The United States Intelligence Community
Posted by Pamela S. on Friday, July 20th, 2012
Yesterday, I wrote about how the Internet is dumbing us down. Today’s post is all about intelligence; the kind that protects the people of America. Many regular folks are familiar with the FBI, the CIA, the DEA, and some other government intelligence agencies; however there are plenty more. The United States Intelligence Community (IC) is a coalition of 17 United States government agencies that work independently and together on national security and foreign relations intelligence gathering.
The IC is headed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The position of Director is currently held by James R. Clapper, Jr. He reports directly to the President. These 17 member organizations aren’t the only intelligence gatherers in government. According to an article in the Washington Post, “Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.”
The 17 IC member agencies are:
- Air Force Intelligence
- Army Intelligence
- Central Intelligence Agency
- Coast Guard Intelligence
- Defense Intelligence Agency
- Department of Energy
- Department of Homeland Security
- Department of State
- Department of the Treasury
- Drug Enforcement Administration
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Marine Corps Intelligence
- National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
- National Reconnaissance Office
- National Security Agency
- Navy Intelligence
- Office of the Director of National Intelligence
How do Members of the IC collect and assess information? There are five steps in the intelligence gathering process:
During the management phase the IC determine what information needs to be gathered to provide proper answers. This step can involve input from a number of officials, including the President.
- Data Gathering
There area six basic intelligence sources acquired through various means, such as physical and technical surveillance, interviews, searches, human sources and others.
The six sources (as published on the IC website) are:
- Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) The interception of signals, whether between people, between machines, or a combination of both.
- Imagery Intelligence (IMINT) Representations of objects reproduced electronically or by optical means on film, electronic display devices, or other media.
- Measurement and Signature Intelligence (MASINT) Scientific and technical intelligence information used to locate, identify, or describe distinctive characteristics of specific targets
- Human-Source Intelligence (HUMINT) The oldest method for collecting information, this is intelligence derived from human sources.
- Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) Publicly available information appearing in print or electronic form including radio, television, newspapers, journals, the Internet, commercial databases, and videos, graphics, and drawings.
- Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) Imagery and mapping data produced through an integration of imagery, imagery intelligence, and geospatial information.
The collected data is filtered and synthesized into a form analysts can use. For example, decoding and translating materials.
- Analysis and Reporting
Materials are analysed and organized into a proper report.
The reviewed and correlated data is made available to the appropriate agencies or individuals.
All Americans should familiarize themselves with the work of these agencies. It will help you to understand the kind of work that they do, and the reasons why. The member agencies of the IC work to protect the United States against terrorism, chemical warfare, biological warfare, information infrastructure attack, such as computer based attacks, narcotics trafficking, and the proliferation of weapons by other countries.
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