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The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA) established the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to better unify and manage the efforts of the Intelligence Community (IC). Prior to the passage of the IRTPA, the IC was supervised by the Director of Central Intelligence, who also oversaw the Central Intelligence Agency. The IRTPA effectively strengthened the IC by further defining goals and budgets, and establishing a number of national centers tasked with developing collaborative approaches to collection and analysis of intelligence for a specific issue.

The IC is structured to maximize the effectiveness of intelligence collection and dissemination efforts among its 17 member agencies. While each member acts under its own specific directive, we all share the IC mission to collect and convey essential information the President and members of the policymaking, law enforcement, and military communities require to execute their appointed duties.

The overall efforts of the IC are administered by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), which is led by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).

The DNI oversees the 17 federal organizations that make up the IC. In doing so, he organizes and coordinates the efforts of the IC agencies. The DNI also manages the implementation of the National Intelligence Program. Additionally, the DNI serves as the principal adviser to the president and the National Security Council on intelligence issues related to national security.

The DNI's role is to organize and coordinate the efforts of the other 16 IC agencies, in order to meet previously determined intelligence needs. The other members of the IC are divided into three groups: Program Managers, who advise and assist the ODNI in identifying requirements, developing budgets, managing finances, and evaluating the IC’s performance; Departmentals, who are IC components within government departments outside the Department of Defense that focus on serving their parent department’s intelligence needs; and Services, which encompass intelligence personnel in the armed forces, and which primarily support their own Service’s needs.

A graphic depicting the structure of the Intelligence Community.

As part of the executive branch, the IC is subject to external oversight from the executive and legislative branches. Through these interactions, the IC keeps policy and decision makers informed of intelligence related to national security issues, and allows Congress to maintain oversight of the IC intelligence activities.

Executive organizations involved in oversight of the IC include the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board, and the Office of Management and Budget.

Within the Congress, principal oversight responsibility rests with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

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