The Intelligence Community should improve how it manages its workforce and infrastructure to fulfill its mission of providing intelligence to decision makers.
The U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) consists of 18 organizations, such as the intelligence components of the five military services within the Department of Defense (DOD) as well as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). These organizations independently and collaboratively gather, analyze, and produce the intelligence necessary to conduct foreign relations and national security activities. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which heads the IC, works to ensure that things like standards, processes, and tools across the community are standardized and efficient.
The U.S. Intelligence Community
Note: In January 2021, the intelligence element of the U.S. Space Force—Space Intelligence—became an official part of the U.S. Intelligence Community and the 18th organization that comprises the U.S. Intelligence Community. This figure does not reflect the U.S. Space Force seal.
However, the IC could improve how it manages intelligence infrastructure, builds a capable and diverse workforce, and supports military operations.
- Intelligence infrastructure: The IC has worked on its organizational structure and management of resources, such as infrastructure and business systems. However, the IC could improve these efforts, particularly in terms of incorporating best practices into its efforts, guidance, and processes. For instance, the Defense Intelligence Agency plans to replace its military intelligence database that contains intelligence collected on foreign militaries with a new system. However, the agency has not planned adequately for ongoing, robust engagement with stakeholders during the new system’s development. Doing so could help identify and resolve issues early.
- Workforce: The IC has made some progress in ensuring that it has a capable and diverse workforce—which is critical to its ability to deliver distinctive, timely insights with clarity, objectivity, and independence. For example, the IC follows many leading practices for managing workforce diversity, but could do more to enhance planning, measure progress, and assess barriers. While the IC has reported an increase among some demographic groups in the last 5 years, the proportions of women and racial or ethnic minorities stayed below federal workforce benchmarks between fiscal years 2011 and 2019. The proportions of persons with disabilities in the IC also didn't meet federal goals.
Intelligence Community Workforce Compared to the Federal Workforce and Civilian Labor Force
- Support for military operations: The IC’s intelligence is a critical element in planning U.S. military operations, and the community has worked to strengthen its management and oversight of its efforts to support global military operations. However, the IC could improve how it manages these efforts. For instance, DOD uses certifications to determine that its employees have the necessary education, training, and experience to carry out their duties. However, DOD does not have such certifications for some personnel that provide intelligence support to its weapons acquisition programs. Additionally, DOD’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA) uses information from the IC to develop systems to address the threat of ballistic missiles. The MDA has recently increased its interaction with the IC, but further collaboration could help the MDA keep pace with evolving threats.