Support to National Policy

Other support to national policy includes: daily briefings to the President, his senior advisors, and his Cabinet members; ad hoc situation reports on late-breaking events; and long-term strategic analyses in the form of National Intelligence Estimates as well as other long-term analyses produced by the National Intelligence Council and by the various Intelligence Community agencies.

The Intelligence Community's support to national policy consists of:  Strategic Warning; Diplomacy, Treaty Monitoring, and Arms Control; Combating Proliferation; and Promoting Economic Security and Civil and Environmental Stability.


Strategic Warning

The NIC's Warning Committee continued to provide strategic warning and to monitor signs of near-term crises to support contingency planning and to alert policymakers to conditions that might lead to pressure for US involvement.

  • The Warning Committee produced an Intelligence Community Assessment Key Warning Concerns for 2003 as well as monthly updates to its Strategic Watchlist.

  • CIA was at the forefront in assessing the implications of leadership succession in Beijing and the 13th Party Congress.  CIA analysts also produced numerous assessments on China's strategic ambitions in Asia, developments in China's increasingly modern military forces, China's economic competitiveness, and perspectives on Taiwan.

  • CIA was assisted by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in assembling a multidisciplinary panel of world-class experts that assessed "lessons learned" from the SARS epidemic for early detection, response, and containment of future epidemics.

  • CIA conducted research on long-term trends and potential developments, such as prospects for increased anti-Americanism in Europe and possible ways to mitigate it.

  • CIA warned of the continuing potential for political instability in the Balkans that might frustrate US policy goals and completed major studies assessing the influence of Islamic organizations and extremists in the region.

  • NGA provided analysis of commercial imagery data on oil pipelines under construction and in operation in Russia and the Caucasus republics.  This information was used to track the progress of the oil pipeline projects and assess the security of the oil pipelines against terrorist and insurgent threats. 

  • Prior to the hostilities, DIA's Directorate for Analysis produced a series of papers for the Secretary of Defense and Joint Staff that assessed the likely impact of military operations in Iraq on US-Russian military cooperation in light of the experience in the Balkans.

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Diplomacy, Treaty Monitoring, and Arms Control

Through the Intelink program, significant gains were made in securely disseminating intelligence information from our Top Secret networks to the Secret level environment where the majority of the intelligence customers involved in diplomacy, treaty monitoring, and support to military field operations reside.  In addition, information portals tailored to individual site needs are aggressively being built so that mission essential information is presented directly to the user as it is received.

  • NGA utilized commercial imagery to monitor water-sharing agreement compliance between India and Pakistan.  The 1960 Indus Water Treaty established respective rights of India and Pakistan to the waters of the Indus Basin.  Under the treaty, each country controls three rivers that flow into the Indus Basin, and neither country can block the rivers controlled by the other.  The commercial imagery revealed that India has begun construction on a dam on a river controlled by Pakistan under the treaty.  This imagery will enable the US officials to share this information for compliance purposes with India and Pakistan.

  • DIA analysts formed the core of the Liberia Crisis Cell, which provided 24-hour analytical support to DoD, preparing numerous responses to wide-ranging requests for information from the US Commander on the ground in Liberia, the UN, participating peacekeeping nations, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD).  The Cell warned of the growing crisis in Liberia and offered possible solutions that were eventually adopted.  Key assessments detailed the need to remove the Liberian President and deploy peacekeeping forces to separate the warring factions.

  • The NIC produced assessments of Liberia in support of policy formulation for possible US military intervention and US diplomatic efforts to facilitate the departure of embattled President Charles Taylor. 

  • The NIC published several short-term assessments of fragile African peace processes that have US-backed UN peacekeeping missions or UN-monitored international interventions, including those in Congo (Kinshasa), Ethiopia-Eritrea, and Rwanda.

  • INR sponsored over 180 conferences and seminars involving non-government experts on topics of concern to policymakers and the Intelligence Community.  Outreach activities included briefings for 20 new US Ambassadors.

  • CIA surged in the lead-up to the signing of the Moscow Treaty to support the President and key NSC, State, and OSD officials.  Analysts provided in-depth analysis in support of bilateral meetings.  Analysts also monitored Russian nuclear force developments and facilitated greater understanding of Moscow's threat perceptions and security concerns.

  • CIA completed major studies on the political, military, and economic qualifications of candidate countries for North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) expansion and supported senior officials' participation at the Prague Summit, which culminated in the formal decision by NATO leaders to invite seven new members from Central and Eastern Europe.

  • CIA provided extensive coverage of China's views and policy on the latest North Korea nuclear crisis, diplomatic strategy vis-a-vis Taiwan, and compliance with World Trade Organization obligations.

  • CIA developed a new methodology for estimating the number of people smuggled across international boundaries, including US borders.  This estimate was used in State Department's annual report of trafficking in persons and in the President's recent speech at the UN General Assembly in New York.

  • CIA sponsored a roundtable of experts on agricultural biotechnology and US policy makers from USDA, Commerce, State, and US Agency for International Development (USAID) to debate issues dealing with the adoption of US biotech products worldwide.  This conference helped US policymakers understand the positions of key foreign actors and formulate possible responses.

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Combating Proliferation

  • CIA worked in concert with other countries to monitor proliferation activities, supported efforts to curtail illicit military sales to pariah states, and provided streams of reporting—including actionable intelligence—that identified a number of proliferation networks around the world.

  • CIA assessments supported administration efforts to work with Chinese officials to prevent transfers of dual-use materials to countries of concern with regard to WMD programs.

  • CIA produced end-user risk assessments for the interagency export control policy community.  In addition to reviewing individual dual-use export licenses and briefing interagency committees, analysts completed several in-depth studies of suspect entities and key technologies for consideration by export control officials.

  • CIA provided extensive support to the Export Control and Related Border Security Assistance (EXBS) program through research and analysis of key WMD transit points and participation in Department of State sponsored international conferences. 

  • CIA closely monitored Russia's policy on the proliferation and security of WMD.  Russia's cooperation with Iran on the Bushehr nuclear reactor was of particular concern given International Atomic Energy Agency findings regarding Iran's nuclear program.  Russia's security of WMD is of continued concern due to the danger of insider stealing or facilitating theft of WMD.

  • Information Operations Technology Center (IOTC) efforts to combat proliferation focused on the telecommunications and computer networks that support adversaries' facilities that produce, store, and disseminate WMD.

  • INR supported State Department efforts to prevent or interdict transfers of nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons related goods as well as missiles and advanced conventional weapons to countries of concern.

  • On two separate occasions, ONI provided intelligence that enabled Allied customs officials to stop and seize the cargo of ships carrying WMD-related materials from China to Iran, potentially hindering Iran's WMD program. 

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Promoting Economic Security and Civil and Environmental Stability

  • INR's Humanitarian Information Unit (HIU) completed its first full year of operation in FY 2003.  This unit was created to enhance US Government responsiveness to humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters through improved interagency information management.   Since its establishment, the unit has provided critical information to policymakers on a range of issues, including:

    • Food scarcity in Africa.

    • Aerial bombings on civilian targets in Sudan.

    • Reconstruction of the Ring Road in Afghanistan.

    • Food storage sites, location of mass graves, and population distribution in Iraq.

    • The HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa in support of the President's Global Fund Initiative.


  • In 2003 the HIU began working closely with elements at the Department of Defense and with the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq to implement an improved information management system providing standardized data collection, coordinated report dissemination, and deployment of collaboration tools.

  • CIA provided numerous assessments to help policymakers think about the impact of the SARS epidemic on China's economic performance, leadership politics, and social stability.  The analysts also ramped up work on China's trade relations, competitiveness, and role in the global economy.

  • CIA provided early warning to policymakers that Liberia's civil war had entered a new and more dangerous phase and that the prospect of a major humanitarian disaster—with repercussions in neighboring states—was rapidly growing.  Throughout the summer of 2003, analysts played an instrumental role in updating policymakers and the military about the security situation and the prospects for restoring order. 

  • CIA provided extensive analytic support to policymakers on political, economic, and security issues affecting US relations with Latin America, including:  tailored support for several senior-level visits to the region during FY 2003; support for US participation in bilateral and region-wide trade negotiations; coverage of several crises; and in-depth coverage of political and economic deterioration in the region.

  • CIA provided analytic support to President Bush's "Road Map" for Middle East peace.  US policymakers in Washington and Israel used CIA analysis to help monitor Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and assess its impact on Palestinians' livelihood.

  • CIA continued to produce reports and briefings on Moscow's use of energy as a foreign policy lever and the risks and opportunities for US firms considering investing in that sector.  Analysts helped prepare policymakers for the second bilateral energy summit.

  • CIA prepared analyses of developments in Russia's consumer and commercial development for key economic decisionmakers.  Analysts continued to monitor Russia's vulnerability to financial crises and to assess the impact of new legislation and market reforms.

  • The NIC completed several projects examining the challenges to liberal democratic reform in the Muslim world and assessed how trends there will present threats and opportunities for the United States in the next three to five years.

  • The NIC published several papers related to instability and the growth of Islamic radicalism in the former Soviet Union, particularly regarding trends in the Caucasus and Central Asia, and disseminated an analysis of the relationship between Russia and Iran.

  • A special NIC unclassified report, SARS: Down But Still a Threat, assessed the worldwide economic, social, and political impact of SARS and the potential risks if the disease were to recur.

March 2003: HIU product depicting Iraqi food storage sites
  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) requested assistance in the investigation of the catastrophic loss on 1 February 2003 of Space Shuttle Columbia.  NGA analysts conducted detailed analysis of launch camera imagery of the debris strike that occurred soon after launch.  NASA also requested assistance in analyzing some 140 videotapes (including amateur tapes) of the Columbia's break-up over Texas.  NASA was looking for expertise that would help differentiate burning debris from burning propellant and plasma (ionized gas).  Analysts at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) provided their expertise in Measurement and Signature Intelligence (MASINT) and crash investigations in a joint exploitation effort with the National Motion Imagery Operations Center.

  • NGA analysts produced 11 Image City Maps across the Korean Peninsula in support of potential military non-combatant evacuation operations throughout North and South Korea.  Declassified imagery and commercial imagery sources were used to produce these products for the military services and State Department officials responsible for evacuating US nationals from crisis areas.

  • NGA located and identified the Longtan Dam under construction in southwestern China.  Longtan Dam is one of the proposed series of 10 cascading dams along the Hongshui River in southwestern China and a potential important power source.  NGA analysts produced a model to project flood pool levels and estimated that the size of the reservoir created by the dam would be 150 miles long, confirming open source reporting that some 80,000 persons would be displaced as the dam's reservoir filled, resulting in significant social consequences for the area. 

  • NGA assisted USAID by providing commercial imagery and imagery assessment of the earthquake damage from the powerful earthquake that rocked Algeria in May 2003.  NGA provided USAID the spatial extent and scope of damage to populated areas affected by the earthquake and subsequent aftershocks.  USAID used this imagery and analysis to deploy relief teams for response and recovery efforts.  

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Posted: May 01, 2007 08:59 AM
Last Updated: Jan 03, 2012 12:56 PM