Future Challenges Within the Intelligence Community

Future Challenges Within the Intelligence Community

Although the Intelligence Community may not have fully eliminated security threats, a lot of work has already been done regarding the identification process. It is crucial to mention that the community is large and unless the collected intelligence information is harmonized and analyzed at a single source, the outcomes can never be impressive (Grell 2012, 124). Nonetheless, it is agreeable that numerous challenges still demean the efforts of law enforcers. For some decades now, there has been a missing link between security laws enacted by Congress and the expected roles of law enforcers. For instance, why is it that American citizens are relatively immune to security grilling according to the prevailing laws? Worse still, it takes quite a long to carry out investigations and act on them.

If bureaucracy can be eliminated from the Intelligence Community, law enforcers may find an easy time to discharge their roles. Numerous changes in legislation have indeed been enacted ever since the 9/11 terror attacks. However, these laws seem to be counterproductive towards the effective operations of the community. Several interruptions emanating from the state are impeding the performance of the Intelligence Community. Omand observes that “the actions of non-state actors have come to dominate much intelligence work, and their domains of a threat now range from megacities and ungoverned spaces to cyberspace” (2012, 154). This implies that the community no longer pays the much-needed attention to the actual and serious security threats facing the nation. These challenges will continue to face the IC within the next five years or more. It can be recalled that the process of restructuring the community to streamline operations is still a major undertaking that demands both a mammoth sum of resources and time.

As much as we mainly focus on the September 11, 2001 terror attacks when discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the Intelligence Community, it is pertinent to underscore the fact that this community has been facing both structural and functional challenges for some decades. The 9/11 incident was just proof that something needed to be done to strengthen our intelligence system.

Increasing the workforce of the community was an appropriate step in the right direction especially after the terror attacks of 2001 in the United States. However, some challenges that were identified a few decades ago are still bedeviling the community now (Harman 2015, 103). Needless to say, the current challenges can still be projected into the next five years especially if drastic and effective measures are not put in place. We appreciate that the security products generated by the community are in high demand. For example, there have been enhanced interrogation techniques. Nonetheless, some intelligence experts and scholars have dismissed several techniques used to interrogate suspects as largely ineffective and a form of torture. Perhaps, the community can adopt better and more technologically enhanced techniques. As it stands now, security threats have gone a notch higher and become hi-tech. Warner believes that “technology’s impact on intelligence has been incompletely examined” (2012, 133). If the latter is true, then the intelligence teams will still struggle (in the next five years) with their poor technological platforms in managing security issues.

It is indeed true that the oversight structure of the Intelligence Community is relatively not up to the task. Why should private contracting lead to failures when the public and private partnership is greatly needed? Within the next five years, a poor oversight structure will still be a major setback in the operations of the Intelligence Community.


Grell, Wilhelm. 2012. “The Next 100 Years? Reflections on the Future of Intelligence.” Intelligence and National Security 27, no. 1: 118-132.

Harman, Jane. 2015. “Disrupting the Intelligence Community.” Foreign Affairs 94, no. 2: 99-107.

Omand, David. 2012. “Into the Future: A Comment on Agrell and Warner.” Intelligence and National Security 27, no. 1: 154-156.

Warner, Michael. 2012. “Reflections on Technology and Intelligence Systems.” Intelligence and National Security 27, no. 1: 133-153.