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Fixing Intelligence: For a More Secure America, Second Edition (Yale Nota Bene) Paperback – March 11, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0300103045 ISBN-10: 0300103042 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Series: Yale Nota Bene
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 2 edition (March 11, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300103042
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300103045
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #849,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"The weakness of U.S. counterintelligence is difficult to exaggerate," says Odom, former director of the National Security Agency, and "patching and repairing here and there" won't solve the problem. Here he presents a far-reaching proposal for revamping the intelligence community, but it's no page-turner. Based on a report originally published in 1997 by a think tank, this book argues that intelligence gathering must be streamlined and cooperation increased among the many existing intelligence agencies. Perhaps Odom's most broad-ranging reform would be to create a national counterintelligence service, which he says would eliminate both competition among the various agencies and the gaps in knowledge that result from such competition. Elsewhere, he proposes broad changes in the makeup of both the FBI and the CIA. These ideas, while presented six years ago by the author, were rarely seriously discussed before September 11, and the author himself admits they are likely to meet resistance from the turf-protecting intelligence community. Odom makes a strong case that they are necessary to fight the changing threats to U.S. security. All too often, though, his language makes his points difficult to follow ("until greater resource management rationality is achieved, progress in integrating the tactical intelligence capabilities will be erratic and more by chance than design"). The book still reads too much like a report to command the wide readership its arguments warrant. It probably will, however, feed media discussions about intelligence reform and the new Homeland Security Department.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"By publishing the Odom study, Yale University Press establishes a benchmark, a guide for public debate on this vital Issue."

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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
There are two very important themes running through this book, and they earn the author a solid four stars and a "must read" recommendation. First, the author is correct and compellinging clear when he points out that even the most senior intelligence professionals, including DCIs, simply do not understand the full range of intelligence organizations, capabilities, and problems that exist--just about everyone has spent their entire career in a small niche with its own culture. Second, the author is unique for focusing on an area that is both vital and ignored today: that of creating joint and combined intelligence concepts and doctrine to ensure that minimal common understandings as well as training competency levels are reached across varied jurisdictions; and to enable competent community resource management, also non-existent today.
The author is positively instructive in this book, providing both trenchant indictments (for instance, of the National Reconnaisance Office for being oriented toward big budgets and inputs rather than missions and outputs), and many common sense observations that all need to be factored into whatever the Senate finally decides to do about intelligence reform.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "jrhope" on March 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
If you want to understand the intelligence world, and the dangerous world of terrorists and sneak attacks we now confront, READ THIS BOOK! Based on what appears to be a lifetime of experience in the secret enclaves of American intelligence gathering, General Odom's penetrating insights challenge accepted wisdom, and force us to question our nation's strategic vision. For anyone who wants a safe world and a free society, this book is a road map to where we must go as a nation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. S. Thurlow TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
William Odom was a longserving Army intelligence officer who finished his uniformed career as Director of the National Security Agency. He has a reputation as a clear-eyed, plain-spoken observer of the intelligence community whether in or out of uniform. His 2003 "Fixing Intelligence" capitalizes on the tidal wave of interest in reform of the US intelligence community triggered by the 9/11 attacks.

"Fixing Intelligence" is a reworking of a 1997 study produced by one of the many groups tasked with intelligence reform. Odom breaks down the intelligence community and the need for reform for the general reader. His introduction and conclusion alone are worth the price of the book. In between, Odom provides chapters on terminology, the costs of doing business, military intelligence, signals intelligence, human intelligence, and counterintelligence. His discussion is generally a balanced one, although counterintelligence comes in for considerable criticism for its failures against the Soviet Union.

Most of Odom's recommendations were subsequently adopted in one form or another through Congressional Law and executive branch directives. In that sense, this book is now slightly out of date. On the other hand, few writers on the intelligence community have offered such a clear, concise, and understandable look at how it works. For that reason, "Fixing Intelligence" is still highly recommended to the general reader interested in the US intelligence community.
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Format: Hardcover
General Odom has written an outstanding book, combining a careful explanation of the nature and mission of intelligence with a well-thought out set of suggested reforms. Although the reading can be somewhat dry, General Odom's description of the relationships between different agencies and bureaucracies is succinct and delivered with clarity. Working methodically through the terminology and methods of the intelligence field, he provides necessary background and understanding to enable people to comprehend the need for reform and to assess the suggestions he offers.
General Odom writes from the perspective of an insider, a very smart insider, but manages to keep a degree of detachment and objectivity in the process. His thoughtful suggestions regarding how we might go about reforming and improving our intelligence capabilities to cope with 21st century threats should be read carefully by anyone with an interest in these issues.
Even if one disagrees with some of the reforms he proposes, this book provides a solid starting point for understanding the complexities of intelligence collection and analysis in the modern world, as well as the problems we face by relying on an intelligence community created fifty years ago to deal with a threat (the Soviet Union) that is now long-gone from the scene.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on September 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
It usually takes a disaster to create change in large organizations. And no one could possibly consider the terrorist attacks on 9/11 to be anything but a disaster. But what to change and how to change it. ==In this book, William Odom a former director of the National Security Agency looks at how the American intelligence agencies are organized and makes recommendations on how to fix the problems. The roots of the problem go back a long ways.

The CIA was organized in 1947 as primarily an organization to collect information about the Soviet Union. With the advent of spy satellites the main thrust of the agency centered on using imagery to track the military forces of the Soviet Union. And as budgets were cut from time to time (under Clinton especially) the agency depended more and more on imagery.

The FBI has responsibilities for both law enforcement and counter intelligence. These are very different responsibilities, one leading to arrest and trial after a crime has been committed. In counter intelligence you don't really care if the bad guy goes to jail, you mainly want to stop his actions from hurting you.

Regardless of how it happened, it is time for a major overhaul of the Intelligence agencies of the U.S. General Odom has made a number of proposals clearly stating how he would do it. It will be interesting to watch what happens as Congress works on the problem.
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