National security, or some of the inside-baseball politics thereof, is shifting.
Within hours of the polls closing and buried in the noise over politics:
NEW ORLEANS – Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. said Tuesday that he has won a “conceptual agreement” to remove the $53 billion national intelligence budget from Pentagon control and place it under his purview by 2013, as part of an effort to enhance his authority over the U.S. intelligence community.
“To me, it’s a win-win,” he told an audience at the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation conference here. Clapper’s deal with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates would take “$50 billion off the top line” of the Pentagon budget and give the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) “more authority and oversight” of the budget. The $27 billion military intelligence budget would remain under the Defense Department, Clapper said.
….With his trademark wry humor, he also said he is bringing back “a certain unnamed intelligence officer from Afghanistan” who wrote a report critical of intelligence gathering there; this officer will help improve intelligence sharing among federal agencies and with state and local agencies. “Hey buddy,” Clapper quipped, “you can help me fix it.” The “buddy” is Maj. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, who wrote his report for the Center for a New American Security. He will become an assistant director at the ODNI
The DNI, who garnered a colossal $ 50 billion in budgetary authority over the IC that formerly resided with Defense, gave up turf on “cybersecurity”, seen as a future gold mine by Pentagon contractors.
It is noteworthy, that among the Democratic fallen in the House yesterday was Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton, a true expert in military affairs with a passion for strategy. Exiting with him are three other moderate Southern Democrats, putting the minority Democrats on Armed Services most likely under the leftist Pelosi ally, Rep. Silvestre Reyes, as new GOP members take over.
Presumably, this intel agreement moves oversight over a vast chunk of sensitive IC activity away from Armed Services to the House Intelligence Committee. Hard to say now exactly to what extent. It would also take defending these programs off of Secretary Gate’s plate when the budget knives come out and into the lap of the DNI and the White House.
Finally, I will add that CNAS is emerging as the equivalent of the RAND of the 21st century.