The 9-11 Commission’s principal recommendation for intelligence reform is to do for the intel community what the Goldwater-Nichols began for the Defense Department: institutional reform to require “jointness” in operational strategy and tactics. ( See pages 407-411) This is the approach I recommended back in February.
Our armed services work together now in what we call “network-centric” warfare. Every service is integrated from top to bottom with the others, using every asset together to its best advantage. Jointness for intelligence requires not only the sharing of information; it requires cooperation at every level to use the assets of each agency to the best combined advantage. In order for this to happen — whether it’s done by replacing the Director of Central Intelligence with a new National Intelligence Director or by some other mechanism — the new leader of our intelligence community has to be someone who is steeped in the Defense Department approach and can shake the intel trees to make this happen. That means neither a Congressman nor an old DoD hand is the right person to do it. Sources tell me that John Lehman isn’t on the short list for the DCI job.
Goldwater-Nichols was enacted more than a decade ago, and really only took effect operationally in the 1991 Gulf War. Whoever is put in the DCI or “NID” job needs to be someone who is a true believer in “jointness”. To achieve it, they will need to be given much more and different statutory authority than any of the intel agencies’ heads now have. And while this needs to be done, and report after report comes in, Congress is headed off to vacation. Isn’t this urgent enough for them to hang around a while?