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Intelligence After Next: The IC Is Missing a Unified Set of Prioritized Intelligence Needs

By William Gray , Mihai Lungulescu

While the Intelligence Community (IC) has critical intelligence needs, it lacks a codified process to identify and prioritize them. Establishing a formal process utilizing functions across the Office of the Director of National Intelligence will deliver a prioritized mission needs baseline that enables other IC processes.

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The Intelligence Community (IC) currently lacks the processes to develop a unified set of prioritized needs for senior leadership to address capability gaps. While Intelligence Community Directive (ICD) 115, Intelligence Community Capability Requirements Process, references critical intelligence needs, this concept has never been fully developed, resulting in everything being considered a critical intelligence need. The lack of a prioritized IC-wide critical intelligence needs list aligned to capability gaps leads to ineffective and inefficient allocation of resources to deliver capabilities.

Developing a system to identify a unified set of prioritized gaps, or prioritized critical intelligence needs, would help senior leaders make informed decisions to better address the Community’s most pressing needs. It could also be used to help shape other key processes, such as developing future strategic guidance, future year fiscal planning, mission value frameworks, etc.

We propose the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) establish a formal ODNI-led, IC-wide priority intelligence need (PIN) process, where functions across ODNI are utilized to facilitate greater coordination and integration. This will deliver a prioritized mission needs baseline that enables the alignment of other key ODNI and Community processes.