Friday, November 25, 2011

Roles and Responsibilities of the Former Position of DCI (prior to post 9/11 changes) and the Current Position of the DNI

Daniel J. Evans is the Executive Director and Editor in Chief of the International Relations and Affairs Group.  He has experience analyzing how crises unfold and evaluating contingencies for dealing with complications as they arise. His specialties are foreign affairs research, International Relations Theory, Systems Theory, Globalization, Geopolitics, Intelligence Analysis and Homeland Security. His training deals with assessing transorganizational structures for the management of Homeland Security and developing plans for coordinating networked Homeland Security organizations.

The roles and responsibilities of the former position of DCI (prior to post 9/11 changes) and the current position of the DNI: tasking, funding, and DCI/DNI relationships with other members of the IC, the Administration and Congress

There were three functions of the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI): head of the CIA, chief intelligence advisor for the president, and director of the IC. The DCI reported directly to the president and through the national security advisor. The DCI gave the president the annual IC budget called the National Foreign Intelligence Program. As head of the IC the DCI had the responsibility to direct and coordinate national foreign intelligence activities, but was only directly in charge of the CIA, and its staff organizations (Best, Cumming & Masse, 2005). The DCI had two advisory boards, the National Foreign Intelligence Board and the Intelligence Community Executive Committee. The IC/EXCOM advised the DCI on national intelligence policy and resources, stuff related to the IC budget, establishment of needs and priorities, evaluation of intelligence activities, and formulation and implementation of intelligence policy (FAS, 1996).

The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) is a national security expert; is appointed by and reports to the president, but is not located in the White House and is not in charge of the CIA or member agencies. The two main responsibilities of the DNI are (1) “overseeing national intelligence centers” and (2) “managing the National Intelligence Program” (Richelson, 2008 p 454). Other duties are serving as head of the IC, and advising the White House on intelligence matters. The DNI took over the DCI’s community role, with additional authority (CIA, 2007). A separate official is the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and reports to the DNI. The head of CIA now only has provision of the overall direction and coordination of national intelligence abroad by human sources, and under the DNI’s direction, coordination of the relationships between US intelligence agencies and the intelligence or security services of foreign governments or international organizations (CIA, 2007).  

Budgetary authority of the DNI is stronger than the DCI. The DNI develops and determines the NIP and guarantees successful execution of the community budget. Community member organizations give the DNI information necessary to create a consolidated NIP; the DNI manages NIP appropriations, directs allotment and allocation via department heads. With the structuring of the NIP, the DNI gets the guidance of the Joint Intelligence Community Council and reports to the President and Congress the inability of departmental comptrollers that fail to follow their instructions in the implementation of all components of the NIP (Best, Cumming & Masse, 2005).

The DNI’s works with the secretary of defense to direct and watch over funds, and recommendations, in agreement, or the consultation of the appointment of some agency heads. The DNI also has the ability to approve budgetary reprogramming and transfers that are within certain restrictions. Additional tasks concerning establishing direction, determining requirements and priorities, are comparable that of the DCI. The office of the DNI contains a principal deputy, the NIC, a general counsel, a director of science and technology, the national counterintelligence executive, about 500 new positions and about 100 rotational posts giving the DNI staff more manpower than the DCI (FAS, 1996).

Does the DNI has enough authority to fix the problems that were the catalyst for the formation of that position?

The DNI has changed many of the aspects of the former DCI. While the DNI seems to have more authority and additional duties, there is now the problem that the DNI may have too many jobs and responsibilities. The DNI may have recreated many of the same dilemmas the 9/11 commission pointed out, such as giving too many jobs to the DNI. Certain things will probably be the same as they were with the DCI, such as the relationship with the secretary of defense. There is the possibility of improving the coordination of foreign and domestic intelligence, considering it has been suggested as one of the most difficult tasks of the DNI (Best, Cumming & Masse, 2005).  

There are still many uncertainties with the DNI. The disconnection of the DNI from significant agency capabilities will possibly make it appear to control the IC; however, it will essentially be disengaged with modest contribution (CIA, 2007). There is also the possibility that it gave the same, if not worse disparity of power and accountability former DCIs had in the past. Another problem is that the public may assume that the DNI will totally fix the problems in the intelligence community. However, it is too early to tell if the president will support the DNI when tough choices are made or imposed.  Congress may now have a larger role in intelligence affairs, bringing in the interference of politics into national security matters that the executive branch should be taking care of (CIA, 2007).

However, it looks as if the main positive that will come from the DNI is that it might bridge the foreign and domestic separation and give more leadership with planning and a better incorporation of intelligence efforts. While the DNI has greater budgetary authority and a larger staff this could take away from its function of supervising the NIP and the supervision of intelligence centers and turn it into a similar bureaucracy that is seen in other organizations (Best, Cumming & Masse, 2005).

The DNI now has the authority over budget, reprogramming, personnel transfer, appointments, acquisitions, tasking, and authority over the National Counterterrorism Center (Best, Cumming & Masse, 2005). This gives DNI more authority to fix problems, but it seems like too many jobs, which was one of the problems there was supposed to be remedied. Authority is good but the more the DNI has the more problems that could also me created because of it.

Best, R. Cumming A. & Masse T. (2005). Director of National Intelligence: Statutory Authorities. CRS Report for Congress. Retrieved February 20, 2010 from:
FAS (1996). An Overview of the Intelligence Community. Retrieved February 20, 2010 from

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Religion: Does it help or hinder peace?

Religion is perceived differently in many societies. The political evolution in Western political thought led to a secular state. The Islamic tradition, on the other hand, has a different view of religion and political governance. The question is if religion is an agent of peace or if it perpetuates conflict in the international system. Some scholars view religion as having the ability to connect different faiths and it has a significant role in the peace process. It is believed that this will also be a way of integrating values of the particular culture and it will possibly lead to a resolution of the conflict. It is also thought that religion also can view how families interact and this can be used as a metaphor for dealing with conflict on a larger scale. It is also thought that considering there are many myths about religion this also plays a factor in dealing with the resolution of the conflict but by studying religion it can also show ways of how to deal with more complex problems and aid in the resolution process. Viewing the peace process from the vantage point of religion can bring about better cultural understanding and help engage with adversaries during meetings (Gopin, 2002).  However, much of these like many potential negotiations for conflict depend on the willingness of the two parties to decide to learn the cultures and religions of the enemy and also respect them in the mediation process. Religion also brings to fruition both positive and negative myths about culture and if the parties decide to concentrate on the negative issues associated with a particular religion than this can be destructive to the peace making process. There must be separations of positive and negative myths but either way both of them should be acknowledged. If myths can be understood to be myths then there can be a critical look into more underlying issues such as apologizing for each side’s wrong doings and try to understand the goals and values of the individual cultures and people involved in the negotiation process, without this, then negotiations the take place will only be concerned with only the obvious issues (Gopin, 2002).
Peace treaties should focus on religion, culture, symbolic gestures, moral commitments, and transformation of relationships. If these factors are not addressed and they are only focused on the political gains and outcomes than there is a possibility that it is going to be a clash in religious and cultural ideologies and the end result would ultimately end in failure. Talcott Parsons who elucidated systems theory believes that action between an individual and actor constitutes “action systems.” His systems places people in the role of “subjects” and “objects” and he also explains that at any given time people are members of several other action systems such as family, religious and nation-state. Parsons states that the three subsystems are (1) the personality system (2) the social system (3) the cultural system. They are interconnected through the action system. If there is a change in one of the subsystems it will affect another in turn affecting the entire action system. The systems theory “assumes the interdependence of parts in determinate relationships, which impose order on the components of the system.” “Social systems are characterized by a multiple-equilibrium process because social systems have many subsystems, each of which must remain in equilibrium in the larger system is to maintain equilibrium” (Dougherty, 115-116). Keeping this in mind and incorporated into religion with regards to peace building and sustainability of that the same method could be used in the planning process.  The interconnectedness of religion into culture is a factor than can be more substantial then the political gains of reaching peace.
The understanding of religion aids in the understandings of culture and how it impacts negotiations. Regardless of the context, culture impacts negotiations in two ways (1) cultural similarities or differences can affect the attitudes of the parties toward each other and (2) cultural similarities or differences can affect their ability to communicate effectively with each other (Regan & Leng, 2008).  Religion along with other variables are fundamentals that can be used to guide this in negotiations, while there are other variables religion and culture can be intertwined(Regan & Leng, 2008). While it is true that the success in negotiations and mediation between states can be dependant of democratic cultures, religion can be the outlier that ensures the success or failure of them. Religion can add to the cultural variables that make it difficult for effective communication between parties including.  When mixed signals are sent to opposing sides the intended interpretation is not received. Many times countries with the same religion have similar ideologies and this can assist in the negotiation process and speed up the negotiations but the lack of societal and local culture and vastly different religious ideologies can prevent the success of negotiations (Regan & Leng, 2008). 
If looking at the correlation of culture and religion on negations then Iran could be looked at. The languages of the two countries are not the same; the United States is primarily English, while Iran is primarily Persian.  Religions of the two states are different and social and political cultures are completely different.  Iran suggests to its people that there should be a theoretical understanding of Islamic ideology and it believes that the citizens are Islamicized (CIA Factbook, 2009). The history of Iran and the study of the Islamic revolution from Iran’s point of view portray the clergy as being very influential in the movement and the changing of the society. The current regime paints the former regime as being oppressive and immoral to the populace and suggests that they had to be liberated and saved by the Islamic Republic (Almond, 2008 p 583). This is based on the idea that the Pahlavi monarchy allowed, women to be unveiled, and other things that were against proper cultural norms. However with all the religious control that the Islamic Republic conveys onto its people several students still mock social morĂ©s and policies about male and female relationships and other aspects of the controlling religious state (Almond, 2008 pp 583-584). The highest offices in Iran are held by followers of Shiite Islam and this is a factor that should be addressed in negotiations (CIA Factbook, 2009). Another variable that should be addressed with regards to Iran is that most view themselves as religious and being Muslim with higher accords than they view nationalism of the state; this is not the case with the United States and this should be addressed in preplanning and meetings. While there are several other reasons as to why there has been failed meetings and negotiations between the United States and Iran, religion does play a part in the reason for there not being successful diplomacy between the two countries. The United States is still viewed by Iran as the “great Satan” and the mistrust is not just rooted in political differences but has strong roots in the opposing religious ideologies and public policies of the two nations (Almond, 2008 p 587).
Religious communities do not deal with “moral failure” the same way as political communities do; religious communities usually focus on variables such as atonement, request for forgiveness,  and they suggest forgiveness (Gopin, 2002). With regards to the peace process forgiveness is a key variable and without it there will not actually be true peace. While neither side wants to admit that they are part of the blame there is faults on both sides and the correlation with religion to accept these wrongs and forgive the wrongs of others could be a huge factor in the conflict resolution process. Forgiveness is a factor in most religions and it can be used to forge new relationships and the ability to build trust even if there is still not an acceptance of all ideologies.  Verbal and nonverbal communications with regards to religion can also be taken the wrong way.  While many negotiators focus on these subtleties if they do not understand the religious connotation of gestures and other verbal and nonverbal communications it can be detrimental to the peace process and alienate the situation even more; especially if a miscalculation on a gesture is seen as disrespect (Gopin, 2002). 
Religion is an obstacle in the peace making process and much of this based off the internal culture of countries with regards to religion. It is very clear that culture and the understanding of it has been an obstacle in the negotiation and mediation process for many countries.  While the causes of conflicts may center on factors such as ethnicity, race, ideology, and other factors, to resolve them there must be careful attention in not missing the role that religion has on all of these variables.  The history of the intractable conflict between the countries can also create its own culture other then the internal culture of each country and this has put yet another variable that must be dealt with (Gopin, 2002).  Variables that can continually come up have to do with the mistrust between the countries, language, verbal and nonverbal communications, perceptions of the world and how each country sees themselves, and political and social cultures but many times it stems from religious ideologies and the understandings of them.  It is not impossible for countries to communicate and a lot of it has to do with the degree of commitment by each nation.  If countries want to come to terms they must both step outside of the box and respect the culture and religion of one another whether they necessarily like it or not.  There are several cultural differences between countries but religion can be a tool used to get past most cultural difference but stubbornness of  countries and neither side wanting to be the one the compromises first will destroy the peace making process in any negotiation (Gopin, 2002).

Almond, G.A., Powell Jr., G.B., Dalton, R.J.,& Strom, K. (2008). Comparative Politics Today: A World View. 9th Edition. United Sates: Pearson-Longman 
Dougherty, J. E., & Pfaltzgraff, Jr., R. L. (2001). Contending Theories of International Relations: A Comprehensive Survey, Fifth Edition. New York: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc. 
Gopin, M. (2002). Holy War, Holy Peace: How Religion Can Bring Peace to the Middle East. New York, NY: Oxford University Press 
Regan, P, & Leng, R. (2008). Culture and Negotiations between Rival States. Workshop on Culture and Conflict, Binghamton University. Retrieved (2009, October 20) from