U.S. Intelligence: 12 Steps to Collective Intelligence Harnessing All Seven Tribes
Robert David Steele 04.18.06, 6:00 PM ET
What will it take to create a Smart Nation that harnessed the distributed collective intelligence of
the Whole Earth and creates actionable Collective Intelligence?
Here are twelve steps to comprehensive reform.
1. Authority. Over-rule the Secretary of Defense and consolidate the three national agencies
now under defense and comprising 85% of the intelligence budget, under the Director of
National Intelligence (DNI).
2. Collection of Secrets. Consolidate control over the secret collection elements (clandestine
human spies, satellite and earth-based technical collection) under the Director of Classified
Intelligence (DCI), while converting the National Reconnaissance Office into the National
Collection Agency with divisions for each secret collection discipline.
3. Collection of Open Sources. At the same time, create a new Open Source Agency under
diplomatic auspices with a Director of Public Intelligence (DPI) appointed for life, and a Board
of Governors comprised of former Presidents, former Leaders from the Senate and House, and
retired Supreme Court Justices. Fund this agency at $3 billion a year (5% of the existing $60
billion a year average secret intelligence budget), with half going to pay $10 million a year for
each of 150 Third World or non-traditional threat targets; and the other half for 50 domestic
Community Intelligence Centers and county-level networks where citizens can input information
via 119 and 114 numbers. The Open Source Agency (OSA) will serve as the hub for funding
and nurturing the World Brain through the Open Source Information System (OSIS), and will
work through the U.S. Military to create Multinational Information Operations Centers (MIOC)
(see point 6 below) that energize the contributions of the seven tribes of intelligence (national,
military, law enforcement, business, academic, ground truth (non-governmental organizations
and media) and civil (citizens, labor unions, religions).
4. Processing. Convert the National Security Agency into the National Processing Agency, with
the ability to take in and make sense of all information in all languages all the time.
5. Analysis. Convert the Central Intelligence Agency into the National Analysis Agency,
cutting its personnel in half and then hiring 250 world-class experts, each one of the top ten
experts in their respective domains based on citation analysis. Re-establish the divisions for
specializing in the analysis of each of the collection disciplines, establish a separate division for
leveraging both the National Processing Agency and distributed man-machine sense-making
capability, and fund a global network of 2,500 “adjunct experts” from all domains, cultures, and
6. Collaboration & Sharing. Fund Multinational Information Operations Centers (MIOC) within
each Combatant Command (Central, European, Northern, Pacific, Southern) with the dual
mission of integrating multinational clandestine case officers and open source officers, and
sharing all secret and open information of mutual interest, and modify the planned Joiint
Intelligence Operations Centers (JIOC) to make them true Joint Inter-Agency Collaboration
7. Public Intelligence Benchmarking. Mandate the promulgation by the Open Source Agency of
Public Daily Briefs and Public Decision Briefs on all major topics related to national
competitiveness and security, for short, mid, and long-terms. These decision briefs will be the
basis for evaluating Executive claims based on secret intelligence, and for holding Congress and
the Executive accountable for decisions in the public interest.
8. Reality-Based Budgeting. Within the Open Source Agency, host a special budget analysis
support division that clearly shows the relevance of the Federal budget to the outcomes desired
by the public, and clearly identifies fiscal threats of our own making where we fail to be
responsible about debt, trade, immigration, expensive weapons system acquisition not justified
by reality, and environmental threats that are now imminent.
9. Business Intelligence. A massive effort is required to address the negative economic
consequences of illicit business including drugs, immoral and predatory capitalism, and foreign
economic espionage and subversion against legitimate US businesses. On the one hand, we need
to create public intelligence that eliminates irrational subsidies, tax loop-holes, and plain fraud
(e.g. $50 billion a year in import-expert pricing fraud, an advanced form of money laundering
and tax avoidance). On the other, we need to dramatically improve the availability of global
information relevant to small businesses which comprise 90% of our gross domestic product.
10. Covert Action. Covert action has historical, moral, and other costs that have not been
understood by the public. Existing covert action capabilities should be consolidated under the
U.S. Special Operations Command (with a clandestine division transferred from the Central
Intelligence Agency) and should not be used to achieve short-term political and economic gains
that are irrational or unachievable by diplomatic means.
11. Overt Action. No less than $100 billion a year needs to be transferred from the budget of the
Department of Defense (Program 50) to the budget of the Department of State (Program 150),
for the purpose of waging peace. Our secret and open source intelligence capabilities must
support the development of country by country campaign plans for stabilizing failed states by
helping the poorest people create indigenous sustainable wealth while achieving legitimate
12. Presidential and Congressional Leadership. No DNI or DCI or DPI can be successful if the
President is allowed to ignore intelligence and Congress fails to integrate intelligence and
information operations into each of its jurisdictions. Three specific changes are necessary in
12a. The National Security Council must be reconstituted as the National Policy
Council, with three divisions: National Security (branches for big war, small war,
environment, and electronic war); National Competitiveness (branches for
national education, sustainable growth, natural resources, and infrastructure); and
National Treasury (branches for entitlements, global assistance, internal revenue,
and electronic systems.
12b. Congress must restructure is Committee system to foster inter-agency
collaboration and synergy, and must at a minimum establish sub-committees for
intelligence and information operations (I2O) within each Committee, as well as a
Special Joint Committee on I2O that addresses all non-secret aspects of national
intelligence, deferring to the existing Intelligence Committees for oversight of the
12c. The President must establish a Global Early Warning and Strategy Center
that can also serve as an inter-agency crisis management center and an inter-
agency operational oversight and coordination center. This center would
specialize in balancing U.S. investments in hard versus soft power, while reaching
out to and leveraging all non-governmental and private sector organizations with
useful capabilities for waging peace.
This is not rocket science, this is common sense. Unfortunately, in the secret world common
sense goes out the door as one becomes enamored of secrets. Consider this quote from Daniel
Ellsberg lecturing Henry Kissinger:
The danger is, you’ll become like a moron. You’ll become incapable of learning
from most people in the world, no matter how much experience they have in their
particular areas that may be much greater than yours” [because of your blind
faith in the value of your narrow and often incorrect secret information]. 1
Now consider this statement from a White House authority:
Everybody who’s a real practitioner, and I’m sure you’re not all naïve in this
regard, realizes that there are two uses to which security classification is put: the
legitimate desire to protect secrets, and the protection of bureaucratic turf. As a
practitioner in the real world, it’s about 90 bureaucratic turf; 10 legitimate
protection of secrets as far as I am concerned.2
Finally, with a salute to its author, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, may he rest in peace, this
transmittal note from the Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy:
The Commission’s report is unanimous. It contains recommendations for actions
by the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch, with the object of protecting
and reducing secrecy in an era when open sources make a plentitude of
information available as never before in history.
My name is Robert David Steele, and I am committed to making this right.
Daniel Ellsberg, SECRETS: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers (Viking, 2002). This is his
recollection of his words to Henry Kissinger, then National Security Advisor to President Richard Nixon. The three
pages on the pathological effects of falling prey to the cult of secrecy, on pages 237-239, should be forced rote
memorization for all who receive clearances.
Rodney B. McDaniel, then Executive Secretary of the National Security Council (under President Ronald
Reagan), to a Harvard University seminar. He is quoted in Thomas P. Croakley (ed.), C3I: Issues of Command and
Control (National Defense University, 1991), p. 68.