Looking Ahead

The threats we face are growing in complexity and they are in fact, converging. The convergence of these threats, combined with a resurgence in regional ethnic strife, provides a breeding ground for instability that can be exploited by our enemies.

We are more likely to achieve success against these threats if we partner with our strategic allies. Strategic partnerships are critical if we are to maintain our decisive intelligence advantage and stay ahead of the threats and dangers they pose. Internally, this new and evolving environment demands seamless interagency cooperation because our adversaries continually will seek to counter or minimize our strengths and exploit our weaknesses.

Our customers expect us to provide knowledge and insight on foreign leadership plans and intentions, warning of global crises or threats to our homeland, and they expect us to provide actionable intelligence around-the-clock while maintaining global coverage. While balancing our customers' needs for actionable intelligence, with the recent substantial increase in IC funding, we will continue to be responsible stewards of the funds provided by the Congress and the American people. This means we must be clear on our strategic imperatives—both near- and long-term—to provide a decisive information advantage to our customers,to safeguard our country's intelligence advantage, and to overcome the growing convergence of threats.

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Intelligence Imperatives

The DCI has established the following imperatives, or goals, for the Intelligence Community to build on our pledge to serve our country with resolve in time of war or uncertainty, and in ways that protect our dominance in worldwide intelligence collection and analysis. As we move forward to achieving these imperatives, the DCI is constructing a performance-planning framework to establish performance goals with measures. This framework will enable IC leaders to guide Community activities and their progress against IC objectives.

Win the War on Terrorism

The Intelligence Community's war on terrorism began prior to 11 September and will not end soon.  We have been warning of the threat posed by international terrorism for at least two decades, however, we must do better. Now that our country has been attacked, we are determined to serve the American people by doing whatever is necessary to avoid future attacks. In the months following the September tragedy, the pace of our activities has quickened and the scope has broadened to a truly global scale. Still, the day-to-day war we wage on terrorism, for the most part, is a silent one. Our unrelenting focus is on providing precision intelligence to successfully win the war onterrorism. Our intelligence will serve all types of customers—from the decisionmakers at the national level, to forward deployed US forces executing the war, to "first responders" in Homeland Security. We must strengthen our capabilities and resolve to achieve our objectives.

Warn of Impending Global Threats

Given the shifting global landscape and the emergence of a new array of threats to Americans, the Intelligence Community has greater responsibilities to inform our leaders and supply them with actionable intelligence. Our ability to provide insights into the intentions of state and non-state actors across the globe is a central role for Intelligence and is a key reason for our past success. To continue being successful, we must address intelligence gaps in non-traditional ways and offer alternative scenarios as we piece together the intelligence puzzle. Our intelligence capabilities cannot be ubiquitous, but we must have broad abilities to access the threats to our nation's safety.

Protect America

Foreign intelligence remains the first line of defense for Americans at home and abroad. In the past, intelligence served primarily one group of national policy and military customers to provide for the nation's security. Today, we face a greatly expanded group of customers with responsibility to provide for the nation's internal security, and we must quickly identify legal, policy, technical, and cultural impediments to working with that expanded customer set. Further, we must adapt IC processes to receive law enforcement information for the purpose of linking it with foreign intelligence. Thus we will be better postured to gain insights into terrorist plans and intentions to enable the government to prevent terrorist attacks.

Succeed Against Enduring Strategic Challenges

While we are focused on defeating terrorism and protecting our homeland, we must not lose sight of the enduring strategic challenges that we face. These enduring strategic challenges require that we focus our resources beyond the next crisis by investing our time, talent, and energy in the long term, in-depth activities and research we need to address these challenges. Recently, the DCI established several key programs that will build the capabilities required to make significant progress against these key challenges.

Protect Our Intelligence Capabilities

Protecting our intelligence capabilities will be increasingly difficult because our adversaries have access to many of the same technical advances and breakthroughs that we are attempting to leverage. Our challenge is to further our competitive advantage by protecting our sources and methods, reducing our vulnerability to denial and deception tactics, defending against insider threats, ensuring continuity of operations in the event of natural or man-made disaster, and by operating effectively in the event of a crisis. Our efforts to protect intelligence sources and methods cannot unduly inhibit the delivery of intelligence to the people who need it, when they need it.

Leverage Technology to Transform Intelligence

Recent advances in science and technology provide us with a unique opportunity to transform intelligence. New resources are being applied to develop our analytic, collection, and processing capabilities, and to improve cross-component collaboration through the Intelligence Community System for Information Sharing. We are increasing our investments in capabilities that will give US intelligence the edge it needs, and we must ensure that these technologies reach fruition.  Innovative programs such as In-Q-Tel provide CIA and the Intelligence Community with effective reach into the cutting edge creativity of America's private sector. We will continue to deploy novel commercial technologies to meet critical mission requirements. The successes of In-Q-Tel suggest a positive trend in this direction.

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Needed Capabilities

As we work to achieve the results expected of us by our customers, we need a commitment to develop the human and technological capabilities critical to meet Community imperatives. We must optimize our existing suite of capabilities, while making continuous improvements to our intelligence portfolio.

Our People

The intelligence business is a people business. We cannot forget that all the hardware, technology, and tools we employ are useless without the innovation, commitment, and creativity of our work force. We must emphasize recruitment and retention of the best and brightest from diverse cultural and educational backgrounds. We need to mentor our work force, train them to be prepared for the challenges that they will face in the future, and ensure that our seasoned professionals invest time in sharing their knowledge with our new recruits.

Multi-Intelligence Operations

While we have made great progress harnessing the collective capabilities of the Intelligence Community, we still have a way to go. We must continue our evolution and more effectively integrate all intelligence disciplines because the fusion of multiple intelligence sources is efficient, provides the most complete picture, increases the confidence that we have in our reporting, enhances our situational awareness, and provides more viable options for policymakers, diplomats, and warfighters.


We must train and reward our analysts to gain the depth necessary to provide customers a long-term perspective and implications of fast-moving events. We must encourage analysts to increase cooperation and communication with the private, commercial, and academic sectors.  These partnerships will offer us new insights, broader access to information, and greater understanding in many areas of intelligence.

Clandestine Collection

We face growing demands for information, and our collectors face growing defenses, including denial and deception. Because foreign denial and deception depends on increasingly available information about our collection systems, we need to put much greater emphasis on innovative techniques that are much less vulnerable to foreign countermeasures. Our ability to draw on a global collection network is critical to develop an effective worldwide warning capability.

Remote Sensing

A new class of remote sensing capabilities is needed to maintain global awareness and support the military's battle space awareness plan. We will also need to develop innovative sensing technologies to address hard targets.

Research & Development

We must research and develop promising areas to help develop smaller, smart sensors, and advanced computing. We must expand development of next-generation sensors and explore how we might apply these sensors to detect and characterize chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats.

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Our Leadership Challenge

The success of the Intelligence Community in accomplishing these objectives is contingent upon our ability to integrate our capabilities into a cohesive whole, focused with common purpose on the same goals. To succeed, senior Intelligence Community management must be responsible to ensure that our people have:

  • Leadership that enables them to take prudent risks to advance the mission.
  • Support they need to continuously improve their skills.
  • Environment that supports and rewards innovation.
  • Opportunity to develop an IC perspective and a shared set of values.

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Posted: May 01, 2007 08:19 AM
Last Updated: Jan 03, 2012 12:54 PM