Director Slick on the Ongoing Restructuring at the CIA

News | May 4, 2016

Slick’s recent article for, “Measuring Change at the CIA”, evaluates the ongoing restructuring at the CIA.

“It would be a mistake to reverse or suspend any of the reforms now underway at Langley without the benefit of a rigorous and objective assessment of how the new priorities, structures, and work processes are actually impacting the Agency’s core missions: collecting intelligence from human sources (HUMINT), evaluating information from all sources, and shaping conditions abroad through covert actions.”

ISP Director Steve Slick recently published the article “Measuring Change at the CIA” for In this article, Mr. Slick discusses the CIA’s reorganization recently initiated under the leadership of CIA Director John Brennan. Director Brennan’s vision for the CIA has been to modernize the agency and reduce the bureaucratic barriers that exist between the CIA’s principal professions. One example of the restructuring and modernization is the creation of a fifth CIA directorate – the Directorate of Digital Innovation, which addresses the impact of digital technology in intelligence.

Mr. Slick addresses the challenges a new administration will face in deciding whether to allow the CIA to continue with their current reforms or to take the agency in a different direction. To assist with this decision, he has proposed four questions that must be asked to help leaders decide whether to abandon, reverse, modify, or support the reforms occurring at the CIA:

  • Has full integration of analysts and operations officers improved the quality of human source reporting and utility of the CIA’s assessments?
  • Will the restructured CIA be more effective in implementing assigned covert action missions?
  • Is the new Directorate of Digital Innovation accelerating the CIA’s adoption of digital technologies, including those required to exploit new open sources of information?
  • Will the CIA’s “modernization” help create a more closely integrated and collaborative intelligence community?

According to Mr. Slick, the ambitious restructuring of the CIA being implemented under Director Brennan will not be completed by the time the next administration decides the direction the CIA should take. Mr. Slick recommends the new leadership of the CIA, and members of its congressional oversight committee,s resist suggestions to abandon or reverse current CIA reforms. Instead, he believes this is an opportunity for them to conduct a disciplined, objective, and outcome-based assessment on how these reforms impact the core missions of the CIA. Mr. Slick’s four proposed questions are designed to assist in informing that assessment.