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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/27/14

Rebuilding National Intelligence -- A 12-Step Plan

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GOOD: Reform must be job and revenue neutral, state by state and district by district. I watched a perfectly good (and relatively modest) National Security Act of 1992 go down in flames because on the one hand then SecDef Dick Cheney refused to release control over the intelligence funds hidden in the defense budget, and on the other Senator John Warner (R-VA) interpreted any attempt to "right-size" the secret world as a diminution of jobs in Northern Virginia. He forced the creation of the Aspin-Brown Commission precisely to derail the National Security Act of 1992. I learned from this -- if I am ever given an opportunity to unscrew the US IC, it will be on the basis of a firm promise to Congress that I will strive to do so on a job and revenue neutral basis. I have no problem with them collecting 5% kick-backs but I do have a problem with the taxpayer's money being spent in the most useless fashion possible.

Separately I have addressed seven false premises that have blocked intelligence reform for the last quarter century.[33] Those seven myths -- unquestioned by the sycophantic mainstream media -- must be destroyed in the public mind. Edward Snowden has helped do just that by producing documentary evidence of malfeasance on such a grand scale that the public is now ready to question all the lies they have been told for a quarter century about the essential value of the secret intelligence world.

What Is To Be Done?

In the closing years of the Obama-Biden Administration, as Joe Biden contemplates a run for the Presidency in 2016, as Barack Obama contemplates his legacy being defined by Edward Snowden and mass surveillance of US citizens -- with many more exposures to come on NSA over the next two years, it is my view that there could be nothing more salutary for the Republic than a National Security Act of 2014 called The Smart Nation Act. I have worked with a tiny handful of individuals, including Congressman Rob Simmons (R-CT-02), on this matter, and have published extensively on this precise question.[34]

There are two options.

OPTION A: Limit The Smart Nation Act to the creation of the Open Source Agency (OSA) under diplomatic auspices with military funding, and let myself and a few others get on with doing what we wanted to do 25 years ago -- launch a lifeboat to create a shared understanding between Congress, the Executive, and the public of what the facts are across all mission areas.[35]

OPTION B: Go for the whole enchilada. I am reminded that Amy Zegart, a protege of Condi Rice, came to the conclusion in her book Flawed by Design: The Evolution of the CIA, JCS, and NSC,[36] that the secret intelligence world is so flawed that there is no point to attempting remediation around the edges. The President has to decide if he wants a Smart Nation -- and a legacy -- or not.

I can execute either option. But the President has to want to change.

If Option A is selected, a handful of DoD officers have all the planning documentation in hand and are ready to get this up and running with White House level results within 90 days and stunning impact across Whole of Government within 180 days. There is still time for an Obama legacy rooted in intelligence with integrity.

If Option B is selected, The Smart Nation Act would be structured as a 12-point program integrating and refining the following provisions:

01 The Smart Nation Act will strive to be job and revenue neutral, state by state, district by district.

02 Create the Open Source Agency (OSA) as recommended on pages 23 and 413 of the 9/11 Commission Report.[37] This agency would set the gold standard for what can be known -- and easily shared with Congress, the media, and the public -- across both national security topics and all of the domestic and foreign topics not now covered by the classified world (roughly 200 in number, at $10 million per year each, this justifies the $2 billion a year Final Operating Capability (FOC) of the OSA.[38] This agency would have only one mission, that of the development of accurate and timely open source information (intelligence) in support of executive branch decision making and policy formulation with the proviso that such decision-support could be easily shared with Congress, the press, the public and of course our many multinational allies both governmental and non-governmental. This agency, approved twice by OMB,[39] would be funded and managed by DoD under diplomatic auspices as a sister agency to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) -- OSA as knowledge in, BBG as knowledge out. It would play a role in presidential direction of all nationally-funded research and contribute substantially to revitalizing US education at all levels on all topics.[40] This would be the first government agency to organize itself to support every Cabinet department and federal agency across all four levels of analysis (strategic, policy, acquisition, operations) as illustrated below, while giving Congress an exact copy of the decision-support being given to the Executive. For the first time in history, the oversight committees and the varied levels of the federal government being overseen, would be fully informed.

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Figure 6: Organizational Concept for Open Source Agency Decision-Support Services

03 Eliminate the DNI and restore the DCI. This is essential. The vast bureaucracy of the DNI has made matters worse. At the same time, The Smart Nation Act must give the restored DCI financial control at the line item level with a strong emphasis on documenting Return on Investment (ROI). Collection that cannot be processed should not be funded. The DCI should end subsidies to foreign intelligence services and close overseas bases and collection activities that do not yield useful information for processing.

04 Activate the "M" in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). There is no management in OMB today, only number crunching and budget share negotiation. A former DNI -- all good men of great intellect and moral fiber, defeated by a bad system -- would be an ideal candidate for the position of Deputy Director of OMB for Management. Their mission would be to cross-walk the total federal budget against the ten high-level threats to humanity, across all policy domains without regard to bureaucratic boundaries.[41] I would contemplate placing the National Intelligence Council within the Executive Office of the President, perhaps as an advisory body to DD/OMB/M.

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Robert Steele is a former spy -- one of the first to chase terrorists in the 1980's -- who has become known for his global proponency of Open Source Everything (OSE). Raised abroad by a father born in New York and a mother born in Colombia, he spent four years on active duty as a Marine Corps infantry officer and S-1/Adjutant (personnel and (more...)

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