America's Intelligence Community: A study in consistent failure

The recent successful launch of a hypersonic nuclear-capable missile by China once again provides unwelcomed justification that our Intelligence Community continues to miss the mark.  Unfortunately, we currently have no defensive system capable of engaging this threat to our national survival.  Despite the fact that as a nation we expend billions of dollars to fund numerous three-letter agencies, history has proven that those who are charged with reading the intentions and capabilities of our potential competitors are never able to get it quite right.  This week's unpleasant "surprise" is yet again another in an extensive list of American intelligence failures.

During my lifetime, I have seen firsthand:  

  • Our inability to foresee the invasion of South Korea by the North, leading to the Korean War.  We maintain a force presence to this day on the Korean peninsula.
  • The launch of the Sputnik satellite, where the U.S. realized we were far behind the Soviet Union's capability and technology in outer space.
  • The failed and ill-planned Bay of Pigs fiasco, which emboldened Fidel Castro vice removed him as promised by Allen Dulles and others in the CIA.
  • The fall of South Vietnam and subsequent lack of surrounding countries or "dominos" toppling to communism, as predicated by the intelligence establishment.
  • The rapid fall of the Berlin Wall and subsequent breakup and economic collapse of the former Soviet Union.
  • The attack on America on 9/11 — even though the "I&W" or intelligence and warning were present, we were caught off guard, and thus a second Pearl Harbor occurred in the lifetime of many Americans.
  • The lack of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq — George Tenant's failed "slam dunk," which cost thousands of lives and expenditure of unnecessary capital.
  • The rapid rise of the ISIS caliphate soon after our untimely and politically driven withdrawal from Iraq.
  • The rapid collapse of the Afghan government and takeover by the Taliban as our commander-in-chief assured us in July that we would "not see another Saigon."

One of the most basic functions of our government is to ensure a strong national defense.  In order to do that, we must not only have robust and capable armed forces but also have an intelligence community that will facilitate the employment of these forces.  In addition, intelligence agents must be accurate in their assessment of threats that could impact our survival as a nation-state.  Unfortunately, history shows this is not the case.

To date, based on past performance, it appears that we are not getting our return on our national intelligence investment.  Something needs to change soon.  Our national survival depends on it.

Image: U.S. Gov.

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