REVIEW: Fixing Intelligence. For a More Secure America


By Lt. Gen. William E. Odom, US Army, Ret. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002. 230 pages.


There are two very important themes running through this book, and they earn the author a solid four stars and a “must read” recommendation. First, the author is correct and compellinging clear when he points out that even the most senior intelligence professionals, including DCIs, simply do not understand the full range of intelligence organizations, capabilities, and problems that exist–just about everyone has spent their entire career in a small niche with its own culture. Second, the author is unique for focusing on an area that is both vital and ignored today: that of creating joint and combined intelligence concepts and doctrine to ensure that minimal common understandings as well as training competency levels are reached across varied jurisdictions; and to enable competent community resource management, also non-existent today.

The author is positively instructive in this book, providing both trenchant indictments (for instance, of the National Reconnaisance Office for being oriented toward big budgets and inputs rather than missions and outputs), and many common sense observations that all need to be factored into whatever the Senate finally decides to do about intelligence reform. Among the many important points that he makes, I especially agree with his pointing out the need to fully integrate the management of inputs and outputs within each of the major collection disciplines–as he notes, disconnecting the building of satellites, or aerial imagery vehicles, or unmanned aerial drones, from the actual needs of the end-user and the actual responsibility to produce imagery intelligence, leads to precisely what the National Imagery and Mapping Agency Commission Report of December 1999 noted as the major shortfall in national intelligence–close to a trillion spent on secret satellite collection, and nothing spent on tasking, processing, exploitation, and dissemination (TPED). The author specifically identifies $6 billion in savings being achievable from the NRO budget over five years–savings that..

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