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Dr. Barnett has a very interesting post up on his visit to brief managers at the CIA. It’s well worth reading in full but at one point he gets meaty and breaks down cabinet and other agencies into Leviathan and System Administration categories:

Leviathan =

Defense Intelligence Agency

Navy Intelligence

Air Force Intelligence

National Security Agency

National Imagery and Mapping Agency

National Reconnaissance Office

CIA’s direct action people

Sys Admin =

Army Intelligence

Marine Corps Intelligence

Coast Guard


Dept of Treasury

Dept of Energy

Dept of Homeland Security

Department of State

CIA analytical

National Intelligence Council

My Commentary:

I’m going to split hairs with Dr. Barnett about the Directorate of Operations, presuming he meant the entire directorate. Clandestine activity by the CIA involves a number of important tasks not all of which will be well carried out by twenty to thirtysomething squarejawed white guys with 1000 yard stares. Espionage is not Sabotage. There are also times and places where it is most politically convenient for the United States to have small, quiet but definitely military operations carried out by people who are not members of the U.S. military. I’m not certain if I want to take that particular arrow entirely out of the president’s quivver just yet.

Ideally, I would separate the Espionage aspect of Clandestine operations from the Paramilitary activities and place it with System Administration. Intelligence collection of a strategic nature tends to get short-shrifted as it is by the flashier and more short term covert ops as well as newsy, high-productivity ” current intelligence “. I can’t see that situation getting better under military authority that emphasizes intelligence of a tactical nature and operates by regulation rather than flexibility.

We need intelligence officers who can blend, engage in long-term, strategic influence operations involving HUMINT recruitment and propaganda. I’m not sure a recently retired member of Delta Force is best suited to recruit a Chinese genetic engineer or lobby a senior editor of a major Turkish newspaper. A variety of backgrounds, skill-sets, languages and physical types are needed for a global class intelligence service, not merely elite military skills.

4 Responses to “”

  1. nadezhda Says:

    Gen Zinni would agree — and extend your observations to the military itself.

    “This administration came in with an idea of transforming the military into something-God knows what-lighter, smaller, quicker, whatever. The bill payer was going to be ground units, heavy units. And now we have a shortage of exactly what we needed out there. Nobody listened to the CINCs. As a matter of fact, they got rid of our name; we couldn’t even be called CINCs anymore. You know, we’re no longer commanders-in-chief; we’re combatant commanders, whatever the hell that means.

    But you’re at the edge of the empire and you see it firsthand. And you know what the requirement is. And we keep screaming back here into the system that we need more. We need to train our officers and leaders for a different kind of mission out there.

    I don’t need someone who’s only good at the killing and breaking, I need somebody that has the breadth of education experience and intellect to take on all the rest of these missions that he or she is going to be saddled with when the shooting stops or when it subsides to some level. They’re the ones that are going to count on the ground out there, more than anything else. And I think that’s the issue in any discussion as to what happens to our military from here on out.”

    chez Nadezhda

  2. mark Says:

    Hi Nad

    Good link.

    In pursuing Rumsfeld’s RMA it’s important to recall that the United States has some assets in terms of hard power for which there are no substitutes and should not be jettisoned. We absolutely need flexibility, adaptability, versatility and System administration in our military forces but it is the power in the punch of armored divisions and carrier groups that tends to make would-be peer competitors say ” forget it – let’s try asymmetric warfare instead, we’ll be more likely to get our licks in with that “

    Both not Either-Or.

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