Congressional Briefing - October 20, 2008

Pros and Cons of Creating a Domestic Counterterrorism Intelligence Service

Dept. of Homeland Security insignia


Gregory Treverton


Monday, October 20, 2008


2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.


210 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C.

About the Program

In response to a Congressional mandate that tasked it to study the feasibility of creating a counterterrorism-focused domestic intelligence agency, the Department of Homeland Security asked the RAND Corporation to describe the considerations associated with creating such an agency, as well as the pros and cons of doing so.

The study addresses questions like:

  • What are perceived problems and possible approaches?
  • What can be learned from other countries?
  • What forms might a "domestic counterterrorism intelligence agency" take?
  • What are some of the pros and cons of the alternatives?

This study finds the decision to create a new domestic counterterrorism intelligence agency is not a simple matter of adding up pros and cons. Rather, "break-even" analysis is needed to provide a systematic means of exploring how much a new domestic intelligence agency would have to reduce terrorism risk—given a presumed level of threat and estimates of agency cost—to justify its creation.

About the Speaker

Gregory Treverton

Gregory Treverton is director of the RAND Corporation’s Center for Global Risk and Security. Earlier, he directed RAND’s Intelligence Policy Center and its International Security and Defense Policy Center, and he was associate dean of the Pardee RAND Graduate School. His recent work has examined at terrorism, intelligence and law enforcement, with a special interest in new forms of public-private partnership. He has served in government for the first Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, handling Europe for the National Security Council and, most recently as vice chair of the National Intelligence Council, overseeing the writing of America's National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs). He holds an A. B. summa cum laude from Princeton University and an M.P.P (Master's in Public Policy) and Ph.D. in economics and politics from Harvard University.

RAND Office of Congressional Relations

For 60 years, RAND has provided policymakers with independent, objective research and analysis on key national security, domestic and international issues. RAND work helps members of Congress and their staffs make better-informed decisions on the nation's pressing challenges. The Office of Congressional Relations offers a number of products and services to educate, inform, and facilitate congressional policymakers' access to RAND work, including coordinating congressional testimony by RAND experts, organizing briefings and meetings, synthesizing RAND work into topical e-newsletters and providing reports and publications to congressional offices. For more information, visit the Office of Congressional Relations webpage, contact or call (703) 413-1100 x5395.

Further Inquiries

For further information about this event, contact the Office of Congressional Relations at or call (703) 413-1100 x5395.