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Nuclear Proliferation International History Project - Breaking the ONE: The Evolution of the National Intelligence Estimate

22 March 2022


The article is divided into three parts: the first section focuses on the origin of the debate during the Johnson years; the second offers the background and context of Colby’s 1973 reform; and the third part examines the Team B episode and its aftermath.5 Losing Superiority: The Johnson Years During the 1960s, the production of the National Intelligence Estimates, the highest and most authoritati. [...] Huizenga was mostly concerned with preserving the “principle of separateness and independence of intelligence components” against the policymakers’ “parochial self-interested reasons” and the risk of politicization of the NIE program.46 ONE’s objections scored a temporary victory and the issue of formalizing consumers’ participation in the National Estimate process was dropped by the end of the ye. [...] Even though Colby meant to present the reform as a CIA internal matter, he was aware of the past tensions and knew the position of the NSC and the Pentagon.49 It could be argued that the DCI was actually trying to prevent a forceful reorganization imposed by the White House, and that his move aimed to preserve the independence of the intelligence community, while appeasing some of the administrati. [...] In January 1977, one of the last meetings of Ford’s National Security Council addressed the NIEs’ shortcomings highlighted by the Team B report.71 Moreover, to counterbalance the vast echo of the Team B charges inside the US Congress, the intelligence community considered the development of a new methodology which would address the Soviet “grand strategy” and include “soft data.” 72 The Carter Adm. [...] The bureaucratic evolution of the NIE apparatus was completed during the Carter Administration with the creation of the National Intelligence Council, which contributed to the establishment of a formal cooperation between the government and the intelligence community on the production of the National Estimates.