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Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000617581TITLE: The Intelligence Challenge in the 1980sAUTHOR: Richard LehmanVOLUME: 24 ISSUE: Winter YEAR: 1980Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000617581 pproved for Release: 2014/07/29 000617581INTELLIGENCEA collection of articles on the historical, operational, doctrinal, and theoretical aspects of intelligence.All st'ateme_nts of fact, opinion or analysis expressed in Studies in Intelligence are those ofthe authors. They do not necessarily reflect official positions or views of the CentralIntelligence Agency or any other US Government entity, past or present. Nothing in thecontents should be construed as asserting or implying US Government endorsement of anarticle's factual statements and interpretations.7Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000617581 Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000617581A new era with a changing world?reorderingpriorities.THE INTELLIGENCE CHALLENGE IN THE 1980s'Richard LehmanNational Intelligence CouncilACCELERATION AND CHANGEAmerican intelligence in the next decade will be operating in a world quitedifferent from the one it faced 10 years ago. International trends do not,normallychange rapidly, but every now and then a traumatic event shakes up familiar patternsas does a kaleidoscope and makes us think of old, evolving problems in new ways. Thecrisis in Iran and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan have proved to be such events.These two events dramatized both the growing Soviet threat to US positions worldwideand the declining ability of the United States to have its own way in internationalrelations. Both of these trends have been apparent since at least the late 1950s, butsuddenly they seem much more vivid and threatening.The Afghan affair has brought a major change to US-Soviet relations. The changeis certainly one in US perceptions of Soviet policy; it may also prove to be one in Sovietpolicy itself?it is difficult to tell for sure. The invasion of Afghanistan marked thecrossing of a threshold, yet it is consistent with and part of overall Soviet policy sinceWorld War II, or even since the czars consolidated their rule in Central Asia in the19th century. But even if the change that has taken place proves to be more in ourperceptions than in actual Soviet policies, it is a fundamental change that has alreadyreturned US-Soviet relations almost to Cold War levels. US-Soviet competition will stillretain elements of shared interest?there are numerous reasons to maintain some sortof dialogue?but I believe that the United States will face the Soviet Union with morerealism and pessimism for a long time to come.SIZING THE SOVIET PROBLEMThe Soviet Union that we face will itself be undergoing substantial change in the1980s. There are three main elements that US intelligence and policy must be con-cerned with. The first is the continuing growth of Soviet military programs, the steadydrive to catch up with and surpass the United States in technological fields, the prolif-eration of weapons development programs, the mass production of weapons systems,both strategic and general purpose, and the continued subordination of all other in-terests to the military requirements of the state. In the strategic field, the early 1980sare particularly important because during that time the Soviet position will be at itsstrongest relative to the United States, before such US programs as Trident, MX, andcruise missiles become operational. We do not expect the Soviets, who understand therealities of nuclear warfare, to take advantage of this -window" by seeking a nuclear'This article was prepared for another purpose, but the editors believed it would be of particularinterest to readers of Studies.Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 0006175811 Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000617581Intelligence Challengevictory in which everyone would lose. We expect that the Soviet leaders will seethemselves able to take advantage -of opportunities that are presented to them wherethe threat to US interests is apparently marginal. They may see themselves as free to -undertake more Afghanistan' s and Ethiopias. In their view, when vital US interests arenot directly challenged, Soviet strategic power effectively neutralizes that of theUnited States and leaves the Soviets free to exploit their overwhelming strength inconventional forces. Moreover,. Afghanistan, Iran, and a number of other soft spots inAsia are as hard to reach from US bases as they are easy from Soviet ones.A second important consideration is the state of the Soviet economy. We are notsure if the present generation of Soviet leaders sees the USSR's dilemmas as we do. Inour view, however, they are facing problems of an extremely serious nature. The rateof growth of their economy has been slowing year after year. Their agriculture isinefficient and cannot adequately feed the population?a disgrace to a modern state.In the 1980s new constraints will be added, particularly in energy and manpower. Wehave projected a leveling off and probable sharp reduction in Soviet petroleumproduction. So far this is proving to be the case. The Soviets are not going to haveenough oil to maintain their economy at its present level and continue exports toEastern and Western Europe; sales to the latter are a major earner of hard currency.Moreover, their economy does not have the excessive consumption that ours has; theyhave little to conserve. Thus, they are faced with some nasty choices: the loss of hardcurrency earnings with which to buy grain and technology, economic strains leadingpotentially to serious political disorder in Eastern Europe, reduced economic perfor-mance at home, or the need to import goods on the world market without the nec-essary hard currency to pay for them. We worry whether under these circumstancesMiddle Eastern oil might become sufficiently tempting to impel them to some ex-treme course of action, but I should stress that we have no evidence they have suchdesigns.Manpower will also be a serious problem. The low birthrate of the 1960s?in partthe price of Soviet urban life?means much smaller numbers of young people enteringthe work force and the armed forces. Moreover, the decline in young people reachingworking age is most pronounced in European Russia and in the educated urbancommunities. In coming years, a much greater percentage of the increment to thework force will come from non-Russians, iiartictilarly the less advanced Muslim peo-ples of Central Asia. So the problem is not just one of worker quantity, but also ofquality. And in the 1980s the long-foreseen danger that the Russians will eventuallylose their absolute majority in the Soviet population will begin to emerge as a moreimmediate concern for the leadership. This, coupled with upheavals in the largerIslamic world, will pose new dangers with which the Soviet leadership is ill equippedto deal except by brute force.The third area demanding increased US attention concerns Soviet political ques-tions. The leadership itself will be entering a period of change. The small group ofmen around Brezhnev are now almost all in their seventies. They have shown littlesign of self-renewal by bringing in younger blood. A septuagenarian who departs theinner circle tends to be replaced by another septuagenarian. This leadership has shownlittle imagination; there have been few innovative attacks on, or apparently, evenrecognition of many of the serious problems that the Soviet state faces. Rather, Sovietleaders have been content to rest their success principally on the one thing that theSoviet state seems to do well?maintain continuity in an aggressive foreign policybased on steady development of military power. But during the 1980s rigidity indomestic policies will have to give way. The maneuvering to replace Brezhnev hasbegun, but we do not have good information on the next generation of leaders. We can2Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000617581 Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000617581Intelligence Challengeanticipate that they will be as competent as the present group and as devoted to thefurthering of Soviet national interests. They may be more flexible if only because theyare younger, but whether they can put aside their ideological and bureaucratic blind-ers to cope more effectively with internal problems is an unanswered question.This Soviet Union will be full of uncertainty for us. Because of their rigid,conservative, and unchanging leadership, we have been reasonably confident inour judgments of how Moscow will behave in most circumstances. We have notbeen surprised by much that this leadership has done, including the invasion ofAfghanistan. In the 1980s, the United States must reckon that it is facing muchgreater uncertainties in dealing with Moscow. US intelligence officers will have tobe less conservative in their analysis; we must be on the alert for new Soviet initia-tives and expect on occasion to be surprised. This will be a very dangerous period.To see where the dangers could lie, one need only contemplate the possibility of anew and aggressive Soviet leadership desperately in need of petroleum, capable ofmisreading US intentions and the outside world, but controlling an extraordinarilypowerful military instrument.FEWER RESOURCESBut US-Soviet competition will be only one of the driving forces for change andcontroversy in the world of the 1980s. That world will also be characterized by anincreasing scarcity of resources and by rising expectations among peoples everywherethat simply cannot be met. Those people will become increasingly susceptible todemagogic solutions and endemic disorder. Many of the foundations for our positionsabroad that we have accepted for decades as firm are already shaking, and this trendwill almost certainly continue. Here, too, intelligence must measure the extent towhich those foundations are being weakened and seek the reasons. It must be alert tonew developments that can provide new bases for future US policy.OLD ALLIES?NEW COMPETITORSOne place where our assumptions are being especially challenged is in WesternEurope. This is perhaps inevitable as the nations of Europe grow stronger economi-cally, and as they gradually coalesce into a political as well as an economic commu-nity. We will have to work much harder in the 1980s to hold the Western alliancetogether. We in intelligence must be increasingly alert to shifts in public opinion. TheEuropean peoples, and to an increasing extent their governments, see less and lesscommon interest with the United States. They see the Soviet military threat as di-rected primarily at the United States and not at them, and they do not see why theirpresent prosperity should be sacrificed to US-Soviet quarrels over distant places. Inshort, the Europeans are rich and complacent. They have undergone two shatteringwars in this century, and they do not want to think about, much less risk, a third. TheEurope of 1914 was economically thriving and politically stable, but suffused with adangerous nationalism. The Europe of 1939 was economically depressed, politicallyunstable, and complacent in the face of a great totalitarian threat. The Europe of the1980s is like that of 1914, except that the nationalism of 1914 has been replaced by thecomplacency of 1939 and the inhibiting terror of possible nuclear war.The Europeans are also more vulnerable to instability in the Third World than isthe United States. As the world has become more interdependent, European require-ments for imported energy and raw materials have grown enormously. While theUnited States also depends on Middle Eastern oil and African metals, it is far betterable to cope with supply disruptions. Thus, European foreign economic policies havediverged from that of the United States. The Europeans place greater emphasis on3Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000617581 Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000617581Intelligence Challengegetting along with their supplier nations without overly great concern for principle.They are far more willing than we to sacrifice good relations with Israel to friendshipwith the Arabs, even the radical Arabs, on whom they depend. Moreover, they areextremely reluctant to allow what they see as US-Soviet power rivalry to disrupt theircooperative arrangements with the less developed countries. Finally, as exporters ofarms and machinery they are rivals to the United States, not partners.Under these circumstances it is not surprising that our allies have been somewhatless than enthusiastic in supporting an active US policy of potential high risk in South-west Asia. What is surprising is that NATO retains the cohesion and vigor that it does.European governments recognize that the Soviet forces facing them are very strongand most of them have been willing to follow our lead, however grudgingly andreluctantly, in the modernization of conventional and theater nuclear forces.But even this cooperation is fragile. European confidence in American leadershipand steadfastness has been badly shaken by the Vietnam war and its lingeringaftereffects in American life. Even the European leaders who are most supportive andunderstanding wish to keep a certain distance from the United States. They are nolonger taking for granted our commitment to the defense of Europe and to the leader-ship of the free World. They are uncertain of our intent and often upset by ourconduct of foreign policy.The strains in the Atlantic alliance provide new opportunities for the Soviets.They have constructed a network of common interests with the Europeans. Trade hadgrown enormously; the large contracts for building and equipping advanced industrialinstallations have become an important component of the European economics. TheSoviet drive to exploit US-European differences may not be subtle, but it strikes aresponsive chord among European populations that would prefer to believe that thethreat from the East is a mirage.EAST ASIA?THE PACIFICIn East Asia, too, our relations are changing. Our friendship with China continuesto grow?but there remain significant limits to the closeness and mutual benefit ofthat friendship. Our alliance with Japan is affected by strains similar to those inEurope, but it is proving more resistant to them. The Japanese people and governmentare perhaps more realistic than the Europeans, and they have narrower options. Theyhave no real choice except to rely on the United States. Nevertheless, Japan is slowlymoving toward becoming again a major power in the Pacific. Japanese economicpolicy has been very aggressive since the early 1960s. Japanese diplomacy has becomemore active, but still is restrained and concerns itself largely with the protection ofJapanese economic interests. The Japanese have been extremely reluctant to developmilitary forces in any way commensurate with their economic and political interests.But very slowly they are beginning to recognize that they must become more of apartner to the United States in the military field.When they do, it is obvious that they will have more say in how US-Japaneserelationship is conducted, but the US-Japanese alliance could be sounder in the 1980sthan the US-European, despite significant friction in US-Japanese economic relations.Moreover, China's opening to the world is providing the Japanese new opportunities.The Japanese in the 1930s dreamed of combining China's manpower and resourceswith Japan's skills, energy, and organizational genius. That dream is again alive in aless dangerous form. It could offer the United States in the 1980s a strong anchor inEast Asia, similar in some respects to NATO and the EC in Western Europe. We mayfind the focus of American policy, which switched from the Pacific to the Atlanticafter Vietnam, switching back in the 1980s to the Pacific.Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000617581 Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000617581Intelligence ChallengeNEW ARENASSuch a development would not be without risk. The Soviets have seen China as anactual threat and japan, backed by the United States, as a potential one. They will seethe combination as very dangerous. Soviet forces in the Far East are strong, and theywill be strengthened and modernized. A more aggressive Soviet leadership may cometo believe that it can risk weakening China before this new constellation becomes toostrong. The Soviet-Chinese proxy struggle in Southeast Asia could provide either thepretext for or the means of such an initiative. And Korea?North and South?willremain a tinder box.In the upper tier of the Third World?those countries, like Saudi Arabia, towhich natural resources have brought economic strength far out of proportion to theirability to make good use of it, and those countries, like Brazil, that are on the thresholdof becoming industrial powers in their own right?we expect the 1980s to be like the1970s, but more so. These countries will be even more subject to forces conducive topolitical instability. In some of them Islamic fundamentalism will become a greaterthreat. In most of them the effects of modernization on societies ill prepared for it willproduce great social tensions. Those economies that depend on imports of Westernmanufactured goods will be directed by the inflation and economic instability of theWest. Most of them are unable to feed themselves or to control their populationgrowth. The governments of virtually all these countries will be susceptible to violentoverthrow. Their peoples, led to expect growing prosperity that underdeveloped in-stitutions cannot deliver, will be ripe for radical political solutions. Irresponsible po-litical elements will increasingly complicate these situations.These countries will remain a major ground on which the US-Soviet struggle willbe fought. But despite the threats of political and economic upheaval, many of thesecountries will grow stronger and more independent of their respective patrons. Intel-ligence must look at these countries as independent powers in their own right and notas client states. This means that we must seek a deeper understanding of these econo-mies and societies?what are the forces that make them act the way they do, tribal,ethnic, religious, geographic, economic, psychological?The rest of the Third World nations will be subject to the same forces as theirstronger brothers, but will be far less able to act independently. They will be too weakto stay out of the world political struggle and too ambitious to refrain from doing so.But in the 1980s two new factors will increasingly influence that struggle. In the firstplace, the struggle may not be a two-sided one, the United States and its allies vs. theSoviet Union and its clients. Our allies, as noted above, are increasingly our competi-tors. But beyond that, the upper tier nations of the Third World will themselvesbecome competitors and will seek increasingly to extend their influence among theirweaker neighbors. In East Africa today, Iraq is competing effectively with both theSoviet Union and the West.In the past, competition has been for political influence; we saw ourselves as the-free world" and the opposition as -world Communism." In the 1980s the world ischaracterized by many shades of gray. Many of the countries that we think of assympathetic to the United States are by no means free, and many of those sympatheticto the USSR are by no means Communist. Some of the USSR's chief enemies?orproblems?are Communist areas. The struggle for influence is a political one, but inthe 1980s it will increasingly be conducted for economic rather than ideological ends.The less developed countries contain almost the last repositories of undeveloped min-eral resources. As these resources grow scarcer and harder to get elsewhere, thesecountries will become more and more the target for diplomacy, subversion, and, ulti-mately, military conquest. We may be approaching a new kind of colonialism.Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 0006175815 Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000617581Intelligence ChallengeWithin this broader picture let me single out two areas to which intelligence mustgive greater attention in the next decade. The first is the complex of countriessurrounding the northwest corner of the Indian Ocean. Our interests there are obvious,and our level of effort in that part of the world is high. But our problems there are notshort-term. The dependence of the United States, Western Europe, and japan onPersian Gulf oil probably cannot be substantially reduced for a number of years, if atall. The United States is seeking ways to project greater military power into that partof the world. The Soviets are indicating a growing interest, and their capability toproject power at present far surpasses our own.Moreover, every country in the area is a political cauldron. We have seen theforces that were unleashed when the authoritarian government in Iran weakened.Many of the same forces are latent throughout the region. We need a much greaterunderstanding of these forces and of the societies in which they operate.CLOSE TO HOMEA second area of special concern is that of our neighbors?and especially theindustrial powers of the Western Hemisphere. These include in the first instanceCanada and Mexico, but probably also Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuela. Each ofthese countries has to some degree asserted its independence of the United States.None of them can be counted on to line up with us except in extraordinary cir-cumstances. All have developed strong economic ties outside the Hemisphere. But asthe world outside this Hemisphere becomes more chaotic, as I think it will, there maybe a countervailing thrust toward interdependence within the Hemisphere, toward aneffort to insulate North and South America from destructive social and economicforces elsewhere.In the turbulent world here portrayed, we will need a friendly and supportiveCanada and Mexico. But Canada is itself in the midst of a slow-motion constitutionalcrisis that may yet fragment the country and have grave but unpredictable con-sequences for our relations with Canada or with its component parts. Mexico and themajor countries of South America are themselves subject to the same strains as semi-developed nations elsewhere. Mexican society has remained basically stable, but thetensions underlying the surface stability increase year by yeas.There are also very serious threats within the Hemisphere. Social tensions, un-controlled population growth, and extreme poverty are exploited by Cuban subver-sion. The Cubans are skillful at and have great resources for this kind of warfare.Moreover, it is difficult for the United States to combat the Cubans because theground they choose is ground on which it is very difficult for us to stand. A campaignof subversion and insurrection by landless peasants and an oppressed urban middleclass against a brutal and corrupt oligarchy, as in Nicaragua, is not one that the UnitedStates is comfortable opposing, even when the ultimate outcome is likely to be agovernment under strong Cuban influnce, one that we expect ultimately will followthe Cuban path.We are seeing the same pattern in El Salvador. A year or two hence Guatemalaand Honduras will be similarly threatened. By the end of the decade we may find thatthe disease has spread into Mexico, as it is now spreading in the Caribbean islands. Ourproblem in this part of the world is not limited to understanding what is going on,although we need more and better intelligence collection. Our problem very bluntly isto find ways to guide what is going on, and to do what we need to find ways toadvance US strategic interests without eroding US moral principles. We have not yetfound the answer.Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000617581 Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000617581Intelligence ChallengeA PRESS FOR QUALITYTurning from substance to management, this look at the world around us meansthat in the 1980s we in intelligence will face even greater challenges than those of the1970s. Uncertainties will abound, and surprises are likely. In order to deal effectivelywith these complexities and ambiguities, we must improve the Quality of our manage-ment in several important ways.The first of these is in the achievement of synthesis. As our analytic structure getsbigger, even as it gets stronger, it also gets more unwieldy. Specializations multiply,and each analyst of our many hundreds is responsible for a diminishing slice of thetotal effort. But the problems we deal with are multidimensional and reach acrossgeographic and disciplinary boundaries. Senior policy officers want concise, relevantintelligence support that presents a genuine synthesis of all the factors bearing on theproblems, We tend, however, to produce such papers by stapling together contribu-tions from each of the specialized analysts who has a fragment of the action. Thissimply is not good enough. We have to find a way?and this is a serious managementproblem?to combine the outstanding expertise that we have developed with the kindof mind that is able to grasp a problem as a whole, to draw on the knowledge of thespecialists, and to present an assessment in a forum that demands and deservesattention.A second area where we need to do better is daring. Intelligence analysts are bynature conservative, the more specialized the more so. Our bureaucratic culture doesnot encourage speculation or unconventional thinking. Interagency coordination, nomatter how conscientiously led, tends to damp down alternative hypothesis in favor ofsafe, centrist positions. Analysts who argue strongly for unpopular views becomeknown as -controversial- and some get poor fitness reports. In the next decade we willbe operating in a world in which many of the established truths that have governedour analysis are no longer valid. We can expect many of our judgments to be wrong.We deal with decisions made by human beings, and human beings are notoriouslyperverse in doing what they believe they should do rather than what our logic saysthey should do. But while we will often be wrong, we need not ever be stupid. Wemust encourage our analysts to use their imaginations, to think the unthinkable, to putforward the country view, to dare to be wrong, to be comfortable in a minority. Wemust ensure that they are rewarded and not penalized for taking chances. And wemust manage analysis so that it systematically generates and presents to the reader thesoundly based but less probable hypothesis as well as the consensus.INTELLIGENCE AND POLICYFinally, we must find a better way, and we cannot do this by ourselves, to useintelligence in the policy process. In national security policymaking 20 years ago, itwas customary to prepare a national intelligence assessment preparatory to each majordecision at the NSC level. This independent assessment, identified as such, was at-tached to the policy recommendations that went forward. Over the years we havemoved to a system where intelligence comes into play at that level more by osmosis.Intelligence has its impact principally on the drafting officer for the policy paper. Itends up between the lines, and the decisionmaker seldom gets an independent view ofthe situation he faces and its implications. Admittedly the policy process in a worldwhere the United States is more often the reactor than the initiator tends to movemore rapidly than it used to. But rapid ad hoc decisionmaking has sacrificed theintelligence contribution. Policy officers do not call for an intelligence assessment,partly because they are rushed partly because they are satisfied with their own privateassessments, partly because they do not expect a useful, relevant product, and partlyApproved for Release: 2014/07/29 0006175817 Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000617581Intelligence Challengebecause we have become so musclebound in the production of national intelligencethat we cannot deliver it in time to be useful. Timely intelligence should always beavailable for the decisionmaker, so he can know before he acts on the judgments of hisintelligence officers.We have gotten ourselves in a chicken-and-egg situation. It is incumbent on us toproduce intelligence that is relevant, imaginative, and timely. It is incumbent on thepolicy officers to call for and use our product. Neither can happen without the other. Iam confident that both will improve. The above article is Unclassified.8Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000617581