The Intelligence Community is generally understood as a "feel good" public relations term coined to describe the multiple United States executive branch agencies within the federal government which are responsible for foreign and domestic intelligence, military planning, and espionage. The Intelligence Community was established by Executive Order 12333, enacted on December 4, 1981 by President Ronald Reagan.
The Intelligence Community was established to provide a direct method for the United States' disparate intelligence agencies to share data, coordinate activities and eliminate redundancy. Executive Order 12333 charges the Intelligence Community with six primary objectives:
- 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 U.S., international terrorist and/or narcotics activities, and other hostile activities directed against the U.S. by foreign powers, organizations, persons and their agents;
- Special activities;
- Administrative and support activities within the US and abroad necessary for the performance of authorized activities; and
- Such other intelligence activities as the President may direct from time to time.
The structure of the Intelligence Community was altered significantly by the passage of intelligence reform legislation in December 2004. In place of the Director of Central Intelligence a new position has been created, that of Director of National Intelligence. The occupant of this position has oversight over the entire intelligence community, and has enhanced budgetary control over intelligence agencies that are nominally under the authority of the Secretary of Defense. In addition, the posts of ADCI Collection, ADCI Analysis, and Executive Director for Intelligence Community Affairs have all been subsumed within the new Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
The CIA director now controls only a single agency - a substantive demotion for the occupant of the position.
The Intelligence Community reports to the United States Director of National Intelligence (DNI), who is the President's senior intelligence advisor. The DNI reports directly to the National Security Council and the President of the United States. Before April 21, 2005, the Community was headed by the Director of Central Intelligence, who was also the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The day-to-day management of the Intelligence Community is performed by the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence for Community Management, who is assisted by four direct subordinates:
- The Assistant DCI for Collection (ADCI/C);
- the Assistant DCI for Analysis and Production (ADCI/AP);
- the Senior Acquisition Executive (SAE); and
- the Executive Director for Intelligence Community Affairs (ExDir/ICA).
As indicated above, this structure is no longer current.
The Intelligence Community currently consists of sixteen agencies and offices throughout several departments of the executive branch:
- United States Department of Defense
- United States Department of Justice
- United States Department of Homeland Security
The Intelligence Community is overseen by the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
- Intelligence Agencies - a list of worldwide agencies.