US Intelligence Community Essay

  • Length: 10 pages
  • Sources: 10
  • Subject: Psychology
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #67757178

Excerpt from Essay :

U.S. intelligence community is always expected to perform its duties according to some specified guidelines. This study examines the three themes found in the Pfeffer and Salancik book, "The External Control of Organizations," as applied to the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC). The paper reveals how the themes are applicable to the IC and their potential benefits to the IC. It is evident that the identified have proven to be useful to the community, as it has enabled it to adapt to the changing paradigms within the intelligence community.

The themes

First theme: the importance of the environment or the social context of organizations for understanding what decisions were made about issues ranging from whom to hire, the composition of boards of directors, and what alliances and mergers to seek.

From this theme, the leading obstacle in the realization of accountability in the U.S. intelligence community is the prerequisite of secrecy across agencies. Historically, the intelligence community has operated on based on the principle of "need-to-know." The need for secrecy restricts external oversight of the U.S. intelligence community. This confirms that tensions exist between effective control and secrecy. Undoubtedly, the intelligence community itself is interested in curbing external control. In fact, they have expressed an interest to advocate for increased and continued need for secrecy. This has become a culture of all the intelligence regimes. In most cases, it accounts for widespread dislikes among some intelligence professionals like William Colby. The intelligence community may be improved through limitation and the redefinition of the necessity for secrecy (Dobbin & Schoonhoven, 2010).

Because of the strict secrecy environments, internal controls have become vitally crucial in maintaining and improving the accountability within the U.S. intelligence community. The IC's organizational structure is highly hierarchical; an approach geared towards supporting the intelligence agencies. This gives the community too mush powers to make abuses, failures and diffuse accountability. The tall hierarchical environment distorts information that passes down and up, resists change and innovation (Pfister, 2009). Eventually, it leads to an increased gap between responsibility and authority while setting up a barrier to employee recruitment, retention, and involvement. The initial government solution to change internal control ended up adding managerial layers to oversee employees. Obviously, this thickening of the U.S. intelligence community has just worsened the problems.

The secrecy vitality has also worsened the cooperation and communication within the intelligence community. Researchers have suggested that a stovepipe system has resulted in an environment where information cannot flow freely and where sub-institutions are formed with their own organizational goals (Klein, 2010). Obviously, if the stovepipe system is dissolved, it will be embraced as a desirable improvement within the U.S. intelligence community.

An additional problem is the hierarchies and the secrecy environments have previously been manipulated to blur accountability. A good example is the Iran-Contra affair of this framework. Decisions made in secrecy under a blurred accountability environment are obviously poor decisions. This is particularly in the area of whom to hire, the composition of boards of directors, and what alliances and mergers to seek. This environment tends to increase the possibility of approval and eliminates the likely useful inputs of individuals not incorporated in the secret environment (Johnson, 2009).

Second Theme: although organizations were obviously constrained by their situations and environments, there were opportunities to do things such as co-opting sources of constraint, to obtain, at least temporarily more autonomy and the ability to pursue organizational interests.

The environment of secrecy within the Intelligence community fosters unusual organizational pathologies that tamper with the ability to pursue organizational interests. This leads to poor organizational performance. One problem is the tendency to depend on raw information when reporting to policy makers. Impressing policy makers using sophisticated data collection results in intelligence agencies seeking to present facts instead of empirical analysis. Secondly, analysts cannot know when to predict and forecast the presentations to policy makers (Stinchcombe, 2010). Lastly, the intelligence staff often shares unwarranted assumptions especially about the U.S. policy. The relevance of estimating intelligence is to minimize the policy options through clarifying the assumptions, issues, and consequences underlying various paths. The relevance of policymaking is to maintain options open for the longest period (Hatch, 2011). This can be achieved through by keeping secrets from agents of the intelligence community. This triggers them to increase resources to discover the values of policy makers.

Occasionally, the value of opinions given by intelligence professionals has been ignored because decision makers are aware that producers of intelligence did not have sufficient data. This leads to severe repercussions when it results in the discounting of CIA's advice against any invasion (Prakash, 2009).

The jigsaw theory focuses on the proclivity for building consensus and the partiality of producing current intelligence instead of presenting opposing views. The pathology arises from the psychology of analysts in this field. A strong unified voice would be logical even in the absence of strong convictions. A rejuvenated and a dynamic organizational structure will work to address these pathologies. Particularly, creating a multidisciplinary task force and introducing a peer evaluation system will eliminate the group think theory (Johnson, 2009). Similarly, it will restrict the utility of unprofessional techniques of intelligence. This will be achieved by forcing producers of intelligence to follow the industry standards, rather than standards of the intelligence consumers: they know little concerning intelligence work.

Such a constrained environment results in intelligence failures. Thus, it is with no doubt that most solutions and decisions must be open. Essentially, the field of intelligence requires reforms in terms of intellectual and institutionalized advocacy. Competitive analysis founded on projects, where two teams concentrate efforts on one project; do not demonstrate to be popular among intelligence professionals (Pfister, 2009). In addition, it is far from efficient. The intelligence agencies whose missions overlap each other must give a sufficient level of competitive evaluation. Institutionalized advocacy is impractical since the term itself is possibly oxymoronic. However, the concept may be tied to intellectual changes in intelligence analysis. This may happen only that analysis will be extremely uncompromising and independent (Hedlund & A-man, 2012).

Third Theme: the importance of the construct of power for understanding both intra-organizational and inter-organizational behavior

In all government entities, the control of an important and a successful intelligence community brings both inter-organizational and intra-organizational behavior advantage. In the intelligence industry, knowledge is equal to power. The military in collaboration with other intelligence agencies control the most political support and crucial resources. The military's intra-organizational and inter-organizational behavior goes further to the intelligence industry (Klein, 2010).

The tools for organizational behavior allow the intelligence community to understand how to influence the military agencies. The sheer size and strength of the intelligence community are mitigated by three elements. The internal division between military agencies (Klein, 2010) characterizes the first issue. Different services do not coordinate tightly and have failed to front a unified front on most issues in the intelligence community. Secondly, intelligence careerists see intelligence as something of a backwater. This means that intelligence professionals do not necessarily meet the highest degree of standards. It results in a negative impact on both intra-organizational and inter-organizational behavior within the intelligence community. In this context, the intelligence officers are portrayed as poor cousins. A re-designing of both intra-organizational and inter-organizational behavior within the intelligence community might eliminate this problem (Stinchcombe, 2010). The Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) has special financial authority to procure technical intelligence capabilities. As the final element, the DCI's symbolic position links all agencies of the intelligence community. Regardless of any factor, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has a claim to power arising from its role as the core agency in the intelligence community. These three variables demonstrate how DCI has attained the constrained influence over military intelligence.

The general trend of both intra-organizational and inter-organizational behavior in the intelligence community relates to constrained cooperation. Resources and information have not been adequately shared previously. The issue persists until today. For example, a recent report by the commerce department discovered that neither Defense nor the Commerce completely shared its information in the process of consultation (Dobbin & Schoonhoven, 2010). The intelligence community has evolved resulting in the DCI negotiating for support for his intelligence mission. To resolve the problem between the two entities even in the absence of formal authority, the current DCI has resorted to numerous committees to regulate the intelligence community. The issue with committees is that members are present primarily as representatives of their home agency (Hedlund & A-man, 2012).

In the end, instead of seeking creative solutions to problems, the community seeks to remain in the power to veto of their department regarding any decisions. This generates a drive for centralization within the intelligence community in order to speak in a unified voice in protection of the interests of the community. Such a unified voice aims to legitimize facts used to safeguard the interests of the community (Banner & Gagne?, 2006). With no doubt, biased legitimized facts tend to be unproductive in the coordination of a complex organ such as…

Cite This Essay:

"US Intelligence Community" (2013, October 24) Retrieved January 16, 2017, from

"US Intelligence Community" 24 October 2013. Web.16 January. 2017. <>

"US Intelligence Community", 24 October 2013, Accessed.16 January. 2017,