Deutch's Smart Move

The CIA chief's suggestion to create a one-stop agency handling today's most significant intelligence work is a good idea worth considering

It was only a matter of time before John Deutch started making the proverbial waves in his new role at the Central Intelligence Agency.

We think his proposal to create a new one-stop agency to handle under one roof what is the most significant intelligence work of today - collection, analysis and processing of images - is a good idea worth considering. (See our front page.)

There is no good reason for processing, distribution and analysis of spy photos to be spread out across the Washington-based National Photographic Interpretation Center, the Vienna, Va.-based Central Imagery Office and the Fairfax, Va.-based Defense Mapping Agency.

Consolidation, especially within the intelligence structure the CIA has had for years, is the ticket to better management - from controlling the initiatives and directions in gathering the images to figuring out what's in them.

A similar theoretical structure at Fort Meade has worked wonders for the information technology side of the intelligence mission.

Consolidation also allows the agency to remain aware of exactly which technologies it needs and doesn't need, often difficult when operations are spread out in jurisdiction and geography.

Deutch has the respect of the White House and the Pentagon. It's time to let him build up the momentum he needs to instigate real change and reform at Langley, before he is circumvented by the Hill and its interests.


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