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Overview of the U.S. Intelligence Community
The IC is a federation of executive branch agencies and organizations that work separately and together to conduct intelligence activities necessary for the conduct of foreign relations and the protection of the national security of the United States. These activities include:
- Collection of information needed by the President, the National Security Council, the Secretaries of State and Defense, and other Executive Branch officials for the performance of their duties and responsibilities;
- Collection of information concerning, and the conduct of activities to protect against, intelligence activities directed against the US, international terrorist and international narcotics activities, and other hostile activities directed against the US by foreign powers, organizations, persons, and their agents;
- Administrative and support activities within the US and abroad necessary for the performance of authorized activities;
The United States Intelligence Community (IC) Agencies
The Director of National Intelligence serves as the head of the Intelligence Community (IC) and is the principal advisor to the President, the National Security Council (NSC), and the Homeland Security Council (HSC) for intelligence matters related to national security. The President appoints the DNI with the advice and consent of the Senate. In addition to its staff elements, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence comprises several components to include the national Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), the National Counterintelligence Center (NCIX) and the National Counterproliferation Center (NCPC), each responsible for IC-wide coordination and support. The ODNI’s focus is to promote its vision of a more integrated and collaborative IC.
As a member of the IC, the CIA is the largest producer of all-source national security intelligence for senior US policymakers. The CIA’s intelligence analysis on overseas developments feeds into decisions by policymakers and other senior decision makers in the national security and defense arenas. CIA is headquartered in McLean, Virginia.
As a member of the IC, DIA collects, produces, and manages foreign military intelligence for policy makers and military commanders. It also has major activities at the Defense Intelligence Analysis Center (DIAC), on Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, DC; the Missile and Space Intelligence Center (MSIC), in Huntsville, AL; and the Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center (AFMIC), in Frederick, MD.
The FBI, as an intelligence and law enforcement agency and member of the IC, is responsible for understanding threats to our national security and penetrating national and transnational networks that have a desire and capability to harm the US. The FBI coordinates these efforts with its IC and law enforcement partners. It focuses on terrorism organizations, foreign intelligence services, weapons of mass destruction proliferators, and criminal enterprises. The FBI is headquartered in Washington, DC. It also has 56 field offices and more than 400 satellite offices throughout the US. The FBI also has more than 50 international offices, known as “Legal Attaches,” in embassies worldwide.
As a member of the IC, the NGA collects and creates information about Earth for navigation, national security, US military operations, and humanitarian aid efforts. NGA, which is also part of the Department of Defense (DoD), has facilities in Bethesda, MD (headquarters); St. Louis, MO; Reston, VA and Washington, DC. It also has support teams worldwide.
The NRO was established in September 1961 as a classified agency of the DoD. The existence of the NRO and its mission of overhead reconnaissance were declassified in September 1992. As a member of the IC, the NRO is the “nation’s eyes and ears in space.” Headquartered in Chantilly, VA, the NRO is a joint organization engaged in the research and development, acquisition, launch, and operation of overhead reconnaissance systems necessary to meet the needs of the IC and the DoD.
As a member of the IC, the NSA is the US’s cryptologic organization, with responsibility for protecting US national security information systems and collecting and disseminating foreign signals intelligence. Areas of expertise include cryptoanalysis, cryptography, mathematics, computer science, and foreign language analysis. NSA is part of the Department of Defense, and is staffed by a combination of civilian and military personnel. NSA’s headquarters is at Fort Meade, MD.
The DEA is responsible for enforcing the controlled substance laws and regulations of the US. As a member of the IC, DEA’s ONSI, located at DEA Headquarters in Arlington, VA, facilitates intelligence coordination and information sharing with other members of the IC and homeland security elements. Its goal is to enhance the US’s efforts to reduce the supply of drugs, protect national security, and combat global terrorism.
As a member of the IC, the DOE is responsible for US energy policy and nuclear safety. DOE’s IC component is the OIC, which provides timely technical intelligence analyses on all aspects of foreign nuclear weapons, nuclear materials and energy issues worldwide.
As a member of the IC, the I&A is responsible for using information and intelligence from multiple sources to identify and assess current and future threats to the United States. Although the following are not part of the IC, DHS also has intelligence activities in several components, including US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, Transportation Security Administration, Secret Service, and Citizen and Immigration Services.
As a member of the IC, the INR provides all-source intelligence support to the Secretary of State and other State Department policymakers, including ambassadors, special negotiators, country directors, and desk officers. The INR is responsible for intelligence analysis, policy, and coordination of intelligence activities in support of diplomacy.
As a member of the IC, the Department of Treasury’s OIA supports the formulation of policy and execution of Treasury authorities by providing expert analysis and intelligence production on national security threats and focused intelligence support to Treasury officials on the full range of economic, political, and security issues.
The Department of the Army’s IC component is called Army Military Intelligence (Army MI). It is fully integrated into Armed forces. Army MI’s goal is to provide all-source intelligence that is relevant, useful, and timely to Army and other military personnel at all levels.
As a member of the IC, the mission of Naval Intelligence is to support maritime operations worldwide and defend the US. Naval intelligence professionals are all members of the IC and are deployed throughout the navy and Department of Defense.
The Intelligence Department represents the Marine Corps within the IC on intelligence, counter intelligence, terrorism, classified information, security review, and cryptologic activities. The Marine Corps’ Director of Intelligence (DIRINT) is its principal intelligence staff officer, and is the service’s functional manager for intelligence, counterintelligence, and cryptologic matters. Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA), in Suitland, MD, and Quantico, VA is the USMC service production center.
The Air Force ISR is the Air Force’s main IC component. As a member of the IC, its mission is to organize, train, equip, and present assigned forces and capabilities to conduct intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance for combatant commanders and the nation.
The Coast Guard is one of the five US armed services and is a component of the Department of Homeland Security. As a member of the IC, the Coast Guard identifies and produces intelligence from raw information, assembles and analyzes multi-source operational intelligence, collects and analyzes communication signals using sophisticated computer technology, and provides input to and receives data from multiple computerized intelligence systems.