Strategic intelligence, also known as STRATINT is an important aspect of managing a nation’s security, stability, and at some point, even its economy. Strategic intelligence deals with the process of collecting, analyzing, processing, disseminating, and verifying intelligence information that is usually required in forming future policies, and in improving already existing ones that would most likely affect a country’s military and security plans and protocols, both in the national and international levels. This type of intelligence can actually be applied to any type of organization, regardless of its size: it can be applied in businesses and more so, and evidently, in a government. This paper revolves around the topic of recurrent strategic intelligence, focusing on at least two strategic themes that has been formed or implemented after the Second World War—in the contemporary era of U. S. intelligence. The history of U. S. intelligence can be traced back to the early days of the U. S. republic, when the first and second continental congresses were formed. Back then, and even after many years, the U. S. intelligence community still presents with significant loopholes that has actually been discovered in the past history-turning events that happened, such as the Second World War, the series of bombings that happened in September 2001, the war with Iraq, etc. This gives us a concrete rationale to conduct a review on the U. S.’s strategic intelligence.
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The National Security Act of 1947
If there is one government organization in the U. S. that anyone would reckon to be the most credible, and knowledgeable in the latest trends and strategies in conducting intelligence-related procedures, that would be the Central Intelligence Agency or CIA. The history of the CIA can be traced back to as early as 1947, or during the time when the western allies—after bringing down Germany and the Axis powers to their knees, were already beginning to drawdown their military forces. The CIA is one of the several organizations that were formed as a result of the National Security Act of 1947. The CIA, under the first and non-amended version of the National Security Act of 1947 was originally made to perform civilian intelligence procedures only with “ no police law or law enforcement functions, either at home or abroad”. However , after several revisions and amendments, it has already been evident, in the past years, that the CIA is now allowed to conduct intelligence-related raids, tactical missions, and other types of engagements, whenever necessary, thanks to their new tactical and field operations department. But then again, it is important to note that CIA is and will still remain a civilian government agency.
The National Security Act of 1947’s purpose was to establish a system in realigning and reforming, and reorganizing the Armed Forces of the United States, its foreign policies, as well as the intelligence community, after the World War II, or the early cold war era. One of the most important events that happened after the ratification of the act was the formation and replacement of various government agencies: CIA replaced the OSS (the Office of Strategic Services); the establishment of the U. S. Department of the Air Force which made the Air Forces have their own service; and the Department of the Navy and the Department of War was merged to form the National Military Establishment which was supposed to report to the Secretary of Defense.
The U. S. officials have realized during the early phases of the Second World War that there is a great possibility that there would be a recession, since all superpowers were channeling virtually all of their resources and efforts towards the military aspect of their governments, neglecting the economic aspect in the process. This is actually one of the believed reasons as to the question why the U. S. tried to evade clashes with the ones already involved in the war. However, after having one of its strategic bases attacked by the Empire of Japan, they were forced to enter the war. The end result was a financial fiasco. All of the country’s resource reserves were pushed near their limits, some governments actually faced collapse, after the war. The United States suffered from a major recession, a stimuli that prompted the government to initiate several economic stimulation programs aimed to relieve the people from unemployment and poverty.
Aside from the reorganization of the military, the National Security Act of 1947 also caused the formation of the National Security Council, which basically serves as the agora of all information and procedures that are related to national security, national security policies, operating under the executive branch of the government. This was so far the most significant part of the act because of the formation of the NSC. The formation of the NSC was basically aimed at advising the president on the different possible options on foreign, domestic, and military policies, highlighting higher quality of cooperation and efficiency.
The ratification of the National Security Act of 1947 paved concrete ways towards the improvement of the U. S. intelligence gathering procedures, which proved to be one of their weaknesses during the World War, a weakness that caused significant loss of lives, and also waste of resources. In a way, this reform also targeted non-war-related issues about intelligence because of the establishment of the CIA, which we would like to reiterate, is civilian peace-time intelligence processing agency.
The Homeland Security Act
In the 11th of September, year 2001, hijackers, which were later on identified as members of an international terrorist group named Al Qaeda—headed by Osama Bin Laden, attempted to crash several hijacked passenger airplanes into four different U. S. infrastructures. The attempt to put down the Twin Tower, the World Trade Center was successful, killing hundreds of people in the two planes and thousands of people inside the two towers. The attempt to crash airplanes on the Pentagon was also allegedly successful, although there were no official media report and resources of the Pentagon incident. But according to news reports, one division of the Pentagon got destroyed after the incident. The fourth plane was supposed to crash into the Whitehouse, but unfortunately it failed, crashing the plane into a farmland, killing hundreds of people inside the plane. The U. S. still mourns for the deaths of the innocent people for over a decade now. But the one question that popped into the top U. S. officials’ head at the time was “ how did the hijackers come out successful in doing their mission inside the U. S.?” This opened discussions and debates regarding the level of security and the effectiveness of the security protocols being implemented in the country. But by solely basing the answer on what happened on the September 2001acts of terrorism, we could easily but still rationally suggest that there are some big loopholes on the homeland security efforts of the government. Either, they are enforcing teeth-less laws or there are no laws at all. Should the government divert more attention on improving its homeland security protocols? The top U. S. officials’ answer to the question was a unanimous yes. The then president, George W. Bush himself acknowledged the need for an urgent reform. In a way, this makes sense because the longer they keep the proposals hanging on for approval of the different government bodies and branches, the more they are exposing themselves to the different threats to national security So, in November 2002, over a year after the series of bombings that killed thousands of people in the U. S., the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (HAS of 2002) was ratified. This act was the government’s response to the terrorist attacks that happened over a year ago during that time and also to the subsequent spread of mails and parcels filled with harmful anthrax spores. The United States Department of Homeland Security, a new cabinet department, was established, which also opened the position of Secretary of Homeland Security. Basically, the DHS acts as an integration center for all existing U. S. government agencies like the Customs Service, Coast Guard, Secret Service, and their respective services, although with greater focus and emphasis on homeland security issues. Prior to the ratification of the HS Act, the Office of Homeland Security already existed, although it did not have a clear and targeted set of scopes compared to the DHS. Also, it would be important to know that the DHS only superseded and not replaced the Office of Homeland Security. The main responsibility of the DHS is to prevent any form of terrorist attacks in the U. S., minimize damages as a result of such attacks, should one or two slip by their prevention protocols, and perform intelligence operations that are related to acts of terrorism that will affect the United States and its citizens. However, even with such role, the responsibility and duty of investigating terrorist activities and prosecuting identified perpetrators still remain at the hands of the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation). The HS Act just gives the DHS the permission to perform advisory and analytical roles in terrorism-related intelligence activities.
This reform would definitely be of great help to the U. S. and its people as it encourages the people to have peace of mind, peace of mind that the government, as far as its capabilities are concerned would not let any attacks similar to the 9/11 bombings happen again. This Act definitely aims to improve the U. S. security and intelligence capabilities and makes it prepared to face future trends and patterns in national security.
The National Security Act of 1947 and the Homeland Security Act of 2002, in terms of the degree of reorganization involved, was just similar in multitude. The catalyst behind the enactment of the NSA of 1947 was the intelligence failures and shortcomings that the U. S. experienced during the WWII and the possible security threats during the early cold war period. The catalyst behind the enactment of the HAS of 2002 on the other hand was the 9/11 series of bombings and the subsequent spread of anthrax-spore-filled mails and parcels. Reviewing the trend, it is clear that the U. S. bases its future reforms on the most recent shortcomings of the government in terms of intelligence and security. In a nutshell, they use a problem-oriented approach in reforming and reorganizing the government.
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