President Bush this week issued three directives aimed at significantly increasing employment at the CIA, establishing a specialized national security workforce at the FBI, and exploring whether the Pentagon should take over responsibility for paramilitary operations now conducted by the CIA.
The directives, implementing recommendations of the 9/11 commission, come at a time when an intelligence overhaul bill is stalled in Congress and the CIA is in the midst of a shakeup under its new director, Porter Goss, former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
Members of the 9/11 panel and Congress have indicated that many of the 41 recommendations made in the commission's final report could be implemented through presidential directives rather than congressional legislation.
On Tuesday, Bush ordered the CIA to strengthen its core capabilities to meet new intelligence challenges.
Specifically, Bush directed the CIA to increase, as soon as possible, the number of fully qualified analysts of intelligence by 50 percent. Bush also ordered the agency to double the number of employees in the agency's directorate of operations (which is responsible for gathering intelligence), the number of officers proficient in mission-critical languages, and the number of officers responsible for research and development to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The CIA has 90 days to submit a detailed budget and implementation plan for the directive, including performance measures with timelines for achievement of specific goals.
"In addition to the capabilities enumerated above, this plan shall also include a description, with appropriate performance measures, of steps under way at the CIA to develop and implement new collection strategies against difficult targets, to integrate human and technical collection tools, to assure appropriate access by analysts to information on the sources of critical intelligence reporting, to expand relationships with experts outside of government, and otherwise ensure diverse views are routinely reflected in finished intelligence products," the directive adds.
Bush also ordered the FBI to develop a specialized national security workforce.
The directive gives the FBI 90 days to create an integrated intelligence cadre that includes special agents, analysts, linguists and surveillance specialists. The FBI also must implement a program allowing employees to follow an entire career path, including promotion to the most senior positions of the bureau, within the intelligence field.
"This effort shall include the establishment, not later than 90 days from the date of this directive, of specific requirements for the following: training; career development; certification, recruiting, hiring, and selection; integration of the cadre into the FBI's field intelligence groups and headquarters divisions; and senior-level field and headquarters management," the directive states.
It also orders the FBI to create an intelligence officer certification program; provide a comprehensive plan within 90 days covering analysis, products, sources and field intelligence operations; and implement a program within 90 days to target and attract individuals with educational and professional backgrounds in intelligence, international relations, language, technology and relevant skills.
In another memorandum released Tuesday, Bush ordered the CIA, Pentagon, State Department and Justice Department to examine whether lead responsibility for directing and executing paramilitary operations should shift from the CIA to the Defense Department.
Bush asked Goss and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to make a recommendation on the issue within 90 days.