What 17 Intelligence Agencies?

If you’ve heard all the drama about “17 Intelligence Agencies” recently, you might have wondered 1. who the hell all those agencies are, and, 2. why do we need so many?

Unfortunately, we can’t answer the second question. But we’ll take a shot at the first.

The current, highly dysfunctional and ineffective structure of the intelligence community was a result of a re-organization after the 9/11 Commission found that interagency rivalry and stove-piping prevented unity of command and efficiency in the IC. So they created several new agencies, including “One Ring to Rule Them All,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which duplicated the primary function of the Director of Central Intelligence. They also created the duplicative Department of Homeland Security.

So, Congress’s response to too much bureaucracy in intelligence was to create two more enormous, empire-building, and completely non-operational bureaucracies. That bid against each other, raising the prices of credentialed and cleared personnel in the National Capital Area, and have 17 independent, redundant and leaky massive overhead bureaucracies. None of the overhead — the great bulk of the personnel and costs of these agencies — does a thing to secure an adversary’s secret or protect a friendly one. Feeling safer, yet?

So, the ODNI (website here) is one of the agencies. Here’s how ODNI presents what it sees as the subordinate 16 (not all the agencies are subordinated willingly):

That’s a really illogical way to do it, and we have no idea why they listed them like that. Wait… duh. They’re in alphabetical order. OK, let’s break it down functionally and historically for you. With ODNI accounted for, we have 1 down and 16 to go.

First, we have Cabinet Departments that want to horn in on intelligence. DOE was formerly involved in nuclear intelligence, because it’s involved in nuclear everything. State contains the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, which has always been an attempt to duplicate CIA capability in Foggy Bottom, and has a long history free of significant attainments. Treasury wants to play the-spy-as-auditor. And DHS has already been mentioned. Treasury and DHS do have some agencies with intelligence capabilities, mostly domestic. This accounts for 4 more of the agencies: 5 down and 11 to go.

There are the service intelligence bureaucracies, five of them (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard), plus the long-standing DIA which is mostly another duplicative analysis shop, but does run some military HUMINT and CI projects. This happens because the main HUMINT agency has dropped the ball on HUMINT and is unresponsive to military tasking. 10 down and 6 to go.

Then, we have the flatfeet. These agencies are primarily crim catchers, but DEA gets intel (mostly by liaison) about transnational drug traffic that often has other intelligence implications, and FBI has internal security and national security responsibilities — they’re supposed to be our prime spy catchers. These 2 chiefly-crimefighting crowds bring us to 12 down and 4 to go.

The four that remain are what you probably think of when you think of US intelligence. They are divided along functional lines of intelligence disciplines (the “INTs”).

  1. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) runs HUMINT (as well as an organization that institutionally hates to leave the flagpole can), runs any collection it can, and runs a comprehensive all-source analysis shop. It has some paramilitary “regime change” capability, first developed early in the Cold War but now waxes and wanes because many politicians have turned against it.
  2. The National Security Agency (NSA) runs most electronic and technical intelligence collection and analysis, using swarms of military personnel as its foot soldiers (think Bradley Manning). Its Central Security Service branch is also responsible for securing American codes and ciphers. Like CIA, it was established by the National Security Act of 1947.
  3. The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), in conjunction with the Air Force Space Command and other intelligence agencies, manages intelligence collection via overhead platforms. Until the last couple of decades, its very existence and everything it did was classified.
  4. The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) is a textbook example of bureaucracy creep. Like the NRO, the NGA’s intelligence work is kept mostly secret for good reasons. It also has overt and public responsibilities; it used to be the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA), before that it was the Defense Mapping Agency (DMA), and before that it was the very prosaic Army Map Service. Along with its secret responsibilities (many of the agency’s personnel and contractors got a well-deserved attaboy for the OBL raid), the NGA also makes our maps and charts, both paper and digital. (Having used stuff from all round the world, our digital stuff can be incredibly awesome, but the Russians make the best paper maps by far).

That brings us to 16 agencies plus ODNI. Now, frequently you will see some Beltway drone or chinless broadsheet bloviator talking about what “17 intelligence agencies” (or “16” if the berk leaves off the DNI) did or didn’t do, and that should act as a handy tag, like the ones that Tracking Point puts on a target, but a kind of photographic negative version — a marker that that guy is so stupid he’s not worth shooting and/or so dishonest that he’s not worth listening to. When you hear “17 intelligence agencies” all you need to understand is “ODNI Opinion” which generally means something coming from the top down. From the political appointees and the career officers who suck up to them.

“The last piece of the puzzle before we can execute this mission will be the ODNI analysis,” said no one operational, not in any of the “17 agencies” nor military services. We can guarantee you that. ODNI is entirely a Beltway political knob-polisher and brings nothing to the the intelligence community but more headcount (and a concomitant lowering of the entry bar and product quality). They do, however, have a lot of really flashy document formats, logos, and slide deck templates.

This may be because they have learned what leaks best to their journalism pals.

Most of actual production of useful and actionable intelligence is done by individuals and very small teams, usually working for a single agency, often taking the sort of risks that ensure that they, ultimately, won’t be promoted, and the teeming HQ credit-thieves will.

Our bloated, blind, and Beltway-bound intelligence community is mostly in the wrong place. Intelligence is, mostly, foreign information, but we insist on gathering it and analyzing it from DC desks.

Fun facts:

  • the majority of our intelligence analysts have never been to the countries or regions on which they’re supposedly experts.
  • Perhaps 5 or 10% are functional in the languages of their target area. Professional fluency is vanishingly rare, and usually rests on immigrants and first-generation Americans.
  • Many analysts have never been outside the First World.
  • Another large percentage of them, who have been to the area, were on an escorted 7-capitals-in-11-days tour.
  • You can rise to the Senior Executive Service level in any of the agencies without ever having to move from your Maryland or NoVA suburb.

And yeah, we’re worse off in intelligence than we were on 11 September, 2001, despite producing vastly more output (and leaking it, to the press and adverse intelligence agencies, but we repeat ourselves). Because we didn’t solve the bureaucracy problem, we exacerbated it. And we blew billions — and continue to blow billions — on the project.

Which is increasingly a government jobs program — the WPA for liberal arts graduates. Except, we’re still using some of the useful bridges and town halls the WPA built.

(Note: with this post, we’ve added a new category, which we seldom do. A lot of previous writing on Intelligence and Espionage has been characterized as Unconventional Warfare, but they’re not the same thing. For practical reasons, we’re probably not going to go back in five years’ of archives reassigning the new I&E label, but we’ll use it going forward. -Ed.)

39 thoughts on “What 17 Intelligence Agencies?

  1. Boat Guy

    SPOT ON Hognose!
    You note the only real reason for DIA to exist ” …run some military HUMINT and CI projects. ” and your characterization of a large number of “analysts” is a 10x – though your estimated percentage of those who have language may yet be high.
    “the WPA for liberal arts graduates ” PRICELESS!!!
    “Because we didn’t solve the bureaucracy problem, we exacerbated it. ” Yup. And it’s gonna bite us in te ass AGAIN.

    1. Boat Guy

      Though, on reflection, I can point to exceptions who prove every one of the rules above – even young liberal arts graduates. I’ve encountered some amazing people and met some unsung heroes who still roll the rock up the mountain on a daily basis.
      God alone knows why…

      1. Air

        I was thinking of what to say, you said it for me Boat Guy in both of your posts…
        WM, you nailed it… This is why I stayed down with the fleet and never went to DC… The 3 letter agencies didn’t / don’t share, lanes in the roads don’tcha know. Wanna make a NGA guy mad? At the end of a GEOINT briefing, just say “all I need is a map”.

  2. Anonymous

    NSA was established in 1952 by a presidential Executive Order. This EO was later codified under law. The result of the EO was to move the Armed Forces Security Service into a civilian agency. Also NSA has COMSEC (Communication Security) authorities as well as cyber authorities. The Director NSA is dual hatted as both Director NSA and Commander US Cyber Command. NSA is also unique in that it reports to both the ODNI and the Secretary of Defense.

    1. Hognose Post author

      I was mistaken that it resulted from the National Security Act of 1947. However, while the NSA party line is that it was established in 1952 by that Eisenhower EO:
      https://www.nsa.gov/news-features/declassified-documents/cryptologic-spectrum/assets/files/early_history_nsa.pdf

      …it actually dates to the Truman Administration as the Armed Forces Security Agency. This history discusses some of the early turf battles with the uniformed services.
      http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB278/11.PDF
      “Security Agency” was for many years shorthand for the Armed Services cryptological elements that act as the collection myrmidons for NSA.

  3. Kirk

    Ah, Hognose… You are so silly, so naive: You actually think these agencies are meant to perform their assigned functions, the ones on their public “mission statements”, don’t you?

    Reality is, just as the Pentagon’s weapons procurement system is not really meant to provide our servicemen with actual working weapons, the “intelligence” agencies are not meant to provide intelligence; their actual function is to transfer tax dollars to various and sundry other organizations and causes, none of which are actually on the masthead. You want to know what is really going on, look at which university gets contracted for what, and where the graduates of that university wind up, in government service.

    The whole thing rapidly starts to resemble an organized crime “bust out” operation, after a bit; just transpose the names of the mafia families for the various universities and think-tanks, and the entire scam falls into focus.

  4. medic09

    Wow. Intelligence is a jealous and possessive bunch; but THIS is an even bigger cluster f than I would have imagined. And I thought it gets complicated or unwieldy in little Israel!

  5. Jim Scrummy

    Very few at the CeyeA go down range these days. I happen to know a few of these people who did go down range, they have all since retired, mainly because of the BS by Brennan. So, getting people out of the GWHB building and doing actual HUMINT is going to be a long arduous process. You are also correct about any foreign language and cultural skills, they are lacking throughout the whole intel community. Many in the intel community have a hard enough time communicating in their native tongue, English.

    1. DSM

      My last trip overseas to stage and eventually push to OIF had some of those folks. Interesting people. The main guy, we’ll call him Steve, showed up early on at our location that also served as the Western node for special units. It was always a cordial exchange when he brought people and equipment through the check point. “Hey Steve, we don’t want to know what’s in there, do we?”
      We’d see our 130s swoop in, they’d roll a couple of these badass, flat tan Mitsubishi 4Xs on board, chain ’em down and be gone in a matter of minutes. Those things were sweet. Radio racks, antennae mounts, spare fuel drum, roof mounted equipment rack, MG pintle in the bed, fore and aft winches. Ran into a few of them a little while later when we pushed east.

    2. Kirk

      It’s late at night, where I live, and I’m just a tad inebriated…

      The problem ain’t just with the HUMINT side of things; it’s also conceptual and something I’d term “Imaginual”, to coin a word.

      These guys possess no real knack for intelligence work, in my opinion. If I were running the game, these days? Oi… Holy fuck, but would I be taking advantage of the opportunities to fuck with the enemy. Mandate release from Guantanamo? Gee, Mr. Uncle President, we done did what you asked…

      Only thing is, we managed to “accidentally” release info along with them that indicated they were all actually being released as “cooperating villains”, and seed all the strikes we make with drones to convince the various terrorist organizations that we made those hits because of things those released “guys from Guantanamo” told us…

      By the time I got done fucking with their heads, they wouldn’t know which way was up, and they’d do half our work for us, killing their own “leakers”. Every drone strike ought to cause half-a-dozen self-inflicted wounds on the enemy, as we “accidentally” release the way we found them, which would conveniently be the peers we couldn’t find…

      By the time I got done with these stupid, credulous fucks, they’d think we were veritable gods, and were inside their organization. I mean, they’re mostly fucking Arabs, right? Average IQ of what, 80? They believe all manner of stupid shit already, so why not use that to convince them of things that would engender a fucking civil war in their organization?

      But, our intel orgs just don’t have the vision, the imagination to do shit like that. They’re Ivy League-educated ignoramuses, with no real skills or knack for the intelligence world. We need to find guys like Meinertzhagen was reputed to be, but for real. Guys who spend more time thinking about how to fuck with the enemy’s minds than they do about the next cocktail party on the DC circuit–The kind of people we don’t bother to recruit, anymore. The kind who aren’t even considered for the jobs…

      Our intelligence types are just not that imaginative. Put me on the job, and I’d find a dozen different ways to play games with the enemy, and drive them nuts. But, we don’t have people like that, and if we did, they’d be sloughed off to some make-work job in the depths of the bureaucracy. I’d honestly be surprised if anything like this is going on, or has even been seriously considered.

      Strategically, our military is about the same. I still stand in awe of the clockwork pedantry we had running things in Iraq–I mean, for the love of God, what the smegging hell was so confusing about the idea of looking at the South African and Rhodesian experience in countering IEDs, and copying the “Q-Ship” concepts? I mean, really… Insane. Utterly insane. Blocked by JAG for the silliest of reasons…

  6. Gray

    Hognose,

    What do you make of this?

    “The head of the D.C. National Guard, Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz, said Friday that he has been ordered removed from his command effective Jan. 20, 12:01 p.m., just as Donald Trump is sworn in as president. Schwartz’s forced departure will come in the midst of the presidential inauguration that he has spent months helping plan alongside D.C. police, the U.S. Secret Service and other top District officials…“The timing is extremely unusual,” Schwartz said…He said that he would “never plan to leave a mission in the middle of a battle.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/commanding-general-of-dc-national-guard-to-be-removed-from-post/2017/01/13/725a0438-d99e-11e6-b8b2-cb5164beba6b_story.html?utm_term=.438119b0de62

    1. Hognose Post author

      The Adjutant General (i.e. commander) of each of the 53 National Guards (States plus DC, PR, and one other territory I forget — Guam and Northern Marianas?) are political appointees. The State and Territorial guys serve at the pleasure of their governors, DC at the pleasure of the President. It’s not unusual to have the State AG fighting for Federal recognition of his two-star rank for the entire time he or she is in command, because it’s not unusual for a suck-up COL or LTC to be jumped up to AG.

      I don’t know the circumstances of Schwartz’s appointment. He might have pissed off Trump, or Trump may have HIS own political character, or, and this is possible, they could just be doing this sweep-out of Obama loyalists across the board for consistency’s sake. The papers keep running stories saying this is unusual. It is fairly usual, and even cases that were exceptions before (US Attorneys with major active cases, f’r instance) were not exceptions in 2009.

      Really, if Trump fed the multitudes with five loaves and fishes, and raised Lazarus from the dead (all of which I cheerfully stipulate will not happen), the Post would write that he was unfairly competing with Whole Foods, and corrupting the data integrity of the Social Security Death Index.

      Finally, removing a figurehead during the inauguration does nothing to security. Those Guardsmen activated during this event are under the de facto command and control of the United States Secret Service. And the USSS will not be affected by Jeh Johnson’s removal at 12:00P, either. (Well, they might grin a little, like everybody else who’s been under that tool).

      1. Boat Guy

        ” …grin a little…” hell, man I’m guessing many of ’em will alternate between giggle and purr…least any of the good ones still left.

      2. James F.

        General Schwartz is a black National Guard general, which if you think about it, is inevitable. Would a white officer be tapped for command of the DC Guard?

        Your analysis is quoted and linked to in blog item titled “Black DC National Guard General Whines Bitterly About Not Being Chosen To Guard Trump’s Inaugural”. (Link in nick.)

        Disclosure one–link is mildly Deplorable. Disclosure two–so am I.

        By the way, General Schwartz has a surprising number of Oak Leaf Clusters, but seems to have spent his entire career in the Guard, without ever leaving the United States.

        1. Hognose Post author

          Funny, as I’d actually read that article before you posted your comment! Thanks for the link. I’ve read that site from time to time thanks to Steve Sailer. In fact I think I read it before Steve was writing there, probably because of a link of his.

    2. John M.

      “never plan to leave a mission in the middle of a battle”

      When I check my calendar, I see “Inauguration of President Donald J. Trump” on the agenda for 1/20 in DC. Is Maj. Gen. Schwartz expecting a battle in lieu of this inauguration?

      -John M.

  7. LFMayor

    So Boss, it was one of these big central hydrocephalus repositories that leaked the fake report about urination, planted by 4-Chan, as sure enough, actionable intelligence?

    This group is often sniffed at, basement dwelling autistic script kiddies, etc. They might be a very economical resource though, hell, some cheetos, Mountain Dew red and keep their Xbox live account paid and they’ll work like ants. After all, if they can fool our Top Diversity Applicants can we afford not to bring them under the tent?

    1. bloke_from_ohio

      The problem with the /b-tards, and other malcontents that make up Anonymous is their ADHHD (not a typo). They are fantastic trolls, but I don’t know how you would keep them on task long enough to actually do much other than break things and make messes. After all, “/b is not your personal Army” and they do a lot of the stuff they do a lot of their “Ops” “for the lulz”. Trying to control that group would be like herding Schrödinger’s cat. They do love themselves some cats though…

      I think this randomness and apparent rudderless behavior is probably a function of the leaderless structure combined with a heaping helping of nihilism. There really is no underlying ideology behind the movement that I could ever pin down. No one can really speak for the collective, is a sure way to get “dox’d” and incur the wrath of the “legion”. Anybody can claim to be a part of the group and it is, at least theoretically, very susceptible to being at hijacked or scape goateed.

      Governments are best off just defending their networks against them as best they can, and accepting or exploiting whatever advantages they can from the group’s antagonism of their adversaries as they happen. The only thing that matches the group’s irreverence is its fickleness. If you are big enough, important enough to have your cause helped by “Anon” you will probably be target sooner or later. It is just what they do.

  8. Dyspeptic Gunsmith

    From my brief brush with the NSA in the 80’s when I interviewed with them, I suspected even then that their unwritten reason for existing was to employ lots of smug, squeeky-clean poindexters with fairly useless PhD’s from Ivy League universities in the fabulous Washington DC area.

    People who were military or former military enlisted or O-4 and below, or had only a BS/BA or MS/MA got paid jack, especially when put into perspective of what housing in the area cost. Their only reaction to my (then) fluency in German was “that’s nice.” I was given the distinct impression that my job would be to empty other people’s waste baskets and Look Very Earnest in meetings. Their salary offer made it quite clear I wasn’t going to be working for them – I seem to recall they were offering about $22K/year to start. The job I ended up taking was just under $30K, in an area with housing costs only 60% of the DC area.

    10 years later, I met someone who was my age, who did go to work for the puzzle palace with a MS in engineering the same year I interviewed with them. His opinion was that a) while he occasionally worked on interesting problems, b) the internal politics and bureaucracy showed him he was wasting his time, so c) he left and went out to Silicon Valley. He certainly didn’t brag on his time there. Anyone who would ask his opinion of the NSA would get anything from a smile & snort to a derisive guffaw, and that was it.

  9. raven

    Couple the unchecked expansion with the Pinnacle of All Goals (DIVERSITY Inc.) and the odds are they are heavily infiltrated, with actual enemies, not just soft headed idiots.

    1. Steve M.

      “…they are heavily infiltrated, with actual enemies, not just soft headed idiots.”

      Undoubtedly! Although the effects of either group make it almost impossible to differentiate between the two.

      There is a point where stupidity and malicious intent not only cross, but become heavily intertwined. Destruction of good things is always the result. The train can come off the tracks becasue a dude zoned out while texting or because a muzzy’s vest blew up. Either way, the train is coming off the tracks.

  10. Nick

    As Mr Trump has pointed out they all leak like a sieve,ironic.
    I did hear mention of using pencil paper and runners,no messy email.
    To the Manning’s and Snowden’s: may you suffer a long painful life.

  11. Keith

    My impression from a long time reading, what veterans of agencies and departments have written, that have/had “…Intelligent” in there title somewhere was it was an oxymoron. That it was not about defending the country or providing what ever there mission statement said but beating all the other agencies in the Congressional funding fights.

  12. 11B-Mailclerk

    In a decent novel, all of the above 17-assed Hydra (Heads have brains. Asses produce crap.) would be just a decoy. The hostile agencies of the world would be going batshit trying to glean useful intel from compromising a flock of pointless drones.

    The ‘real’ agency would be something containing the band of smart quiet folks who had real skills, like being totally ‘gray’, yet very, very productive. “Me? I work for the Federal department of systematic resource disposition and waste recycling. Our mission is …… Why does everyone keep falling asleep when I talk shop?” “Mr president, here is the report we produced on the nuke program of Outer Elbonia. Yup. They have a program. Nope, no progress. They are buying “uranium” from us. It wil take them about 300 years to find enough 235 in those processing leftovers to make a watch dial.”

  13. HORSE GUNNER

    QUALIFICATIONS: ZERO/NIL SF/SO training or experience, but 51 months Jump Status in “America’s Guard of Honor”, The 82d Airborne Division, beginning in the “Hollow Army” of the James E (“Jimmy”) Carter era.
    This included duty as a Battalion Intelligence Staff Officer (S2).
    COMMENT RE: “17 Agencies”. In the 1980’s there was a Joint-Service/Inter-Agency (in the same way NRO is Joint-Service/Inter-Agency/quasi-DoD) Organization for MASINT (Measurement & Signature INTelligence): the Central MASINT Office (CMO). Not having been in uniform in nearly 30 years, I do not know what became of CMO.

    1. Hognose Post author

      I believe it evolved into NMMO, which is under DIA, and has a central coordinating function. CMO was never that centralized, more federated.

  14. Mike_C

    >“One Ring to Rule Them All,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence
    ODNI: the dyslexic all-father of intelligence.

  15. Tom Stone

    I see Obama has signed an executive order allowing the NSA to share raw data with all of these agencies. What could go wrong?

    1. Hognose Post author

      I read the EO. It doesn’t change much. In the past, they had to get the raw through an NSA liaison at a fusion center or HQ.

    1. Kirk

      Two answers:

      One, they had to be.

      Two, there are a bunch of resellers that bought stocks post “fall of Berlin Wall”. Do a search on your preferred search engine, and you’ll find a bunch of stuff that will point you to various resellers. It’s all darkly humorous…

      One has to remember that the Soviets had to substitute raw (real) intelligence for money; they couldn’t afford to build the Keyhole satellite system, so they did their equivalent by brute force and raw intelligence (in the other sense). It’s an interesting set of results that we got; I’m not sure we were better than they were, in terms of “Know your enemy…”.

      1. gbob

        So, to make sure I understand, their maps were better than ours at the time, and they did theirs the hard way. So it’s seems to follow that it is unlikely that if I wanted maps of my area (Texas) I would get anything better than what i can get today. If I understand, then thank you; if I don’t, please set me straight.

        1. Kirk

          Here’s a good general overview of what Hognose is referring to; I don’t remember where I first found a link to this thing by Wired, might have even been on here. It’s a solid reference on the issue, and may even help you find what you’re looking for:

          https://www.wired.com/2015/07/secret-cold-war-maps/

          A good map contains a lot of information we don’t even necessarily think about; things that the Soviets found out through good, old-fashioned knock-on-the-door gumshoe intelligence agent work. And, no doubt, they had a shitload of information passed on to them through sympathetic fellow-travelers working for public works departments and the like.

          Interesting thing is, some of the crap they had on their maps was actually more accurate than what we had, for our own territories. Likewise, we had better maps of Soviet stuff than they did, which isn’t really surprising, when you think about it: You can always go out and look at your own stuff, for ground truth: Accuracy isn’t that big a deal. Enemy territory? You’d better believe you want it straight, or your planning is going to be seven kinds of fucked up.

          Soviet mapping is fascinating, anyway, because of the close-held nature of it: Up until recently, an accurate map was a state secret, and if you had one…? Prima-facie evidence you were a spy, unless you worked for the appropriate agency.

          I forget all the details of the story, but there was a Russian guy who got tired of dealing with the repercussions of all the “officially available” maps, back in the days of the Soviet Union; he was a delivery driver, or managed a bunch of them, and he got seriously tired of people getting lost, or not being able to find stuff about Moscow. So, he started taking notes. And, writing them down in a kind of code on his maps, because you weren’t supposed to do that shit. Anyway, he wound up with a set of maps for the Moscow area that were annotated with tons of “accurizing” marginalia, notes, and symbols. One day, someone from one of the Soviet intelligence outfits sees this, and I forget how, but he’s caught. Bang, ten years in the Gulag… For putting accurate information on paper.

          Soviet/Russian paranoia? Goes back forever, and has historical effects that we don’t even know about. The poor damn Germans found that they couldn’t trust even captured Soviet Army maps, because of it, and had to do massive mapping/resurveying during Barbarossa. Some of the side-effects from that may even have played a role in losing them the war, to be honest.

  16. 68Whiskey

    I haven’t seen the Intelligence Support Activity mentioned in any of these lists. Do they fall under the aegis of “Army Intelligence”?

    1. Hognose Post author

      We don’t talk about elements of the Fight Club that is JSOC. Prior to 1987 the elements that now comprise JSOC and/or their forerunners reported to the President directly through SECDEF; as these elements proliferated, that became unwieldy and the Goldwater Nichols Act of 86 established US Special Operations Command as a joint command, and JSOC is a subordinate “sub-unified” command there. Originally the units assigned there had a global CT mission but like everybody else, they’ve had a lot of mission creep over the years.

      I realize that this doesn’t directly answer the question. Nature of the beast, I’m afraid.

  17. ImnotBitteroranything

    DIA humint and ci… more disfunctional and DC inbread than the other guys. Utter mess. Any useful and unique capabily comes from people far from HQ. Hopefully the new admin kills that useless branch off. Hell hopefully flynn decimates the whole place. If not more than 1 in 10!

    Good luck finding analysts with more than 3yrs on a single target, doing things like developing expertise and long term knowledge. Yeah. Sad fact. Everything is unprecedented emergency when everyone has months of following the topic. There are bright ones that carry the load. They get sent to everything, seconded to duties elsewhere, burn out and leave. Dumb ones stick around forever, being wrong and in the way.

    And no one likes paying for a hard target language acquisition for someone that will quit or be involuntarily moved in a year. And even if you shiw up with one, don’t expect to be assigned to an account where its used.

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