National Intelligence Estimates

Decent Essays
In the current intelligence environment, the relationship between the analyst and the policymaker balance on a fine line between being too politicized and the policymaker being too distant in order to provide feedback to the analysis performed. Policymaker(s) depend on intelligence products from the Intelligence Community to provide information that fills in the knowledge gap. The demand for such products is constant, so each agency within the IC participates with their intelligence to contribute to the overall product. However, unlike the constant intelligence products that give regard to current issues that just scratch the surface, National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) are related to prediction and estimations that are directly tied to…show more content…
There are two main weaknesses in the process and they are: the importance of information being placed outside the IC and the challenges of analysis within the IC. The first weakness of the NIE is that importance has been placed on outside sources due to the fact that the NIE itself has become unreliable in providing the information needed. The Brookings Institution points out that the NIE has become too detailed and often too late in the information provided that it comes down to the policymaker to perform the analysis and determine what is important to them rather than the analyst answering the consumer’s intelligence problem directly. With this constant disappointment in quality, this in turn has led the NIEs to be regarded as unreliable as it does not answer the needs of the consumers where the knowledge gaps are at. If the analysts cannot satisfy the needs of the decision makers in the US Government, then the analysts will be placed on sidelines while others will be leaned on to assist the policymakers with the answers they seek, whether they be one sided answers or not. Others sources such as think tanks, public opinion, and mass media can also influence decisions with a common assumption among the groups instead, as those sources are widely available. The issue with relying on the outside sources is the…show more content…
The IC has 16 agencies that contribute input to overall production for distribution to the consumers. Before the NIE even begins, the National Intelligence Officer (NIO) creates a terms of reference (TOR) and sends it within the IC for tasking of division of labor from each of the agencies. Then the 16 agencies reply with their own input to the task, where representatives of each agency will then hone their intelligence in the NIE draft. A few issues arise with the production, one of them being that the analysts participating are, or at least should be considered, experts in the field related to the question being asked of them. The second issue is that dissents are sometimes ignored in favor of the overall consensus, which allows too many details into the estimates. The final issue is that the NIEs are being created with the sense of being conclusive products rather than being estimates of possible courses of action. Too often, the IC forgets that the higher the level of consumer, the less time they have to read over the entire product and they are not straight to the point of assisting the consumer but rather driving the NIE to the back-burner for being overbearing with
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