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The development of the Central intelligence Agency was a process that could have seen it collapse even before it began. However, for the persistence of the people involved in its formation, CIA has now grown into what it is today and has become a strong unit that boosts the national security of the U.S. below is a brief description of its developmental milestones. The Central Intelligence Agency is a unit that was created with an aim of collecting intelligence data that helps boost the national security of the United States. It fully became established in the year 1947 and it had the aim of remaining covert in the sense that its operations were not meant to be revealed to the public. In the planning of the formation of the agency, there was rapid development of technical machinery aimed at pursuing political operations against the Soviet Union and this was in the context of early cold war, between the two states (Stephen, 2010).
The effectiveness of the CIA was sometimes tested through being posed with challenges from the highly contrasting overt world of military, economic and diplomatic strategic warfare strategies. The origin of CIA has also been questioned by some historians who aimed at exploring what interest the agency had by inaugurating political warfare against the Soviet bloc in the 1940's. CIA has also found itself in the middle of Donovan tradition that rooted in the wartime office of strategic services. Furthermore, historians have not stopped at this in their quest to understand the CIA fully. Historians like John Lewis Gaddis and Melvyn Leffler have talked about the covert status of the CIA and its role in the early cold war. However documented reports and National Security Council documents still reveal that there are still gaps in the attention that the agency has received this far and historians still have a lot to do. During and after the launch of the CIA, there was found to be a discontinuity between the war time and the clandestine wartime, and this brought into questioning the approach used by the United States towards waging political warfare with the soviet bloc. The approach exhibited both bureaucratic incoherence and strategic disorganization. Furthermore, policies formulated in Washington in relation to the Central Intelligence Agency left a lot of gaps that spelt doom in the waging Cold War. At around the same time, the then State Department's Policy Planning Director, George F. Kennan made futile attempts to provide a strategic basis for waging war, but his efforts were never really put into consideration and what resulted was a failed warfare mission, simply because there were no clearly defined and achievable methodologies and objectives (Stephen, 2010).
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Although the fact that there was no clear set out agenda at the onset of the CIA is often overlooked, it in itself impacted negatively and greatly on the application and subsequent achievement of the political warfare that was later pursued by the United States. This is because, despite the fact that the Agency resisted the political warfare agenda, the US still went ahead with their plans to wage the war. The agency was by that time under the leadership of one Roscoe Hillenkoetter and Walter Bedell Smill and it was not until leadership was overtaken by Allen Dulles in 1953 that the agency finally embraced the mandate to undertake global campaigns as a covert arm of the US to herald the onset of the Cold War.
One more weakness of the CIA was that polices were formulated with wartime in mind and did not conceptualize the peacetimes foreign policies with the diplomatic and military services in mind. More consideration was given to the ability of the agency to meet the Soviet bloc through economic measures and to improve the Soviet intelligence capabilities. In 1946, the Central Intelligence Group was created in 1946 but also fell short of meeting Washington peacetime requirements. The aim of creation of CIG was to have a peacetime Intelligence system, and not necessary to meet the growing acute security threat by the Soviet. Although the Washington peacetime policy requirements were not met, at least the Government had realized the importance of having a peacetime intelligence unit within the state (Stephen, 2010)
Formation of the CIG was not however received amicably by all. For example, it created tension with some government agencies that were rivals to each other, and which were in constant fear of an overtaking of their powers and hence they undermined the role of the CIG. However, a demand for intelligence in 1946 within the Truman bloc of administration facilitated CIG's expansion because there was a need to monitor Soviet's intentions and capabilities. This is when its values and effectiveness started to be appreciated. As time progressed, the effects of both CIA and CIG began to be felt. For example, the agency played a crucial role in 1947 in the implementation of measures against security threats by the Soviet in Europe against America interests. During this time the peacetime agenda of the CIG created an interest in CIA and the two developed a common interest that led to their quite and secretive amalgamation. This provided a good basis on which CIA would be able to implement political warfare anytime in the future. This also propagated the capability to seal any existing loopholes which further opened up a possibility for greater performance within the agency.
With time there was a felt need to have the CIA recognized as a legal entity and have other units stop downplaying its importance to the CIG or to its strategic operations. This is what led to its pursuit of statutory backing and this in itself impacted heavily on its institutional fate and its future in strategic operations in political war capabilities. The process to attainment of statutory recognition was backed up by the efforts of Souers who was by then CIA's top official. In his report, he outlined the challenges that the agency was undergoing and why it was important to have it legalized and allocated is own independent budgetary allocation.
When the advocacy to legalize the agency went through, the next official in charge was faced with the challenge of making proposals for funding go through to the White House legislative. This is because the proposals presented were said to be narrow-minded and did not capture in great detail what the future of the CIA would look like and what functions it would be charged with, including its role in intelligence mandate. The proposal also did not mention political warfare as one of its main agendas, making it to be sanctioned by the national Congress. However, what strengthened the CIA and made it stand through the challenges was the fact that National Security Act was finally passed into law by the Truman board in 1947, hence sanctioning the functions and duties of the CIA. Ironically, the agency first resisted Truman's administration that required it to shoulder the responsibility of conducting foreign political warfare, and this is what later led to categorization of CIA as a cold war department (Stephen, 2010).
It should not go unmentioned that CIG, in its brief existence, faced a lot of cut-throat competition from other rival intelligence agencies. The up side of this rivalry was that it gained a statutory recognition and was provided with more credible power to wage political warfare, more than its rivals. By the mid 1970's CIA had undergone a lot of transformation through fire-tests that proved it strong and viable. It in addition underwent church-based scrutiny just to test how strong it was, and it survived the test. An agency that began as a small internal and limited organization ended up becoming a political warfare agency abroad. Today, it has an outstanding history in the U.S. political warfare involvement in the Cold War, especially in its formative period between 1946 and 1947. It has played a crucial role especially with the deteriorating relations between the U.S. and the Soviet. It provided other intelligence agencies with a platform to consider having both wartime and peacetime policies that should also be legalized. It is today recognized as the cold war department of the social security intelligence unit (Stephen, 2010).
This part looks at the evidence of the primary and secondary sources that the author has used to write the article.
To begin with, there are secondary references which are exhibited by the book references like David F. Rudgers', Creating the Secret State: The Origins of the Central Intelligence Agency, 1943-1947 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2000), Gregory Mitrovich's, Undermining the Kremlin: America's Strategy to Subvert the Soviet Bloc, 1947-1956 (London; Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000), Peter Grose's, Operation Rollback: America's Secret War Behind the Iron Curtain (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000), and Sarah-Jane Corke's book, 'US Covert Operations and Cold War Strategy: Truman, Secret Warfare and the CIA (London: Routledge, 2008).
Another example of a secondary source used by the author of the article is reports from various departments for example, Souers to the National Intelligence Authority, "Progress Report on the Central Intelligence Group," 7 June 1946, Warner, The CIA under Harry Truman, Document 11, 41-51.
There is also a variety of other secondary references like assorted documents like Houston to Vandenberg, "Administrative Authority of CIG," 13 June, 1946, FRUS, Emergence of the Intelligence Establishment, 1945-1950, Document 196 and the NSC 4-A, "Psychological Operations," 17 December, 1947 and NSC 10/2, "Office of Special Projects," 18 June, 1948, Warner, The CIA under Harry Truman, Documents 35 & 43, 173-5 and 213-6.
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Journals are magazines which are published periodically by professionals or specialists and contains information on a specific issue or area of activity. One of such reference used in the article is; Unceasing Pressure for Penetration': Gender, Pathology, and Emotion in George Kennan's Formation of the Cold War," The Journal of American History, Vol.83, No. 4 (March 1997).
Minutes of the NIA's 2nd Meeting, 8 February, 1946, and National Intelligence Authority Directive 1, "Policies and Procedures Governing the Central Intelligence Group," 8 February, 1946, Warner The CIA under Harry Truman, Document 8, 33-7, Arthur B. Darling, "Central Intelligence under Souers," Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 12, No. 1, (Winter 1968), 55-6.
Primary sources of referencing include observation and author's own opinion in reaction to another person's opinions, also known as neo-referencing. An example of this source of referencing is where the author poses a question on why the CIA was established in 1947, in reaction to a question that had been put forth by Corke in his 'US Covert Operations" where Corke pays minimal attention to the CIG. Another example of neo-referencing is, 'For instance Mark describes how the JCS approached OSO in July 1946 asking it to organize what was believed to be a large body of underground resistance to Soviet-directed communist rule in Romania that would be capable of hindering Soviet supply lines in the event of war. See Eduard Mark, "The War Scare of 1946 and its Consequences' (Stephen, 2010). People who were involved in the formation process of the CIA also have made their observation on the way the process went on and one of such observational referencing is 'Kennan, "Containment 40 Years Later"
This section provides a general opinion on the article.
The article gives a review on the formation process of an arm of the United Nation's security structure, the CIA. It starts by looking at the achievements this arm has realized so far, seven decades later since its inception. The article analyzes the challenges, threats and hitches that the agency has faced, all in an attempt to provide covert services without exposing its strategic plans to the enemy.
The article clearly captures history that may not be captured as clearly in any other reference document with such precision and in such a summary.
While the article captures all these details, it does so in a manner that may leave a first time reader searching for information that should otherwise be readily available in the text. In other words, the flow of the information lacks consistency to a certain extent. In addition, it does not give much details of some characters mentioned therein, and therefore leaves a reader wondering the relationship between the character and the formation process of the CIA. For example, the Donavan culture on page one definitely refers to a certain person whose role, however, is not clearly defined in the whole process of CIA formation.
The article also uses a lot of references that are mind boggling, in the sense that they give too much information which would otherwise be captured in a few but comprehensive and precise references.
All the same, it is a great article for any person seeking to understand the origin in the Central Intelligent Agency as an arm of national security.