Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Date of Award

Fall 2014

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department

Department of Political Science

Advisor(s)

Jonathan Keller

Abstract

In the wake of the 9/11 and Iraqi WMD catastrophes, an increased spotlight was placed upon the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC). The widespread criticism of the IC, from both government and public sources, ultimately culminated in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA) in 2004. Today, with a wide array of transnational threats to the homeland, as well as the complex, globalized, high-tech world they thrive in, the role of intelligence remains essential to the national security apparatus.

A new shape for the intelligence reform debate is necessary, one that recognizes the unique role the IC plays in policy making and waging conflicts worldwide. The limitations and challenges that distinguish intelligence from other organizational debates need incorporation. This paper presents a historiography of intelligence reform to offer lessons for the present. In condensing the patterns and trends of IC reform history and elaborating on the features that remain, boundaries and necessary perspective on reform are illuminated.

This study ultimately argues for a set of incremental changes, primarily dealing in the day-to-day work of intelligence analysts. In avoiding much of the scholarship's tendency to call for large-scale reorganization, a more feasible and fruitful framework for future reforms emerges.

Over the course of the history I illustrate, the analysts themselves have remained the key cog to U.S. intelligence machinery. This proves even more valid in today's IC. If improving the IC is necessary, it will come from an environment and framework that allow analysts to create the best possible products.

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