The Office of the Director of National Intelligence says the ongoing government shutdown has resulted in the furlough of more than 70-percent of the intelligence communities’ civilian workforce, greatly impacting its effectiveness.
“Today, less than 30 percent of Intelligence Community employees are on the job and those who are working are stretched so thin that they are only able to focus on the most critical security needs,” Shawn Turner, DNI spokesman told Military.com. “The longer this goes on, the more the Intelligence Community’s ability to identify threats and provide information for a broad set of national security decisions will be diminished.”
The DNI oversees a 16-agency conglomerate of intelligence gathering agencies which includes the National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Homeland Security, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and many more such as Army, Navy and Air Force intelligence gathering organizations.
In addition to the impact the shutdown is having on intelligence gathering, Turner also emphasized the potentially substantial impact to the intelligence community workforce.
“Beyond the impact the shutdown has on our mission, there’s a very real and significant impact on the lives of the men and women who serve in the IC. More than half of our current workforce joined after 9/11. They’re young people with young families living and working in the Washington D.C. area and if this shutdown goes on for an extended period, many of them will face challenges making ends meet,” Turner said.
The intelligence communities’ broad set of missions includes surveillance and reconnaissance, a variety of intelligence gathering operations, monitoring troop movements, assessing potential enemy military activity as well as locating and tracking potential plots against the U.S., among many other things.
With this in mind, one analyst said a large-scaled furlough of this nature is likely to have an impact on time-sensitive intelligence-gathering activities.
“Most intelligence is highly perishable. When you furlough 70-percent of the workforce, most of the others are doing critical minute-to-minute tasks. What can get lost is the intermediate stuff – like tracking things over a period of days,” said Daniel Goure, vice-president of the Lexington Institute, a Virginia-based think tank.