Intelligence Community

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The intelligence community comprises the many agencies and organizations responsible for intelligence gathering, analysis, and other activities that affect foreign policy and national security. RAND conducts research, develops tools, and provides recommendations to U.S. and allied decisionmakers to support their efforts at gathering and interpreting high-quality information.

  • Woman interviewing for a job, photo by fizkes/Getty Images

    Report

    Updating Personnel Vetting and Security Clearance Guidelines for Future Generations

    Mar 11, 2021

    The United States could face challenges with recruiting and retaining younger generations into positions that require a security clearance. What trends and social changes might the federal government consider when updating personnel vetting guidelines?

  • President-elect Joe Biden stands with his nominees for his national security team at his transition headquarters in the Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware, November 24, 2020, photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

    Commentary

    Biden and the U.S. Intelligence Community

    Nov 25, 2020

    President-elect Biden faces a daunting domestic and foreign policy agenda. Choosing an experienced hand like former CIA Deputy Director Avril Haines to be the next Director of National Intelligence could help restore the Intelligence Community's role in informing White House decisionmaking.

Explore Intelligence Community

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    The Utility of Modeling and Analysis in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars

    RAND examined the utility of operations analysis, modeling, and simulation for supporting decisionmaking in counterinsurgency and irregular warfare, with the focus on Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    Feb 10, 2014

  • Masked Sunni gunmen chant slogans during a protest against Iraq's Shiite-led government

    Commentary

    Fight Today's Terrorist Threat, Not Yesterday's

    Counterterrorism is not just about daring raids and drone strikes. It is about the hard work of collecting and sifting through vast amounts of information and managing relationships among organizations that often regard sharing information as an unnatural act.

    Feb 7, 2014

  • airport security check with passenger walking through metal detector

    Commentary

    The Real Homeland Security Issues for 2014

    Americans should be able to discuss the terrorist threat and how best to meet it, how much of the country’s precious resources should be devoted to homeland security, and the impact intelligence efforts can have on personal privacy and freedom.

    Feb 5, 2014

  • Member of the protest group, Code Pink, protests against U.S. President Obama and the NSA before his arrival at the DOJ in Washington, January 17, 2014

    Commentary

    The Facts About the Metadata 'Menace'

    Metadata from a phone call include information such as the direction (who called whom), length, date and time. The program does not record the location or the name associated with a call. No one is listening to the call and no content is recorded.

    Jan 26, 2014

  • U.S. and Afghan soldiers search a camel's cargo

    Report

    Improving the U.S. Military's Understanding of Unstable Environments Vulnerable to Violent Extremist Groups: Insights from Social Science

    What factors create and perpetuate environments susceptible to insurgency, terrorism, and other extremist violence and instability? Twelve are presented to inform military decisions on allocation of analytic and security assistance resources.

    Jan 16, 2014

  • Report

    Identifying Enemies Among Us: Evolving Terrorist Threats and the Continuing Challenges of Domestic Intelligence Collection and Information Sharing

    Officials, practitioners, and counterterrorism experts gathered this year to examine domestic intelligence and information sharing as they relate to terrorist threats.

    Jan 13, 2014

  • An MQ-8B Fire Scout in flight

    Report

    Motion Imagery Processing and Exploitation (MIPE)

    Motion Imagery Processing and Exploitation (MIPE) systems aid analysts in the detection, identification, and tracking of objects of interest and activities of interest in live and archival video. This report defines and investigates the potential of MIPE systems, which can enable military intelligence analysts to respond to the current information deluge and exploit a wide range of motion imagery collections.

    Dec 4, 2013

  • A protester during a rally against mass surveillance near the U.S. Capitol

    Commentary

    After NSA Spying Revelations, US Must Reform Rules on Secrecy and Data

    The U.S. should make two key reforms. First, the over-designation of material as classified makes it is harder to protect the few real secrets; this must be change. Second, the FISA court must become a gatekeeper for NSA access to communications data.

    Nov 14, 2013

  • Pakistani girl holds up a picture she drew depicting the U.S. drone strike on her village which killed her grandmother

    Commentary

    The Downside of Drones

    The chief political drawback is that target countries' populations view drone attacks as violations of their sovereignty every bit as much as manned raids. The chief military drawback: A drone attack destroys the critical intelligence that is needed to ensure that the tactical strike can be converted to strategic advantage.

    Nov 1, 2013

  • People hold posters of senior al Qaeda figure Abu Anas al-Liby during a demonstration over his capture by U.S. authorities

    Commentary

    How War on Terrorism Has Evolved

    Special operations to capture terrorists are more dangerous than drone strikes, and nimble terrorist adversaries will develop countermeasures to make them even more difficult. But they are politically more acceptable and offer opportunities for intelligence and the visible delivery of justice.

    Oct 24, 2013

  • U.S. marines during a live-fire exercise on the flight deck of the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio

    Blog

    Do U.S. Raids in Libya, Somalia Signal a Shift in Terror Strategy?

    The raids that the United States conducted over the weekend in Libya and Somalia could signal a new focus in Washington on capturing terrorist suspects and gathering intelligence rather than relying on drone strikes. RAND experts Linda Robinson, Angel Rabasa, and Seth Jones comment.

    Oct 10, 2013

  • two binders marked top secret on a desk

    Report

    Assessing the Department of Defense's Approach to Preventing and Deterring Leaks

    The Department of Defense faces strategic obstacles in stemming disclosures. Media leaks have many causes but few feasible and effective solutions. There is a longstanding organizational culture in DoD that treats leaking classified information to the media as nearly risk-free, which suggests to some that the behavior is acceptable.

    Sep 24, 2013

  • Commentary

    Needed: Sustainable Spying Oversight

    Domestic intelligence in the United States is an activity with a history, and efforts to consider future policy on this issue need to take that history into account, writes Brian Jackson. Public acceptability must be part of the calculus in devising oversight and control of intelligence efforts.

    Sep 18, 2013

  • In a regional first, U.S. Army intelligence officers met face-to-face with their Afghan National Security Forces counterparts at the Afghan Border Police Zone 1 compound in Jalalabad, Nangarhar province

    Report

    Workforce Planning in the Intelligence Community

    The chief human capital officer in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence made considerable headway in the past half decade in identifying community-wide workforce issues and identifying tools to facilitate more-effective workforce planning in the future.

    Sep 16, 2013

  • U.S. consulate in Lahore, Pakistan

    Commentary

    Building a More Secure American Embassy

    The recent decision to close 19 U.S. embassies and consulates in the Middle East and Africa because of intelligence indicating terrorist planning for unspecific attacks underscores the need to continue focusing attention and resources on the danger al-Qaida and its affiliates pose to the United States and its allies.

    Sep 5, 2013

  • A soldier with the Army's intelligence community demonstrated use of a portion of the Army's Distributed Common Ground System

    Commentary

    Calling for a Time-Out in the Army Intelligence Software Debate

    The Army's Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS) program has been getting much attention from Congress, and its future was the subject of a heated exchange between the Army's Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno and Representative Duncan Hunter in May.

    Aug 21, 2013

  • Report

    National Intelligence University's Role in Interagency Research: Recommendations from the Intelligence Community

    To help the Center for Strategic Intelligence Research (CSIR) of the National Intelligence University (NIU) better identify collaborative research opportunities, topics, and processes with Intelligence Community research entities, this study details the results of interviews about these research entities, their responsibilities, and their willingness to support interagency research with NIU.

    Aug 15, 2013

  • Report

    Report

    Increasing Flexibility and Agility at the National Reconnaissance Office: Lessons from Modular Design, Occupational Surprise, and Commercial Research and Development Processes

    To help the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) become more flexible and agile in an increasingly uncertain world, RAND researched whether the NRO might benefit from building modular satellites and examined how professionals respond to surprise.

    Aug 14, 2013

  • Supporters of Edward Snowden

    Commentary

    What Did Edward Snowden Get Wrong? Everything

    Unfortunately, during the Snowden affair, many news outlets have spent more time examining ways the government could abuse the information it has access to while giving scant mention to the lengths to which the intelligence community goes to protect privacy, writes Andrew Liepman.

    Aug 12, 2013

  • A collection newspapers with pictures and publications of Edward Snowden

    Blog

    The Snowden Affair: Questions and Answers with Olga Oliker

    There is an element of hypocrisy in Russian officials and pundits lauding Snowden as a human rights hero for his actions, says Olga Oliker, when Russia itself has a terrible record on free political speech.

    Aug 7, 2013