USA & Sharing Intelligence

Subject: Law
Pages: 10
Words: 2559
Reading time:
9 min
Study level: PhD


The importance of security to any country can’t be underestimated and the issue of making one’s homeland secure is complex and it doesn’t work in isolation with any one unit alone but requires cooperation and effort from different agencies and bodies of the country (DHS, 2006).

Security can’t be provided unless there is information available on what is happening and what needs to be done, where and how. The policies are then made following the available information and it is these policies that determine the fate of security and the nation. The essential task of equipping policymakers and different security concerned actors like aviation or military bodies, with relevant information which helps with the nation’s security lies in the hand of intelligence agencies (Best, 2005). Concerning this, the main body which coordinates the overall effort and helps with the security issue and protection of significant infrastructure is The Department of Homeland Security.

But one body is not enough to take care of an issue as important and sensitive as security, therefore, to enhance and improve the security of the nation, both the public and private sectors must work together and this is only possible when these bodies share threat information; conduct different risk assessments; work together to put into action vital upgrades; and invest in various protective measures like arranging for identification of the involved staff and verifying their credibility, looking after the access control, and one of the most important things is the physical security itself of the fixed sites (NSAS, 2007).

National Security Strategy

A national security strategy is essential for the coordinated and integrated effort for the security of a country where information may be collected, analyzed, and shared within the different government bodies for the same purpose and it is this strategy which the intelligence agencies aim at implementing through their various actions.

The national security strategy of the USA is based on two main points and the first one is the promotion of justice, freedom, and dignity of all humans to bring an end to tyranny and implement successful democracy while at the same time making nations prosperous through free trade and developmental policies. The other point is related to facing and meeting cross-border challenges and the development of multinational efforts by showing the way to a community of democratic nations (NSS, 2006).

National Strategy for information sharing

The security-related information can come in through multiple sources and it is not the task of anyone’s body alone; the bodies might be from the government, the private sector, or foreign sources. Any information coming in from one source has to be considered as a part of the information from other sources as sometimes otherwise irrelevant information when combined makes perfect sense.

The security-related information has to be protected but shared with all government levels which include federal, tribal, state, and local levels; the private sector, and foreign partners. After 9/11 various steps were taken by the government such as the introduction of reforms like PATRIOT ACT, the establishment of bodies like DHS and DNI, and the alignment and compatibility of the communication network of the department of treasury with that of the intelligence community’s (NSIS, 2007)..

The information-sharing takes place with an information-sharing environment (ISE) that provides its services to five communities namely foreign affairs, law enforcement, intelligence, defense, and homeland security. Formerly these units used to work in isolation from each other with their communication channels and therefore the sharing of information was difficult; as a result, the partnership was formed between these different units for the exchange of relevant information (NSIS, 2007).

Sharing intelligence

Effective intelligence is important to guide the activities related to law enforcement, center efforts on covert action, and for defining the scope of operations of the USA military. The current emphasis placed on intelligence sharing brings up issues of the confidentiality of broadly disseminated classified information, overcoming drawbacks of sources and methods of intelligence, and maintenance of counterintelligence vigilance. The USA has greatly benefited from foreign liaison agreements and interagency intelligence since as early as the twentieth century (Reveron, 2006).

There are various ways in which information may be shared. One method is that countries collect intelligence information from a particular area in their homeland and then exchange it from the USA in return for their intelligence information. Sometimes a foreign country allows the USA to collect intelligence information from its premises on the condition that the information will be shared or the USA may hire local services from the region for collection information and then sharing it and finally the best means is when a foreign service and USA both collaborate on the collection of information.

The best intelligence sources are based on foreign allies who are the most appropriate partners in terms of geography, culture, and experience. The National Intelligence strategy has three main objectives for developing intelligence relationships which include forming partnerships with foreign agencies, coordination with foreign intelligence services, and that the information received from foreign sources is taken into consideration. The extent to which intelligence information is shared with a particular country depends greatly on the diplomatic relations with it (Reveron, 2006).

Interagency & the foreign policy

Foreign policy plays a key role in the way a country maintains its intelligence sharing with other countries. When it comes to international security, the main body which has been bestowed with the national power to implement foreign policy is the Department of Defense. Though concerning unified commanders, the role of those serving as the lead agents in this area is debatable and so is the question if they are playing their part (Kellerher, 2002).

In 2001, under the supervision of, National Security Presidential Directive 1, interagency arrangements were redefined under the policy coordination committees to not only manage but also develop and implement the policy of national security. Formerly, there were interagency working groups that reflected different regional and functional organizations but they have now been replaced by committees that are meant for the same purpose by giving various recommendations which are based on the combined input of various agencies including the Departments of State and Defense.

With respect to combatant commanders, for the purpose of coordinating interagency actions ongoing at different places on a strategic/operational level, there are two basic means. Firstly there are POLADs who are the political advisors responsible for providing recommendations on the interactions of politics and military interaction; the second means refer to country teams where different commands have adopted supplementary local mechanisms. Both of these bodies are essential for the proper coordination and working of regional planning, otherwise if considered alone, nonmilitary elements are not integrated properly by either of the means successfully into joint or combined operations (Kellerher, 2002).

Aviation & intelligence sharing

The Air domain is under increased threat due to factors like globalization, the proliferation of WMDs, global terrorism. This necessitates the urge to expand the domain’s reach, increase its speed and potential impact. Aviation is a global enterprise whose infrastructure is distributed and has multiple access points. The secure working of the aviation system is important for the security and economic prosperity of a country.

To achieve the security of aviation, the activities of public and private aviation should be integrated so as to identify, dissuade, put off, and overcome threats to the Air Domain. The interagency intelligence sharing strategy with respect to aviation brings into line the security programs of the Federal government and its initiatives into a complete and consistent national effort involving various government and private sector bodies.

In order to defeat the numerous threats that are faced by the Air Domain, an understanding, and coordinated effort is required globally for action. The effort should be supplemented by forming and amplifying partnerships between the government and the private sector in order to make smooth progress in the implementation of security measures. The USA also has a coordinated policy for achieving security activities in co ordination with foreign governments, private sector, international and regional organizations. Domain awareness is vital for the success of all strategic actions and interagency acquisition and logistics processes are aimed at supporting and optimizing the allotment of suitable resources and capabilities (NSAS, 2007).

Role of intelligence in combating terrorism

One of the biggest threats to the security of America is terrorism. The country is fighting against an international terrorist movement which is promoted further as a result of an ideology framed by murder, oppression, and hatred. To win the war against this terrorism, the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism was published in February 2003 and aimed at defending the Homeland, the citizens, and their livelihoods. The prototype for fighting terrorism integrates all elements of power and influence. The security of the land will be kept intact by using military power, diplomatic means, finances, intelligence, and law enforcement activities.

According to the strategy, democracies will support the fight against terrorism; steps will be taken to prevent attacks by terrorist networks; WMDs will be denied to those who seek to assist the terrorists in using them; denial of any form of support to terrorists and building of structure and institutions that will provide assistance in the implementation of the strategy.

The architecture has been strengthened to react to and prevent terrorism by creating the Office of DNI, Department of Homeland Security, and the National Counterterrorism Center. Besides, there has been a development of twelve universal conventions and protocols and their enforcement is in place by not only the support of the United Nations but also different U.N. Security Council Resolutions about the fight against terror. To coordinate open-source intelligence, the DNI has also launched an Open Source Center that will ensure the integration of this information into Intelligence Community products.

In addition to this, a National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) has also been established and this acts as a multi-agency center that analyzes and integrates all intelligence that is linked to terrorism, develops, implements, and assesses if the counterterrorism objectives are being achieved effectively. To assist the NCTC, National Counterproliferation Center was also established. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has also been integrated with the Intelligence Community, the CIA also has transformed to efficiently manage and coordinate overseas human intelligence operations (NSCT, 2006).

Homeland security

To secure the country, a Strategy has been designed to direct, arrange, and fuse the different security efforts, and this strategy supplements the strategy for combating terrorism. The main idea behind security is that it is a shared responsibility that is based on various partnerships. The different bodies including pri­vate and non-profit sectors, communities, Tribal, Local, Federal, and State governments, and individual citizens have the shared responsibility and accountability for defending the country (NSHS, 2007).

The Federal Government plays its part in those areas where it has the unique potential to tackle catastrophic or consequential scenarios. It is also responsible for the development of national strategies and using targeted funding based on the approach of risk management to help ensure that security partners are effectively and efficiently working together. State, local, and Tribal governments, are the ones who have the best understanding about their com­munities and the unique requirements of their citizens; they are responsible for being prepared and providing a frontline role in assisting the prevention of terrorist attacks and responding to natural and man-made emergencies.

The private players act in important areas of research and devel­opment, supply chain security, critical infrastructure protection, science, technology, and other innovations. Similarly, the non-profit sector provides support services to the Nation, especially after an incident. According to the strategy, America will keep on developing and fortifying foreign partnerships and security competencies of its allies as the local security has a strong connection to cross border security where the protection of their lands by global partners increases the security of the country (NSHS, 2007).


Another vital factor in the issue of security and intelligence sharing is the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). The purpose of DNI is to administer the efforts of the national intelligence and serve the President as an adviser of the principal intelligence. To assist the DNI, a separate director of the Central Intelligence Agency is also present. The Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) has the responsibility to provide intelligence information to the President, the department heads, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, commander of the senior military, the Executive Branch agencies, and when the needs arise, also to the House of Representatives, the Senate and the committees thereof (Best, 2005).

Because of recent legislation, National Intelligence Council (NIC) has been included in the office of the DNI. Besides the NIC, there are National Intelligence Officers (NIOs) who are senior analysts, for the regions of Africa, East Asia, Europe, Latin America, Near East and South Asia, Russia, and Eurasia. The NIOs deal with issues related to Economics and Global concern, Intelligence Assurance, Military, Transnational Threats, Warning, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Proliferation. There are NIOs who have an official status and those who do not have Senate confirmation; the ones who without Senate confirmation come from various government agencies, both within and outside the Intelligence Community, as well as from the private sector (Best, 2005).


Another actor in important to the intelligence sharing is The Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The DHS is involved in different intelligence and information sharing activities that aim at providing information, which is important and related to the intelligence, to different bodies which include federal partners, National leadership, components of DHS, tribal, local, state, territorial, and private sector.

The DHS produces information that is accurate and on time by gathering information from the various relevant fields of DHS operations and then combine them with information from other Intelligence Community members. DHS has the authorization to receive, analyze and assess information from bodies of law enforcement, the Intelligence Community, and different non-traditional sources to use and share it for national and homeland security (DHS, 2006).

The DHS performs different intelligence analyses and is responsible for the coordination of operations at the federal level inside America in order to arrange, counter, and pull through emergencies like terrorist attacks. It is also responsible for interagency intelligence and maintains links with other national intelligence organizations (DHS, 2006).


With all the technical mechanisms used by the intelligence services, what is lacking is specialized human intelligence. There is a lack of linguists, certain countries that are still out of reach, and the difficult challenge of infiltrating tribal organizations (Reveron, 2006).

Besides what is easily observable are the institutional weakness at the strategic/operational level where policy is formulated but its implementation phase brings up various issues (Kelleher, 2002). Therefore, a proper plan or strategy should be put into action for the implementation of the policies.

With many different bodies to look after the intelligence issues, there is a need to effectively coordinate the intelligence and augment how information is collected and analyzed (Best, 2005).

A proper flow or hierarchy should be created for the flow of intelligence data in times of need as this will create coordination between different intelligence bodies but it should be assured that the access to information remains open to all who are concerned (IACP, 2002).

An electronic information system should be created which will allow the information to be shared easily through a secured channel and coordinate the efforts of the different local and foreign bodies (IACP, 2002).


DHS 2006, ‘DHS intelligence enterprise strategic plan‘. Web.

Best, R. A. 2005, ‘The Director of national Intelligence and Intelligence analysis’, CRS Report for Congress RS21948. Web.

NSAS 2007, ‘National Strategy for Aviation Security’. Web.

NSS 2006, ‘The National Security Strategy’. Web.

NSIS 2007, ‘National Strategy for information sharing’. Web.

Reveron, D.S. 2006, ‘Old Allies, new friends: Intelligence sharing on the war on terror’. Web.

Kellerher P. N., 2002, ‘cross boundries: interagency cooperation and the military’. Web.

NSCT 2006, ‘National Strategy for combating terrorism’. Web.

NSHS 2007, ‘National Strategy for Homeland Security’. Web.

IACP 2002, ‘Criminal Intelligence Sharing: A National Plan for Intelligence-Led Policing at the Local, State and Federal Levels’. Web.