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Department of Defense

Department of Defense

The United States Department of Defense is a branch of the federal government that coordinates a wide range of tasks and functions that deal with the U.S. military and matters of security for the nation. The Department of Defense is the biggest employer in the country, and in the world, for that matter. More than a million members of the military alone serve under this branch of government, with millions more serving in civilian positions. The Department of Defense is in Washington D.C. and has its base of operations at the Pentagon. The head of this agency is the Secretary of Defense, which as of 2019 was Acting Secretary Patrick Shanahan.

Branches under the auspices of this agency include the following:

  • Defense Intelligence Agency
  • National Reconnaissance Office
  • Missile Defense Agency
  • National Security Agency

Branches of the military under the Department of Defense include:

  • Army
  • Marine Corps
  • Navy
  • Coast Guard
  • Air Force

The Secretary of this agency is advised by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a group of uniformed officers with senior designations that provide key insights to this department and others within the executive branch of government. The Department of Defense is headquartered in the United States; however, it also maintains various satellite offices and command posts around the world. This helps to assure a military presence in areas with U.S. interests.

Intelligence Community and the DOD

Contemporary research has indicated that the US intelligence community, and by association, its military community, is failing miserably in creating an intelligence apparatus capable of operating effectively in the global environment that many of the US' primary threats regularly navigate. Among some of the more specific failings of the intelligence community are:

  1. Overly extensive bureaucracy that increasingly dilutes hard intelligence reports produced by analysts
  2. Onerous security clearance processes that almost automatically disallows anyone with extensive, and requisite, experience in international settings
  3. Onerous and antiquatedsecurity policies that prevent laptops, PDAs, cell phones and other technological apparatus that are the life blood of today's information specialists
  4. Severe limitations on who, where and when analysts can seek outside specialist opinion
  5. A noticeable lack of area specialists who are highly regarded in their field

While the US intelligence apparatus may have access to some of the world's greatest IT solutions and equipment, it clearly is lacking in developing the global best practices to utilize these solutions in any strategically superior way. Additionally, its affinity for developing first-world bureaucratic structures is widely recognized as is its inability to produce the cutting edge analysis that is regularly produced by the world's leading private think tanks and academic organizations:

"The American policymaking community and the general public have the right to ask: What is the agency's contribution to national security--expert analysts who make sense of the world for our decision makers or bureaucrats who push paper"?

This type of intelligence community founded on ineptitude and lifelong government service employees is not the type of agile, resourceful or intelligent threat avoidance force the US needs to be guiding policy, both domestic and foreign. The great travesty regarding this current state of affairsrelative to the intelligence community and its lack of productive output is that not only was it a long time in building but was also known of previous to 9/11:

It was not long ago when the national-level intelligence support to the warfighter was inadequate...The military's experience during Desert Storm was a watershed event. From the time General Norman Schwarzkopf came before this committee in June of 1991 and advised us that responsive national-level intelligence support for his mission in the first Persian Gulf War was unsatisfactory...

Essentially, the shortcomings of the US intelligence community relative to the newly globalized environment have been known of and generally overlooked for a period of 15 years and only now are being more completely examined. Yet, even after 9/11 the bureaucratic nature of the intelligence community is still allowed to exist rather than being redrawn into a flatter, more responsive organization.

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