Intelligence

Intelligence Agencies Have No Benchmarks for Measuring Success

Aside from finding those Iraqi WMDs, of course

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You would think that with an annual budget topping $70 billion, the intelligence community would employ the most rigorous scientific research methods and conduct exacting empirical studies to support its assumptions and evaluate the effectiveness of its programs. You would be wrong. Radically wrong.

In fact, our intelligence agencies do their best to avoid meaningful oversight or accountability, and setting empirically measurable benchmarks to evaluate the success or failure of particular programs would only invite the kind of scrutiny they eschew. Then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld famously complained way back in 2003 that "we lack metrics to know whether we are winning or losing the global war on terror," but ten years later the intelligence community continues to avoid setting such metrics.

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