Challenges the U.S. Intelligence Community Will Face in the Next Decade

The US Intelligence Community and its Challenges

The US intelligence community is going to face a variety of problems that will have a significant impact on its efforts to protect security. Despite major reforms implemented in the US intelligence community, the next decade is likely to present a number of challenges.

Reforms After 9/11

The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks ushered in reforms such as the National Combating Terrorism Center (NCTC) and the Director for National Intelligence (DNI), both of which were meant to address the intelligence community's security challenges. Nonetheless, the challenges have persisted and the future of the intelligence community can be forecasted to encounter devastating problems. The problems that are likely to face the intelligence community will make it hard to prioritize its objectives and strategic alignment and thus pose a challenge of in the outcome of security measures.

Challenges the U.S. Intelligence Community Will Face in the Next Decade

Senior intelligence officials echo that terrorism is a challenge that is likely to face the intelligence community brutally. Terrorism is a threat that will dominate the intelligence community, and this will particularly arise from the problems encountered in Iraq and Syria. Many intelligence community leaders have indicated that the territorial fight in Iraq and Syria threatens the security of the US. Following the many attacks that have emanated from terrorist attacks, the intelligence community will face a big challenge in curbing the critical aspect of terrorism. Intelligence experts have echoed that combating terrorism is a challenge that will face the community. A new face of global terrorism is likely to be experienced as indicated by the Counterterrorism Center at the Office. The rise in the Islamic state and the problem of al-Qaida has threatened many nations and the US is not an exemption. The radicalization of the global economy has increased the threat of terrorism and as Goodman reports the problem is "broader, wider and deeper than any point in our past". Terrorism is a mounting problem that will be a huge problem to the national security. The unpredictable instability hampers the effectiveness of the intelligence community to address insecurity. The intelligence community will have an increasing problem in controlling the terrorism territories and the entity to arise, and a cycle of extremism will remain a foreseeable challenge in future.

Budgetary Challenges

Problems arising from the budget are likely to face the community due to the exploding population. The intelligence community has a probability of being confronted with complexities of the environment defined by shifts in the social, economic power along with revolutions that are happening in the transportation, communication and commerce sectors. This leads to an increase in the budgetary allocation. The problems with the budget will culminate into challenges in prioritization, efficiencies, and integration which are key in guiding the community leaders to realize victory. Extreme pressures will increase the rise in the expenditure of the intelligence community. The expenditure is also likely to increase from the terrorist attacks that the nation will face. If the US government does not integrate its future internal fiscal responsibility to cater for the external threats, a big financial threat will prove to be a big blow to the intelligence and thus threaten its efficiency in security delivery. Notably, the increase in manpower required to handle the rise in the security threats along with the expanding intelligence budget will inhibit the proper functioning of the organization. Statements released by Director of National Intelligence (DNI) show that the intelligence community used about $85 billion in the 2012 fiscal year. This value is forecasted to double by 2015 due to the increase in the expenditure by the intelligence community.

Governance and International Relations

Besides, governance is a challenge the will make the intelligence community encounter obstacles in its implementation process of the stipulated policies across the wide community. Debates centering on the centralization of governance in the intelligence along with bureaucratic moves will usher a new management system that will not prove to be beneficial to the community. Additionally, future risks of conflicts between and among nations are likely to increase in the next years and pose a great challenge. The National Intelligence Council (NIC) note the anti-globalization will fuel nationalism and the "These trends will converge at an unprecedented pace to make governing and cooperation harder and to change the nature of power". This will fundamentally alter the global landscape, and thus the intelligence community will face a problem. This proves to be a dark future for the intelligence community. Notably, regional conflict coupled with terrorism will be a problem. The uncertainties about the US along with the weakening of the international relations arouse conflicts that escalate the risk of the intelligence community.


The future does not present to be fine to the intelligence community. There are a number of challenges that are likely to make the community face challenges in the following decade. A family of threats ranging from nation states to individualism and budgetary challenges fuel the problem of organization in its mission to deliver adequate security. The intelligence community tries to prevent the digital and kinematics attacks on the homeland. The traditional areas like terrestrial battle spaces along with the challenges of cyberspace indicate to be a destruction and damage the intelligence community.


Anderson, Jason. “Review Of The Future Of Intelligence: Challenges In The Twenty-First Century”. Global Security and Intelligence Studies 1, no. 1 (2015).

Fischhoff, Baruch, and Cherie Chauvin. Intelligence Analysis. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2011.

Goodman, Allan E. “The Future Of US Intelligence”. Intelligence and National Security 11, no. 4 (2012): 645-656.

Walsh, Patrick F. “Making Future Leaders In The US Intelligence Community: Challenges And Opportunities”. Intelligence and National Security 32, no. 4 (2016): 441-459.

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