Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) methods for estimating the size of the Soviet Union's economy focusing, on: (1) how well the CIA has calculated the Soviet gross national product (GNP) both in rubles and as a percentage of U.S. GNP; and (2) prospects for future improvements in CIA estimates.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Central Intelligence Agency||If CIA continues its GNP estimating work, the Director, CIA, should direct the CIA task force to address the key research issues affecting the Agency's Soviet GNP estimates, to the extent that it has not already planned to do so.|
|Central Intelligence Agency||If the conditions in the Soviet Union necessitate that CIA continue to estimate Soviet GNP, the Director, CIA, should present the CIA comparison estimate as a range rather than a single point estimate, and explain the criteria and methodology used to calculate the range.|
|Central Intelligence Agency||If conditions in the Soviet Union necessitate that CIA continue to estimate Soviet GNP, the Director, CIA, should collect Soviet price data to recalculate purchasing power ratios as soon as Soviet economic conditions allow, unless CIA chooses to adopt the results of other comparison efforts, such as the ongoing United Nations-sponsored international comparison of Soviet GNP.|