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The collection of information is the foundation of everything that the Intelligence Community does. While successful collection cannot ensure a good analytical product, the failure to collect information... turns analysis into guesswork. And as our review demonstrates, the Intelligence Community's human and technical intelligence collection agencies have collected far too little information on many of the issues we care about most.[1]


United States[]

The Intelligence Community is

220px-United States Intelligence Community Seal 2008.jpg
[a]ll departments or agencies of a government that are concerned with intelligence activity, either in an oversight, managerial, support, or participatory role.[2]
an element or agency of the U.S. Government identified in or designated pursuant to section 3(4) of the National Security Act of 1947, as amended, or section 3.5(h) of Executive Order 12333, as amended.[3]


The U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) is a federation of 17 agencies and organizations within the executive branch that work both independently and collaboratively to gather the intelligence necessary to conduct foreign relations and national security activities. Its primary mission is to collect and convey the essential information the President and members of the policymaking, law enforcement, and military communities require to execute their appointed duties. Their activities include:

  • Collection of information needed by the President, the National Security Council, the Secretaries of State and Defense, and other Executive Branch officials for the performance of their duties and responsibilities;
  • Production and dissemination of intelligence;
  • Collection of information concerning, and the conduct of activities to protect against, intelligence activities directed against the United States, international terrorist and international narcotics activities, and other hostile activities directed against the United States by foreign powers, organizations, persons, and their agents;
  • Special activities;
  • Administrative and support activities within the United States and abroad necessary for the performance of authorized activities; and
  • Such other intelligence activities as the President may direct from time to time.[4]

Historically, the intelligence community has had separate instructions related to information system security. For example, Director of Central Intelligence Directive (DCID) 6/3, Protecting Sensitive Compartmented Information within Information Systems (June 5, 1999) and its implementation manual provided policy and procedures for the security and protection of systems that create, process, store, and transmit intelligence information, and defined and mandated the use of a risk management process and a certification and accreditation process.


The IC is led by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), who is the head of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and whose duty is to coordinate the other 16 IC components based on intelligence consumers' needs. The other members of the IC are divided into three groups: Program Managers, Departments, and Service components.

  • Program Managers advise and assist the ODNI in identifying collection requirements, developing budgets, managing finances, and evaluating the IC's performance.
  • Departments are IC components embedded within Government departments (other than the Department of Defense (DoD)). These components focus on serving their parent department's intelligence needs.
  • All intelligence personnel in the armed forces are members of the Service IC components, which primarily support their own Service's information needs. Each Service has at least one major intelligence organization as well as intelligence officers integrated throughout its structure.
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The "INTs"[]

The Intelligence Community has been built around major agencies responsible for specific intelligence collection systems known as disciplines. Three major intelligence disciplines or “INTS” — signals intelligence (SIGINT), imagery intelligence (IMINT), and human intelligence (HUMINT) — provide the most important information for analysts and absorb the bulk of the intelligence budget.

Additional "INTs" include:

U.S. intelligence community[]

The members of the U.S. Intelligence Community are[5]

The Intelligence Community, through the IC-IRC, coordinates and shares information with DOD, US-CERT, and other incident response organizations in order to safeguard the integrity of Intelligence Community networks. The IC-IRC uses procedures to ensure that the Director of Central Intelligence and the President are kept informed of any activity that could jeopardize the ability of the Intelligence Community to accomplish its mission. In the event of a cyber emergency, the Intelligence Community exercises its authorities and uses its resources and expertise to provide foreign threat-based analysis and to assist in efforts to gain attribution regarding a cyber attack.


  1. Report of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction 351 (2005).
  2. U.S. Department of Defense, Joint Pub. 1–02: DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms (Nov. 8, 2010, as amended through May 15, 2011) (full-text).
  3. Executive Order 13526, at §6.1(z).
  4. National Intelligence: A Consumer's Guide-2009, at 7-8.
  5. See 50 U.S.C. § 401a(4).