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Henley-Putnam's Intelligence Management Subject Guide

This Subject Guide will help students locate the fundamental documents that grant and govern the intelligence activities of the United States Intelligence Community (USIC).

Origins of the Intelligence Community

Congress enacts statutes (laws), called "Acts," which are the basis of the United States' Intelligence Community (USIC) authority and responsibility. These statutes are our touch stones as intelligence professionals. The USIC, as we know it today, was a result of the post-World War II reorganization of government to maintain a focus on national security and foreign policy matters.

  • Congress passed the National Security Act of 1947 which:
    • established the National Security Council;
    • merged the War and Navy Departments into the Department of Defense; and
    •  created the Central Intelligence Agency from the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a post-war civilian intelligence-gathering organization. 
  • According to both the National Security Act of 1947 and the Defense Reorganization Act of 1958, the Secretary of Defense informs the President of the establishment of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
    •  Pursuant to Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 5105.21, the Defense Intelligence Agency was created on August 1, 1961, and officially organized on October 1, 1961. 

Enabling and Reorganization Legislation

Congress provides authority to each of the Intelligence Community organizations in different "authorization" Acts.

In addition, federal statutes often establish the organizational structure of an organization or office:

Major events often shake the American public's trust of the Intelligence Community. When this happens, Congress may open special investigations or change the law:

When reviewing specific statutes on intelligence, students should determine whether the documents they are reading are original or amended. For example, this link is inclusive of the changes made to the National Security Act of 1947, as amended through PL 115-232, enacted August 13, 2018.

Other Major Intelligence-Related Statutes

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