The Soviet Union’s collapse eliminated the organizing principle of American foreign policy and the focus of U.S. intelligence since World War II. In the wake of this sudden shift, a new host of priorities have been suggested for the intelligence community: terrorism, the proliferation of conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction, organized crime and drug trafficking, ethnic conflicts, and even global economic competition. Meanwhile, the coming of the information age and the opening of more and more societies have prompted arguments for changing the way intelligence is gathered.
In response to this debate, the Twentieth Century Fund assembled a task force drawn from the intelligence community, the military, government, and academia. In the course of its meetings, the task force identified four crucial areas for improvement: first, in an age when information is plentiful, the intelligence community’s analytic capability must be reinvigorated; second, the increasing dominance of the military over intelligence operations is detrimental to the nation’s political, economic, and social concerns–a greater balance must be sought; third, the clandestine service, often a source of publicized embarrassment for the CIA, must be streamlined; fourth, economic intelligence, which has failed more often than it has succeeded, needs to be upgraded and more sharply focused.
The task force was chaired by Ambassador Stephen W. Bosworth, president, Korean Energy Development Organization. The report includes three background papers: “Intelligence in the Post-Cold War Era,” by Allan E. Goodman, associate dean, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University; “Intelligence since Cold War’s End,” by Gregory F. Treverton, director, International Security and Defense Policy Center, the RAND Corporation; and “American Intelligence and the World Economy,” by Philip Zelikow, professor of public policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.