Fifteen DCIs' First 100 Days RE: ROBERT GATES....

Taking stock
Fifteen DCIs' First 100 Days RE: ROBERT GATES....
Tue Dec 5, 2006 17:40


Taking stock
Fifteen DCIs' First 100 Days

CIA History Staff

Editor's Note: These brief sketches convey some sense of the pace and preoccupations of 15 Directors of Central Intelligence (DCIs) in their first 100 days. No regular cycles or predictive patterns emerge; some DCIs eased into their jobs, while others found themselves suddenly reacting to wars, scandals, or investigations. Nevertheless, DCIs Smith, McCone, Schlesinger, Colby, and Gates managed major changes in CIA's structure and mission in the 100-day span.

The History Staff in CIA's Center for the Study of Intelligence originally prepared this work in January 1993 as a background paper for the new DCI, R. James Woolsey. Seven of the staff's historians, Nicholas Cullather, Gerald Haines, Scott Koch, Mary McAuliffe, Kevin Ruffner, Donald Steury, and Michael Warner, drafted the individual sketches, and the staff's chief, J. Kenneth McDonald, edited them into final form. A few changes have been made in the original version for editorial and declassification reasons. Although this is an official CIA History Staff product, the views expressed--as in all of its works--are those of the authors and editor and do not necessarily represent those of the CIA

Robert Gates

Robert Gates, the first DCI from CIA's Directorate of Intelligence, entered office on 6 November 1991 at age 48 with the future of the Agency and his own professional integrity in question. Both factors helped account for the intensity with which he approached his first 100 days as DCI.

The failed coup of August 1991 had led to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the breakup of the Soviet empire, and the end of the Cold War. With the sudden demise of the CIA's chief target, the Agency unexpectedly found itself searching for a new role. This urgent situation was exacerbated by the rocky state of the US economy, which produced growing demands to reduce the burden of military and intelligence establishments.

Following Casey's resignation in 1987, President Reagan had nominated Gates as DCI, but questions about his role as Casey's DDCI in the Iran-Contra affair forced Gates to withdraw his nomination. Four years later, President Bush again nominated Gates, to succeed William Webster. This time, Gates faced charges that he had politicized intelligence estimates to conform more closely to his own world views and to those of the Republican President he had served. After committing himself to unbiased and objective intelligence analysis, and to a more forward-looking and open CIA, Gates received the Senate's confirmation. Now, he had to live up to his promises.

Gates recognized the diverse new problems that the Intelligence Community had to address, from foreign technology development and high-technology transfers to world environmental concerns. Keenly aware that US security objectives had changed dramatically, he knew that the CIA needed to prove itself to an American public that now questioned both its necessity and its highly secretive culture. Thus, in his first 100 days as DCI, he quickly assessed future intelligence priorities and needs, identified available resources, and recommended organizational changes as well as new budget and legislative proposals.

To improve performance he established a multitude of Intelligence Community and CIA task forces. These included interagency task forces on imagery, human intelligence collection, and National Intelligence Estimates, as well as on coordination of various activities within the Intelligence Community and the restructuring of its staff. Gates set up CIA task forces to expand human intelligence capabilities, improve support for military operations, provide near-real-time intelligence to senior policymakers, and raise the quality of intelligence publications. He also announced CIA task forces to improve internal communication, increase openness, and address concerns about real or perceived politicized intelligence.

By February 1992, Gates had already made many restructuring changes aimed at carrying out his task forces' recommendations, as in replacing the Office of Soviet Analysis with a new Office of Slavic and Eurasian Analysis. With an eye toward better relations with Congress and the American people, he announced a precedent-breaking openness policy for CIA, which provided more accessibility to the media and public, increased contacts with academia, and a markedly more liberal declassification standard for CIA records of historical significance.


Senate Hearing on Gates Nomination Gets Underway
By Bill Rodgers
Washington, D.C.
05 December 2006

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