Thursday, July 22, 2004

A point of contention

While I agree that all imformation should be shared within the various departments, I disagree with how the panel wants to do it.

The 9/11 story teaches the value of integrating strategic intellegence from all sources into joint operational planning-with both dimensions spanning the foriegn-domestic divide.

• In some ways, since 9/11, joint work has gotten better. The effort of
fighting terrorism has flooded over many of the usual agency bound-aries
because of its sheer quantity and energy. Attitudes have changed.
But the problems of coordination have multiplied. The Defense
Department alone has three unified commands (SOCOM, CENT-COM,
and NORTHCOM) that deal with terrorism as one of their
principal concerns.

• Much of the public commentary about the 9/11 attacks has focused
on “lost opportunities.”Though characterized as problems of “watch-listing,”
“information sharing,” or “connecting the dots,” each of these
labels is too narrow. They describe the symptoms, not the disease.

• Breaking the older mold of organization stovepiped purely in execu-tive
agencies, we propose a National Counterterrorism Center
(NCTC) that would borrow the joint, unified command concept
adopted in the 1980s by the American military in a civilian agency,
combining the joint intelligence function alongside the operations
work.

• The NCTC would build on the existing Terrorist Threat Integration
Center and would replace it and other terrorism “fusion centers” with-in
the government.The NCTC would become the authoritative knowl-edge
bank, bringing information to bear on common plans. It should
task collection requirements both inside and outside the United States.

• The NCTC should perform joint operational planning, assigning lead
responsibilities to existing agencies and letting them direct the actual
execution of the plans.

• Placed in the Executive Office of the President, headed by a Senate-confirmed
official (with rank equal to the deputy head of a cabinet
department) who reports to the National Intelligence Director, the
NCTC would track implementation of plans. It would be able to
influence the leadership and the budgets of the counterterrorism
operating arms of the CIA, the FBI, and the departments of Defense
and Homeland Security.

• The NCTC should not be a policymaking body. Its operations and
planning should follow the policy direction of the president and the
National Security Council.

I don't know about you but, I think we have enough govermental agancies. The FBI was set up to protect us from internal threats, the CIA from external. Since, in the case of terrorism, you deal with both, I think that departments can be set up within these existing bodies. The specific job of these departments would be to gather, coelate and give this information to those who need it.

On top of that, we already have a Department of Homeland Security that could be used for this purpose.