from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2009, Issue No. 79
October 5, 2009

Secrecy News Blog:


Newly disclosed Department of Defense annual budget documents reveal the structure and some of the contents of the Military Intelligence Program that supports DoD operations.

The U.S. intelligence enterprise as a whole is funded through two separate budget constructs: the National Intelligence Program (NIP), which supports national policymakers, and the Military Intelligence Program (MIP). The Director of National Intelligence revealed last month that the combined annual cost of the NIP and the MIP is approximately $75 billion. Of that amount, around $25 billion goes to the MIP.

Newly declassified budget justification books for the MIP help provide some insight into what all of that money buys. They present a capsule description of more than a hundred individual MIP programs along with a report on their current status, from the Advanced Remote Ground Unattended Sensor (ARGUS) to the Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities (TENCAP) program, as well as the space-based Nuclear Detonation Detection System, the ever-green Space Radar program, and many more.

All budget numbers have been painstakingly removed from the newly declassified documents, but otherwise DoD has exercised its secrecy authority relatively sparingly, and probably no more than 20% of the narrative text has been censored (including all discussion of human intelligence). Some activities, such as the Special Operations Command program known as THORS MACE, are mentioned but were said to be too sensitive to describe even in the original classified budget documents.

The MIP budget justification books define twelve MIP budget "disciplines," including not just the familiar HUMINT, IMINT, SIGINT, MASINT and Counterintelligence, but also Airborne ISR [Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance], Space ISR, All-Source Intelligence, and others.

See the Military Intelligence Program Congressional Budget Justification Books for Fiscal Years 2007, 2008, and 2009, released to the Federation of American Scientists under the Freedom of Information Act (in three large PDFs):

In practice, the boundaries between the MIP and the NIP are fluid, imprecise and subject to change. In 2006, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) was funded 70% out of the NIP and 30% out of the MIP, the FY 2007 MIP budget book observed. In 2007, following a budget "realignment," NGA was to be funded 90% out of the NIP and 10% out of the MIP.

For this reason, the current yearly practice of disclosing the total NIP budget alone is of limited value. In fact, it may actually mislead, since a rise or fall in the NIP total may or may not signify an increase or decrease in total intelligence spending, as individual programs are shifted to or from the MIP.

An ODNI spokesman told the Washington Independent last September 15 that the MIP budget total is not classified-- but that appears to be incorrect, and the DoD invoked the FOIA exemption for classified information to withhold the MIP budget numbers. In any event, we have asked DoD to reconsider its position on the matter and to release the annual MIP totals.


The Office of the Director of National Intelligence last month published a revised "Intelligence Community Legal Reference Book," updated through May 2009.

The 950-page document, which is more than 250 pages longer than the 2007 edition, includes basic intelligence-related legal materials such as the text of the National Security Act and various executive orders and procedures for intelligence sharing.


Most of those who have heard of the Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw during World War II probably think of it in connection with the uprising of a small number of Jewish fighters prior to the final liquidation of the Ghetto by German forces. Dr. Marek Edelman, who led the uprising, died last Friday at age 90.

But before there was death, there was life.

The life of the Ghetto is recalled in fine detail in an astonishing 900-page work of scholarship, "The Warsaw Ghetto: A Guide to the Perished City" by Barbara Engelking and Jacek Leociak, newly translated from the Polish and published by Yale University Press (reviewed here and here).

The book relentlessly documents the horrors, the corruption and the tragic choices imposed by Ghetto life. But it also brings new light to the ordinary human striving of Ghetto residents, their surprisingly rich life of the mind and the spirit, and their occasional moments of hopeless grace.


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

See also "Reducing Government Secrecy: Finding What Works" by Steven Aftergood, Yale Law and Policy Review, vol. 27, no. 2, Spring 2009:

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