCE COLLECTION
William P. Bundy
In tackling the subject labeled "Procurement" in the program for this conference, it seems most appropriate to discuss, for an audience predominantly of researchers or intelligence producers, not the whole range of collection activities, but simply the link between the people who use raw intelligence on the one hand and collectors of raw intelligence (or should I say "procurers?") on the other. To make even this restricted subject manageable, I have confined my illustration almost entirely to the procurement of positive intelligence on the Sino-Soviet Bloc, excluding other geographic areas and excluding also the effort in support of intelligence collection operations themselves.
The essential problem is of course simply one of communication between human beings. No one who has ever done research on his own will have the slightest doubt that the ideal unit is one-a single person doing his own collecting and producing with no intermediaries whatever. Or one might grudgingly accept as a model Mark Hopkins' picture of the true university-the collector on one end of a log and the producer on the other.
If these be only dreams, I do still recall one actual large organization that seemed to me to approach the ideal. During the last war I was at a place called Bletchley in England. There, in three low brick wings of the same building, side by side,-called, poetically enough, "huts" - were housed respectively a final producer apparatus, an intermediate processing apparatus, and a collection control apparatus. They were within easy walking distance, and the people in them knew each other by their first names and had been in their jobs long enough to have quite a knowledge of each other's problems. The result was a tremendously efficient collection operation, which balanced intelligence priorities and needs fully against the need to maintain assets for stand-by purposes, and all with what was-even by British standards-a minimum of red tape. As I recall, the weekly so-called control meeting used to take about an hour to dispose of all its business, including discussion and action on new ideas. I had never seen anything like it.
And I don't really expect to again. For that guidance system had two great advantages unlikely ever again to exist in combination in a large-scale effort. First, a relatively limited focus, almost wholly military, within which the basic substantive priorities were largely self-explanatory and seldom controversial. And second, a single collection system, and that of such a nature that its capabilities, though flexible in degree, were limited and readily tested for possible expansion. You knew pretty well what could be done, and if you didn't know you could find out fairly quickly. In other words, both the intermediate processor and the collector knew what the producer wanted, and both the producer and the intermediate processor knew what the collector could do. Where these conditions exist, and where you have continuity of first-class people, it would take a most imaginative management consultant to contrive a system that could gum the works.
There are in intelligence today a very few areas thus happily self-contained. Map procurement, I think, is one. But by and large we are now in a situation where the demands are manifold, the priorities difficult to keep clear, and the collection capabilities variable, hard to appraise and extremely limited relative to the demands. In these circumstances guidance becomes one of our major problems, one testing the competence, experience and knowledge of our people, and testing also our capacity to devise administrative methods than can assist the infirm and the temporary while not blocking the operations of the sophisticated and imaginative professional.
The Hydra-Headed U.S. Consumer and Collector
The complexity of the problem of guidance is indicated by the variety of consumers and of collection mechanisms in the U.S. intelligence community. (I am using the term "consumer" in the broadest sense, in order to avoid shades of distinction among the various stages of processing or intelligence production and the various policy-making levels of consumption. From the collector's standpoint the rest of us are, in truth, all "consumers.") On the consumer side the principal units are
4. Air Force
5. Joint Staff
7. CIA ORR-for Bloc economic and worldwide geographic matters
8. CIA OSI-for basic scientific matters
9. CIA OCI-for current intelligence at the national level, including indications, and for research in support of current intelligence
10. CIA ONE-for national intelligence estimates (usually via one of the other consumers)
On the collection side, the list is even more extensive. The collection activities can usefully be broken down into two categories: first, what I shall call "self-contained" systems, such as the Foreign Service (including foreign aid and information people) and the system of military attaches, which work primarily for their own parent organizations, and second, a larger number of "common concern" systems, service organizations which work primarily for others. Of these latter, some use technical methods of a classified nature, for example the Atomic Energy Detection System and ELINT. Others, who make use of unclassified technical methods or simply "people and paper," include the following:
OO/Contact (for domestic collection) OO/FBID (for foreign broadcasts) OO/FDD (for material that comes by subscription) Publication Procurement
OCR Liaison & Collection (representing government officials not directly connected with intelligence) Clandestine Services
In addition some "common concern" services are not complete organizations, but make use of the facilities of one or more of the others:
Defectors and returned German scientists East-West Exchanges
Trade Fairs International
It would be pleasant to report the hitherto undisclosed existence of an IBM 704, or Hollerith Hurricane, that handled all requirements and steered them effortlessly to the right collectors. Alas, this is not the case! There is no central mechanism that attempts to do a thorough policing and sorting job on the requirements any one producer may choose to levy on collection. Basic to our entire system, in fact, is the principle that the individual producing agency-responsible for its aspect of total intelligence production-may levy upon any one, or upon all, of the collection facilities to meet its needs.
Whether this right is, in a given case, any more effective than Owen Glendower's ability to "call spirits from the vastly deep" is, of course, another matter. But at least the requirement can be levied, and unless patently outrageous it will reach the designated collectors. For almost all requirements levied by one agency on the collection facilities of another, this will be via the good offices of our CIA Office of Central Reference, which while not policing does fulfill an important function in registering, numbering, and transmitting requirements for most of the non-technical forms of collection.
In this, as in many other respects, it is useful-and historically important-to keep in mind the distinction between those collection systems that are organic parts of operating and intelligence producing departments-the "self-contained" systems-and those that exist for the benefit entirely of others. Foreign Service reporting and the attaché operations of the military services historically antedate the existence of any overall intelligence framework. An ambassador today hardly thinks of his reporting work as being the fulfillment of a "requirement," and indeed in the formal sense it seldom is, for our senior department is understandably reluctant to tell its top people abroad what they should look for, at least in the political sphere, by the historic overt methods of diplomacy. As for the attaché system, the intimate ties between the attaché and his base are such that, armed as he may be with an apparatus of guides and requirements, most of his reporting is done, in practice, in accordance with a "felt necessity" derived from daily cable exchanges.
Not so with the other collection systems-overt, clandestine, and increasingly the various technical systems-operated as a matter of "common concern."1 These have no direct base to report to (even those sharing CIA parenthood with producing offices must and do serve other masters with at least equal zest), and they must hence be governed by an unruly flow of requirements from their many consumers, and must make shift with this as best they can.
To help reduce this state of potential anarchy to relative order, the U.S. community has evolved a commonly agreed framework for the overall intelligence effort at all stages-a set of Priority National Intelligence Objectives. These PNIO's have developed from a slow start. Originated in September 1950, largely on the initiative of the military services, they consisted at first of a short statement of about eight categories of key importance. Along about 1953, this statement seemed inadequate to cover the breadth of factors involved in the cold war, and it was decided that the Board of National Estimates, from its Olympian vantage point, should coordinate an effort to set up a longer list with more clearly defined categories. Substantively, the aim was to include political and economic objectives in perspective with military-related ones, and to separate the really crucial military-related objectives from those of more routine nature.
Since that time, the Estimates Board has continued with the assignment, revising the list annually in a far-from-perfunctory exercise culminating in review at the top intelligence level and circulation for information to top policymakers as well. The document now consists of three categories of priorities, with a total listing of about 50 items. The PNIO's set priorities for all intelligence activity, production as well as collection. Their greatest weight, however, is almost certainly in the collection field, where they serve as a basis for adjusting major priority questions, especially in the guidance and direction of the "common concern" collection systems.
But there are also many things the PNIO's do not do, things that no document of the sort can well do. One is to forecast what may turn out to be crisis areas at any given time. If a Communist revolt breaks out in Ruritania, common sense dictates a top-priority effort which in practice would be undertaken irrespective of Ruritania's normal status as a third priority. The PNIO's cannot select the Ruritanias of the year to come-or at least they haven't reached that point yet, in spite of their being drafted in the Estimates shop.
More generally, the PNIO's are only statements of objectives. In themselves, they are only a most general guide and framework within which individual levies or major collection projects can be judged. Many stages of translation are required before they can become anything like true guidance, in any specific sense, for collection effort. One of those stages, for certain areas of intelligence, is provided within the PNIO framework itself, by a series of Annexes dealing with the priority economic, scientific-technical, atomic energy, guided missile, and international communism objectives, and in addition, in a crucial field which Mr. Patton will describe, one comprising the General Indicators List.
These subordinate annexes, drawn up by the several subcommittees of USIB charged with the respective subjects, vary greatly in bite and effect. Those on atomic energy and guided missiles get pretty well down to cases, and I have no doubt have a marked effect on the allocation of effort. The scientific and technical one reads largely in generalities, but does usefully highlight some of the important technical breakthrough issues. There is similar generality in the economic one, though it too has useful specifics on the Soviet penetration problem. Clearly any document of this sort runs a major risk of boring the collector with what seems to him largely boilerplate, and thus getting no effective impact.
So much for attempts to state objectives. When the effort started, I find from the historical files, many powerful voices were raised prophesying nothing but a waste of time. I think it has not turned out so: certainly the blood on our Estimates conference tables every year looks real, so somebody must be getting hurt; and that is a good sign. Nonetheless, there are clear limits to what can be done along these lines.
Generic Practical Problems
There are certain problems of a day-to-day nature in the consumer-collection relationship common to most forms of collection which it will be worth while to look at one by one. They seem to be associated mainly with five steps in the process of levying requirements
1. Defining the requirement, or locating intelligence gaps.
2. Stating the requirement for the collector.
3. Selecting the appropriate collection system.
4. Servicing the return, including supplemental requirements.
5. Making specific evaluations and appraising the collector's reporting.
I should say, by the way, that I shall be talking solely about consumer-originated requirements, leaving out the handling of requirements originated by collectors themselves for the purpose of testing or developing a source, or to take advantage of spot opportunities. This latter type of self-levy is common and often very important today-particularly, for example, when our overt collectors learn of projected travel behind the Curtain by knowledgeable legal travelers - but it raises no real machinery problem.
Defining tke requirement. In the field of modern history writing, and I am sure other areas of scholarship as well, it is a commonplace that the great bulk of writers choose a subject because the available materials are ample, rather than ask what the key questions are and then seek out and work on materials however slender. This is a natural human tendency, and in scholarship the immediate cost may be no worse than massive cases of publisher's indigestion. In intelligence, however, the tendency can be fatal, with the massive indigestion falling to the policy-making reader, while the poor collector goes about his business with no help from the producer in the middle.
Making the producer stress his gaps rather than his satisfactions is of course largely a problem in education of the individual, and toward this education the various priority lists certainly make some contribution. Yet something more intensive and specific is needed. In essence, the intelligence analyst must be taught not to begrudge time spent in pointing out gaps in information (and how they might be met) as an essential part of his job-and one to be done as early as possible. It seems to me that the difficulty in educating the analyst varies directly as the amount of material available to him. Our scientific analysts, having lived for years on a very thin diet indeed, seem to become collection-minded very easily. So too with our economic analysts in earlier years. But our political analysts, and lately, with the flood of published materials, our economic ones as well, need fairly constant tending and reminding of this aspect of their jobs.
We have a number of devices on this score that may be worth mentioning. Our current intelligence office has long had its men do a periodic four-month review of priority requirements (called Periodic Requirements List, or PRL) which for economic matters draws heavily on the Bloc economic analysts in ORR and which is also now reviewed in draft by State. In our estimative process, we have had for some years a system of postmortems, in which the estimate writers state in broadbrush terms where they thought the available information was inadequate to support good answers to key questions-or, more realistically, as good answers as they thought might be obtainable by more or different effort. These are then taken by each agency and, we hope, made the basis of intensified collection.
Recently our Bloc economic analysts have instituted a promising procedure under which each division is responsible for a periodic statement of its gaps in intelligence. These must be stated not merely in general terms, but in terms of possible avenues of approach to solution-target lists and so on. And most broadly of all, our whole National Intelligence Survey operation-with a formal research framework, bibliographies, etc.-serves to highlight excellently gap areas in our worldwide knowledge. Significant as these devices are, however, we are surely a long way from erring on the side of overemphasizing the problem of gap-detention.
Informing the collector. Once you have your gaps spotted, you must make perfectly sure that they cannot be filled by some available materials. The analyst who reaches for the requirement sheet before he has picked all the brains within reach and made a truly conscientious search of the open literature and available reporting (using Mr. Borel's massive tools as they should be used)-such an analyst is indeed a deplorable species. But unfortunately, I am told, not non-existent or even perhaps on the decline. Granted that the need has been found real, however, it must then be stated precisely and intelligibly to the collector, and must ask him for something within his potential capacity to provide. Thus this step may in practice often follow the next one, the selection of a collection method.
In the drafting of requirements we have increasingly stressed the inclusion of as much background as possible to make what is wanted absolutely clear to the field collector. But the ultimate questions must, at all costs, be firm and specific. A requirement that asks the production capacity of a Soviet plant, without more, is of no use whatever to the collector. Rather the requirement should seek feasible particular answers that bear on this desired conclusion. Moreover, great things can sometimes be accomplished if the requirement can be pitched so as to elicit useful responses by an untrained as well as a trained observer. You may not have a returnee scientist, but only a layman, so it behooves the analyst to think in terms of a layman's capacity to remember floor spaces, height of stacks, size of loading facilities, and so on. And even if you have (and can personally brief) an expert collector, you must still stress your precise gaps and go over ways to meet them.
Choosing the collector. If our analyst is fortunate enough to have one of the self-contained collection systems at his disposal, we need shed no tears for him. If he is in State, he may not be able to induce his department or the Kabul Embassy to share his interest in a full count of the goats in Afghanistan, but his only problem will be persuasion. A far more serious case is that of the Bloc economic analyst who, in pursuit of his top-priority study of rocket-fuel inputs, finds that he lacks any real dope about the most prominent known Soviet producing facility. To what collection agency shall he turn?
This, frankly, is a major problem with us. I am told that something over 50% of the requirements that come through our inter-agency machinery now arrive "cold" - that is, without prior warning to the collectors or discussion of what they can or cannot be expected to accomplish. Such a requirement may often name multiple possible collectors, and each of these may conscientiously accept the requirement, try to find out more about it, and then make an effort to fill it. It would almost be better if they did not - and in practice we do find blanket requirements increasingly queried. A consumer should care enough about his need to do a lot of follow-up on it, and only if such follow-up produces no indication of the best collection method is he entitled to call broadcast upon many collectors.
This problem, like so many others, gets back in the end to the individual analyst's consciousness of collection problems and capacities, assisted and advised by requirements staffs to whose importance I shall return. That analysts are not sufficiently collection-conscious is due to physical separation, security precautions often largely legitimate, and not least to personnel turnover. Perhaps a shade too to the academic tradition of self-help and solo effort. In any case, the fact remains that this particular link of collector selection is probably the weakest one in our process at present. It is of course a far from unique organizational problem. Perhaps its parallel could be found in the relationship between Production and Sales in any manufacturing business. But it certainly is one on which we can profit at this conference by a few shared experiences.
Servicing the return. Moving to the next stage, let us suppose that the requirement, in usable form, reaches a collector in the field (whether in an Embassy, in a clandestine station, or within the semi-overt collection complex in the United States) and that the collector is then able to do something about it and assemble some information. At this point, there arises the problem of servicing the return so that it can be most useful. This problem is not serious if there is no great time pressure and if the source will be readily available for re-interrogation, further visits to the target, or more search of his files. In questioning returned German scientists we have been able to work through several stages of refinement, so as to be fairly sure of having tapped the collection capability to the maximum.
In other cases, however, we have often had disastrous experiences of misunderstanding and incomplete collection discovered when the source was no longer available. In seeking to avoid such failures we have found it useful, at major stations, to have a reports officer right on hand ready to put the take into at least semi-finished form, set the product agai-zst the requirement, and direct immediate follow-up to catch the gaps. I suggest that this device may have more uses than we have yet turned it to, perhaps including an area of concern to all of us, the handling of legal travelers from the Bloc, including Communist China.
Evaluating and appraising. From what might be called specific "intermediate" or "field" evaluation it is only a short step to the final major problem in the normal process, that of final evaluation and appraisal, a subject to which I shall return at the conclusion of this paper.
The need for specific evaluation may sometimes be voiced in an urgent plea from the collector who has developed a new source and wants to know whether it is worth further cultivation. That type of evaluation raises not too much difficulty with us. Provided he is not tackled too often, the consumer does respond adequately. But in the more routine case of information collected in response to general requirements, our collectors complain bitterly about the lack of steady evaluation, and I suspect it is one of the parts of our process that needs a lot of attention and perhaps a device or two.
In a community as far-flung as ours it is perhaps too much to strive for any uniform system or form of evaluation, and this we have never attempted. Moreover, there will always be the problem of reluctance to criticize, or appear to criticize, a collection service under separate command. Yet this is just the crying need, and felt by none more strongly than the collector himself.
Within what I have called the self-contained systems the evaluation job appears, on my brief survey, to be extremely well done. State and the military services appraise the reporting performance of their overseas posts quite rigorously. State, for example, does it by dispatches on a spot basis, by periodic evaluation of its people from this standpoint, and by an annual critique of each overseas post's intelligence performance. And on all of these they may and do consult with other major consumers of the take. The CIA collection services, on the other hand, both overt and clandestine, find their consumers, CIA producing offices as well as others, limited in their evaluation efforts; and as a result the collectors are never too sure of just where they stand with respect to adequacy in their job.
In all of these five day-to-day problems, much depends on the personal competence and savvy of our requirements and liaison people. In our system, we maintain requirements staffs at both ends of the line, at least in the CIA production and collection services. In State and the military services they stand, I believe, more in the middle, attached organizationally neither to the producing offices nor to the offices charged with giving instructions to the collectors. What is clear, in either set-up, is that they must have the broadest possible knowledge of the capabilities of various collection units or of their own particular one, and must be able to interpret the collector to the consumer and vice-versa.
At the same time, I venture that the really good requirements officer should have a king-sized lazy streak in him, leading him to avoid interposing himself where he is not needed and to permit, indeed urge or compel, the analyst to get together directly with the collection agency, as far down the line as possible, so that he can make clear what his need really is and tailor it to the capacities of the collector.
So far as organization goes, I have sought in vain, in talking to all I could get my hands on, for any generalized formula. I do know XXXX XXXXX XXXXX has a practice that our clandestine services have always resisted, namely having consumer representatives detailed directly to the collection shop and actually in on the planning of operations. This practice prevails to some extent in our military services' covert activities in support of field commands and similar missions within the sphere of what we call "agreed activities," but it is not used in the main CIA clandestine collection service. The advantages and disadvantages of the two systems may deserve some discussion at this conference.
Problems of Clandestine Collection
All the problems I have just discussed are common in some degree to all forms of collection. But there is a very great difference between the guidance problems of the overt and semi-overt systems and those of clandestine collection. Here. I should say, is the one plus ultra of guidance and requirement problems, where all the types of problems, from basic allocation of effort to the attempt to meet specific requirements in relation to available resources, are at their maximum. This arises from the simple fact that clandestine assets cannot be laid on the table for inspection.
In the U.S. community our most important coordinating device is an Interagency Clandestine Collection Priorities Committee (IPC), on which all the major consumer agencies are represented. This committee, founded in 1950, has as its principal function the preparation of continuing guide lists of key specific targets in the USSR, Communist China, and the Satellites. (IPC's responsibilities are worldwide and may on occasion lead to work on other areas, such as the UAR, especially where a Soviet element is present.) These lists are based on, and under present practice stated in terms of, the basic First, Second, and Third Priority Objectives set forth in the PNIO's.
The IPC lists have evolved a great deal over the years. They were originally massive shopping lists, in which pistols were doled out more or less indiscriminately to the mole, the rat, and the badger on a sort of prima facie showing of relevance to Soviet striking power or some other key aspect of Soviet power and intentions. Particularly within the past two years, however, they have become a far more meaningful selection which we believe really does take in virtually all of the key physical targets of which we are aware. Moreover, the frighteningly encyclopedic character of the lists has recently been reduced by the production of special lists of installations of absolute top priority, and admission to these lists is very carefully screened indeed. The result is that today for the first time our clandestine collectors have a fairly reliable frame of reference against which to judge the incoming spot requirement of consumers. Moreover, the lists have become of increasingly greater usefulness in a function they have always filled to some extent, that of providing a framework for long-range planning in the development of clandestine assets.
Yet there obviously remain major defects and problems. Although the IPC lists are pitched in terms of clandestine collection, each important case has to be shaken out to be sure there are not other forms of collection that can better take on all or a part of the job. We have made great progress in some fields in deciding what should be gone after by the clandestine route, but there have still been ghastly fiascos where great clandestine effort was applied to obtain results that were available all the time through careful analysis of the open literature, and conversely I am sure there are many cases where clandestine effort is not being pushed to the maximum in the belief that other sources are of some use, when in fact they are not. In this, as in so many matters in this field, the security fears of the collector (not by any means only the clandestine collector) play a large part.
Naturally, the consumer's dream is a situation where he could go to the collectors, get a full layout of their assets, and go back and frame his requirements accordingly. This can be done to some extent in areas such as East Germany, where the clandestine assets are considerable and of a general character that can be presented without much security problem. But in the key areas of the USSR itself and Communist China, assets are so relatively few that they cannot be usefully described without tending to pinpoint them in a way that does clearly present major hazards.
The result is that in this area, above all, there is a premium on use of the competent middleman, or Requirements Officer, who can master the possibilities of an asset and then, by some obscure process of osmosis and double-talk, get the consumer to use his imagination and frame requirements that will elicit useful responses. The premium on well-framed questions is tremendous, sources are not easily accessible for a second round, and often a great deal of collateral research is needed to think of things that the particular type of source is really in a position to observe and report. Thus the need for consumer and collector to be close together is nowhere more acute, and yet nowhere is it made more difficult by the problems of security, physical distance, and the number of go betweens involved.
Apart from their intrinsic difficulty, these problems suggest a larger question in the theory of clandestine collection whether in fact it makes the best sense to have a system of consumer-originated spot requirements for clandestine collection. As a practical matter, virtually no spot requirement can be met without a great deal of follow-up contact as direct as possible between the analyst and at least the headquarters of clandestine collection. The tail does wag the dog, more than in any other form of collection, and it is a question whether requirements work should not be done almost wholly by laying out the general nature of the asset and then canvassing consumers to see what needs that asset can be brought to serve. This of course should not mean that clandestine planning and major direction would not continue to be done within as strong an overall framework of priorities as possible, but only that spot requirements would not be levied except after more general statements supplemented by all the personal contact and consultation possible. This relates to the organizational question I mentioned earlier, whether the consumer might not have his people right in the requirements shop of the clandestine collector.
Last, and perhaps most important, I come to the problem of overall appraisal of the collection system and top-level work to set in motion major new developments and changes. Of all human activities, I suppose intelligence may be about the least susceptible to accounting methods or to attempts, at any given moment, to figure out just how well or badly you may be doing relative to the possible. Any businessman would despair if he tried to get the equivalent of a department by department profit-and-loss statement such as General Motors gets from Cadillac, Buick, and so on; and he would succumb to total frustration if he set out to take a measure of how the whole vast holding company was really doing.
Yet though we may be rightly skeptical of quantitative or even qualitative appraisals on an overall scale (I have earlier remarked the importance of appraisal in a more specific context), we have become increasingly conscious over the past five years of the need to draw back from the operating picture and take stock to see if we are not leaving undone really big things that we ought to be doing. For this purpose the ordinary machinery of government has severe limitations. For two years I had the dubious experience of chairing a working group to inform our National Security Council, on a most discreet basis, how intelligence was doing. The report has become better over the years, but the amount of uncandour, ellipsis, and just plain backside protection is still formidable. You simply can't get people to confess their sins in front of others.
Within the structure of government the one device we have found useful is the creation of a gadfly post at a high level. Given a self-starting, inquiring, and energetic individual with power to open all doors, this can be quite profitable. For the large tasks of appraisal, however, we have found it most useful, in many cases probably indispensable, to bring in groups of more or less expert outsiders to advise us. They are a nuisance while in the inquiry stage, but they bring together people from all corners of the community, put their work into greater focus than it had, and on many occasions come up with extremely important recommendations.
Lastly, we have embarked during the past year on a significant experiment in seeking to deal with our most serious collection gaps. This is the creation, last March, of a Critical Collection Priorities Committee, chaired by CIA's Deputy Director for Intelligence and with high-level representation from all the main agencies. This committee, chartered to look into any aspect of collection on key priority objectives and to recommend action, has taken as its first task the field of guided missiles. Aided by the fact that the overall requirements in this field had been built up with exceptional care and thoroughness by our guided missile committee, the CCPC has achieved as a first step what may be the first single-document inventory of all assets being employed on the guided missile problem. Its work has great promise-which I can say the more easily as I have no connection with it-and it may well be the forerunner to future exercises in really comprehensive collection planning, though I doubt if the approach fits any but the most cleanly focused substantive problems.
Let me conclude with a word on the future of collection against the Sino-Soviet Bloc. I suspect that in terms of method the future will see an increasing emphasis on the technical collection methods, and that as to targets we should be focusing more and more on Soviet scientific plans and progress. From my viewpoint as an estimator it appears that our information on the Soviet Bloc economic picture, while of course still far below what we would like it to be, has sorted itself out tremendously in the last few years. On the political side we must go on trying, but are not likely to succeed beyond modest limits in getting advance knowledge of inner political developments or changes in foreign policy and plans. And as to military hardware, we are not in too bad shape on the conventional weapons and forces.
It is in advanced weapons and scientific progress that we find at once our most critical area and the one where our present status is least good. Though our hopes he in the expansion of technical collection systems, it is also true that in this area we have a much greater number of opportunities for getting at the fringes, and sometimes more, through contacts with Soviet scientists, the expanded Soviet scientific literature, and a host of other sources that can be tapped through the more orthodox overt and clandestine methods. Yet the use of these methods, in turn, will require a degree of education and training well beyond past needs. It is one thing to train an agent to count the flatcars going through BrestLitovsk; quite another to train and give the right questions to an agent in a low-level position in a scientific establishment. From a guidance standpoint, this seems to me to present the greatest challenge to our ingenuity, industry, and machinery. The need is greatest, perhaps the response will be also.
1 This term has a precise statutory meaning in our National Security Act of 1947, from which many functional charters derive. It is used here more broadly, to cover all collection work not done predominantly for the account of the collecting agency itself.