The United States intelligence community (IC) incorporates sixteen agencies or rather organizations and one entity that is overarching, the office of the national intelligence director, within the executive branch that is one of the three arms of the government. The intelligence community works collaboratively and independently to gather the necessary information to undertake national and foreign security activities (Bray, 2006). The paper will base its discussion much on the examination of the elements of the intelligence community agencies. The paper further will focus on the intelligence support to homeland security policy makers and the practitioner.
The intelligence community through its agencies incorporates the elements such as collection, analysis, counterintelligence and covert action with the aim of upholding the United States national security both within the nation and within the foreign nations. From these elements, the government, military, and the security agencies can gather information t6hat regards the law enforcement and the national agencies (Johnson, 2011).
The first element of the intelligence community is the collection. The aspect of the collection refers to raw data gathering through exploration of open sources example publications, radio, and television, in either case, espionage, and any available technical means. The national technical means (NTM) is the euphemism for intelligence collection by satellites reconnaissance. The national technical is responsible for the task of referencing to the United States national reconnaissance office (NRO) (Johnson, 2011). The national technical means involves imagery intelligence, electronic intelligence, and signal intelligence in getting the best from their task of collecting data for security purposes (Bray, 2006).
Collection of raw data under the elements of intelligence community in the United States bases there data collection on six sources that is the human-source intelligence (HUMINT), signals intelligence (SIGINT), imagery intelligence (IMINT), open-source intelligence (OSINT), geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) and lastly the measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT) (Bray, 2006). From these six sources of collection incorporated together contributes to the development of homeland security intelligence to a wider perspective. As we can see from a few of these sources, example the HUMINT or rather the human intelligence enables the agencies to obtain information at the lowest level and more sensitive in that it is the human who is involved mostly with the matters regarding security. From HUMINT, the intelligence community retrieves the most sensitive information from individuals who seems to know some information that is of importance to the intelligence community (Johnson, 2011).
The second element of the intelligence community is the analysis. In this case, Analysis is the transformation of the information collected from the collection process. The policymakers, military commanders, and the practitioners transform the information collected by the respective agencies into something that is useful and reasonable. The product of the intelligence can take the formality of a memorandum, briefings, database, or any other channel that is of use in presenting information (National Commission on Terrorism, 2001). The intelligence analysts can use various analyzes in the process processing data to the required information. In this case, they can incorporate the use of the cryptanalysis, which refers to the analytic investigation of information with the aim of bringing out the hidden aspects of the system. The use of cryptanalysis does much in the provision of the most urgent information to the intelligence community that is therefore of importance to the homeland security intelligence. In addition, the analysis of the information got from the sources by different agencies divided into telemetry analysis that seeks to recover, derive intelligence and understand intelligence from the foreign signals (Wannall, 1999).
The third element of the intelligence community is the covert action that is later followed by counterintelligence. Covert action refers to the foreign policy tool that incorporates activities that are outside the operations of traditional intelligence collection. In other terms refers to the action of the intelligence community influences largely the course of political events as the operations of the government intelligence expands. The covert operation to greater perspective intends to create a political effect that has implications for the law enforcement and the military. In addition, covert as an element of the intelligence community aims at fulfilling their objectives and aims without anybody knowing who carried out the operations (Wannall, 1999). On the other hand, the counter-intelligence, therefore, refers to the gathered information and activities conducted to protect against sabotage or any other intelligence activities. With the help of this element, the intelligence process has been enhanced to greater heights enabling the security agencies to maintain homeland security intelligence (National Commission on Terrorism, 2001).
The 9/11 Commission report notes that there is a very big disparity between the response to domestic threats and the foreign threats.it is clearly articulated by the 9/11 commission report that the foreign intelligence agencies example the central intelligence agencies (CIA) paid much attention to the foreign threats to the interest of the United States. On the other hand, the domestic agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) waited for information from the sleeper cells. None of these agencies considered the foreign threats that infiltrated to the domestic threats of attack .the 9/11 Commission further reports that the domestic agencies had none to give them directions in matters regarding the foreign intelligence. This action or lack of directions for the domestic agencies leads to many terrorist threats to the nation (National Commission on Terrorism, 2001).
The United States intelligence community abbreviated as (IC) with the help of the agencies incorporates the elements of intelligence that involves collection, analysis, covert action and counterintelligence to undertake their duties for the importance of the human security both nationally and globally.
Bray, David A. ‘Collective Intelligence And Knowledge Ecosystems: The Future Of The U.S. Intelligence Community’. SSRN Electronic Journal (2005)
Johnson, Loch K. ‘National Security Intelligence In The United States: A Performance Checklist’. Intelligence and National Security 26, no. 5 (2011): 607-615.
National Commission on Terrorism (2001). The 9/11 Commission Report
Wannall, W. Raymond. ‘The FBI’s Domestic Intelligence Operations: Domestic Security In Limbo’. International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence 4, no. 4 (1999): 443-473.