Anselmo, Joseph C. "U.S., Allied Collaboration Urged for Intel Satellites." Aviation Week & Space Technology, 4 Mar. 1996, 25.
The Presidential commission has recommended closer American collaboration with its allies in satellite reconnaissance. The object is to reduce the costs of these expensive systems.
Goodman, Melvin A. "The C.I.A.'s Reason for Living." New York Times, 15 Mar. 1996, A15.
The "Presidential commission has recently recommended steps that would ... weaken [the CIA] as an independent and objective interpreter of foreign events." Among the recommendations is one that would turn over analysis of satellite photography to the military; there are "major risks" in this. The new "partnership" envisaged by the commission between the CIA's collection and analytical elements offers the prospect of policy advocacy hampering the flow of intelligence information.
Johnson, Loch K. "The Aspin-Brown Intelligence Inquiry: Behind the Closed Doors of a Blue Ribbon Commission." Studies in Intelligence 48, no. 3 (2004): 1-20.
The Aspin-Brown commission "fell short of achieving the all-source integration of intelligence that some reformers ... hoped to see.... Still, the commission did shift the debate among national security experts toward considering that point-of-view more seriously. The groundwork done by the Aspin-Brown commission, along with the terrorist attacks of 9/11, made it more palatable for PFIAB under Scowcroft's leadership in 2002 and the Kean panel in 2004 to advance the cause of a stronger DCI and a more cohesive Intelligence Community. President Truman's elusive goal of a genuinely central intelligence is, thus, nearer at hand than ever before."
See L. Britt Snider,. "Commentary: A Different Angle on the Aspin-Brown Commission," Studies in Intelligence 49, no. 1 (2005).
Johnson, Loch K. The Threat on the Horizon: An Inside Account of America's Search for Security After the Cold War. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.
This work chronicles the author's work in 1995-1996 as a staff member for the Commission on the Roles and Capabilities of the United States Intelligence Community (Aspin-Brown Commission). Clark comment: My review of this work is published as: "A Scholar's Dream Assignment," International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 25, no. 1 (Spring 2012): 198-205. In that review, I call it "a gem of a book for political junkies."
Bailey, AIJ 29.2 (2011), finds that "this is an excellent work and I would recommend it to both intelligence practitioners and scholars alike." For Peake, Studies 55.4 (Dec. 2011) and Intelligencer 19.1 (Winter-Spring 2012), this is "a richly documented and powerful study of what presidential commissions can and cannot accomplish." Jervis, I&NS 27.4 (Aug. 2012), sees the author's discussion as "steadily fair-minded and insightful." Clark comment: I particularly appreciated Jervis's line that Johnson's description of the commission's work "has a close resemblance to a (bad) seminar."
Kehoe, Mark T. "Brown Commission Shies Away from Radical Suggestions." Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, 2 Mar. 1996, 567.
Summary of recommendations of the Aspin/Brown commission.
Prados, John. "No Reform Here." Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 52, no. 5 (Sep./Oct. 1996): 55-59.
This article reviews the findings of the Aspin-Brown Commission, and finds them wanting. As in so much of his work, Prados has some interesting things to say but wastes his best thoughts by swinging wildly at his target of the moment. With only two paragraphs in between, Prados makes the following statements: (1) "During the final decade of the Cold War, intelligence agencies enlisted a cadre of analysts and officers whose employment continues to drive current budgets"; and (2) "Woolsey continued to press for a new generation of even more sophisticated reconnaissance satellites, the cost of which drove (and continues to drive) the intelligence budget." He can't have it both ways, and such a lack of focus on even his own arguments is a familiar failing of this prolific writer on intelligence-related issues.
Prina, L. Edgar. "Preparing for the 21st Century: Brown/Rudman Panel Urges Reorganization of Intelligence Infrastructure." Sea Power, Apr. 1996, 63-64ff.
Smith, R. Jeffrey. "Making Connections with Dots to Decipher U.S. Spy Spending: Panel's Report Indirectly Discloses Details It Urged Keeping Secret." Washington Post, 12 Mar. 1996, A11.
"When a presidential commission recently advocated disclosing the total amount being spent by the U.S. intelligence community, it warned that 'the disclosure of additional detail should not be permitted' for fear of giving away vital U.S. secrets.... Buried in the commission's 151-page report, however, is a chart that -- to a savvy observer -- provides a striking account of previously secret spy spending and personnel levels for four major intelligence organizations:" the CIA, NSA, DIA, and NRO. "Extrapolating from the chart, one can see that the big spender of the U.S. intelligence community is the [NRO], which builds and launches spy satellites at an annual cost of $6.2 billion to $6.3 billion....
"The chart also confirms that the most secretive spy organization -- the [NSA] -- together with its various military service components employs the most people, a total of nearly 40,000 eavesdroppers and codebreakers. It appears to have an annual budget of around $3.7 billion. Although the commission never explicitly listed these figures, it said the NSA's size and budget are out of balance because too little money goes to improving its technological capabilities and too much (around 40 percent) goes to payroll. It recommended that the agency take some extraordinary personnel actions, including forcing more retirements.
"The chart also confirms that the CIA ... is considerably smaller than the NSA; it appears to employ slightly fewer than 20,000 people and has an annual budget of around $3.1 billion. The combined spy efforts of the military services and the Defense Intelligence Agency, in contrast, employ slightly more personnel than the CIA but cost a billion or so dollars less."
Smith, R. Jeffrey, and Walter Pincus. "Expert Panel Wants Intelligence Director to Hold More Power." Washington Post, 1 Mar. 1996, A15.
"An expert advisory commission appointed by Congress and President Clinton has recommended that ... a new deputy director of central intelligence should be named by the president to run the CIA for a term of at least six years.... But the commission ... rejected a series of other proposals for radical change by various intelligence experts inside and outside the government, ideas such as the closure or merger of various spy agencies, the transfer of all intelligence-gathering authority to a single czar, and the shift of certain civilian spy functions to the military or vice versa....
"Although the civilian work force at the National Security Agency, the CIA, and the Defense Intelligence Agency was shrunk by 12 percent from 1990 to 1996, the commission found that payrolls at these agencies increased by 26 percent. The result is that payroll costs have not only crowded out investment in new technologies, but also constrained the hiring of new employees needed to face new intelligence challenges. The solution, according to the commission, is to reduce civilian employment levels by more than 10 percent below those reductions now mandated by Congress....
"To meet the growing threat of worldwide criminal activity -- including terrorism, narcotics trafficking, and sale of weapons of mass destruction or their parts -- the panel suggested creation of a high-level policy group run out of the White House, called the Global Crime Committee. It would be chaired by the president's national security adviser and would include the attorney general, the secretaries of state and defense, and director of central intelligence."
Snider, L. Britt. "Commentary: A Different Angle on the Aspin-Brown Commission." Studies in Intelligence 49, no. 1 (2005). [https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol49no1/html_files/different_angle_11.htm]
Snider argues that Loch Johnson's "account [see Loch K. Johnson, "The Aspin-Brown Intelligence Inquiry: Behind the Closed Doors of a Blue Ribbon Commission," Studies in Intelligence 48, no. 3 (2004): 1-20] of the commission's creation is factually inaccurate.... Johnson states that the motivation for creating the commission was the debacle in Somalia ... in October 1993. This may well have been what interested former Secretary of Defense Les Aspin..., but it was not what motivated Congress to create the commission. The principal motivation was the Ames spy case, which broke in February 1994."
Studies in Intelligence. Editors. "A Roundtable Discussion: The Brown Commission and the Future of Intelligence." 39, no. 5 (1996): 1-9.
"On 1 March 1996, the Commission on the Roles and Capabilities of the United States Intelligence Community (the Brown Commission) issued its report to the President and to Congress. On 26 March, Studies in Intelligence board members Brian Latell, Robert Herd, John Wiant, and Bill Nolte met at the Commission's offices in the New Executive Office Building with Ann Z. Caracristi, a member of the Commission; Staff Director L. Britt Snider; and staff members Douglas Horner, Brendan Melley, Kevin Scheid, and William Kvetkas. What follows is an edited transcript of the discussion with them, reviewed in advance by the participants."
Weiner, Tim. "Commission Recommends Streamlined Spy Agencies." New York Times, 1 Mar. 1996, A13 (N).
"A Presidential commission on the future of United States spy services has recommended shrinking the nation's intelligence agencies but leaving their structure fundamentally unchanged, according to Government officials who have read its report." The officials "say it also recommends revealing the total size of the secret intelligence budget ... and giving enhanced power to the [DCI] to manage the 13 agencies that make up the sprawling 'intelligence community.' They also said that most of the changes the report will recommend are evolutionary, not revolutionary."
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