PUAF 698N: Intelligence and National Security: History, Missions, and Organization

Author data: 
William N. Nolte
Publication Date: 
August 2009
Document Type: 

The course examines the role of intelligence in national security, with heavy emphasis on the American context. The course reviews the development of intelligence – defined to cover the collection of information, covert action, and counterintelligence. It briefly discusses European and other intelligence contexts, but largely for the purpose of highlighting differences in the American case. Central to those differences are concerns about secret activity within a legal and constitutional framework that at least discourages secrecy.

The course describes how the structure of the U.S. intelligence community has evolved since World War II and the Cold War, along with various efforts to restructure American intelligence in response either to changes in the world situation or the judgment (of Congress, the public, or both) that various activities and practices need to be regulated, defined, or prohibited. Special attention will be paid to ongoing efforts to reform US intelligence in light of the 9/11 Commission Report, the Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, and continuing volatility in both the technological and operational environments in which American intelligence must operate.