February 3, 2011    Volume 18, No. 2

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Intelligence Director Will Look At National Security Implications Of U.S. Manufacturing Decline

By Richard McCormack

The shift of U.S. manufacturing to foreign nations has become an important issue to the U.S. intelligence community. The Director for National Intelligence is undertaking a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on the state of American manufacturing. Growing concern over loss of domestic capability and dependence on foreign nations for key high-tech materials, components and systems has led the DNI office to start such an effort.

National Intelligence Estimates have been conducted since passage of the National Security Act of 1947 after the surprise invasion of South Korea by North Korean troops. They represent the U.S. intelligence community's "most authoritative and coordinated written assessment of a specific national-security issue," according the Council on Foreign Relations. As many as 17 federal government agencies can be involved in drafting the classified report.

National Intelligence Estimates are unlike other intelligence reports, according to the National Intelligence Council (NIC), which supports the Director for National Intelligence. NIEs are the "most authoritative written judgments concerning national security issues," according to the NIC. "They contain the coordinated judgments of the Intelligence Community regarding the likely course of future events." National Intelligence Estimates "have been considered to be the best analysis of specific issues of national importance or of national crisis situations that could be brought to bear by the Director of Central Intelligence, with the concurrence of the other intelligence organizations of the United States Government."

The group heading up the study will "reach out to nongovernment experts in academia and the private sector to broaden the Intelligence Community's perspective." The study is being directed by the National Intelligence Office's Science and Technology division run by Lawrence Gershwin. The NIO declined to discuss the initiative on record, with an official involved stating that it is "a very sensitive matter."

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