Title page for ETD etd-0411102-070847

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Mouton, Troy Michael
Author's Email Address tmouto3@lsu.edu
URN etd-0411102-070847
Title Organizational Culture's Contributions to Security Failures within the United States Intelligence Community
Degree Master of Arts in Liberal Arts (M.A.L.A.)
Department Liberal Arts (Interdepartmental Program)
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Richard D. White Committee Chair
Stephen Lucas Committee Member
William Demastes Committee Member
  • security
  • intelligence
  • organizational culture
  • counterintelligence
Date of Defense 2002-04-10
Availability unrestricted
The institutions that comprise the United States intelligence community have organizational cultures that are unique from other government agencies. These cultures encourage the development and retention of traits that are necessary to mission accomplishment, yet these exclusivities also hamstring organizations and may contribute to significant security failures. This thesis isolates elements of organizational culture that are specific to the United States intelligence community and explores the extent to which the culture is responsible for security and/or counterintelligence shortcomings.

The author selected three governmental organizations with intelligence collection and analysis functions; they include the Naval Investigative Service (NIS), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). These agencies demonstrate the intelligence community includes military (NIS), intelligence (CIA) and law enforcement (FBI) components with shared organizational traits.

The author subsequently identified a significant security failure case encountered by each agency and employed a case study approach to determine the extent to which the agencies’ organizational cultures contributed to the security failures. Internal agency investigations and external assessments of espionage activities reveal cultural factors impede the early detection of security compromises and thwart law enforcement efforts to investigate suspicious behavior.

Despite the deleterious effects of national security collapses, the intelligence community’s personnel increasingly recognize the complicity of organizational culture in such security failures. The intelligence community increasingly analyzes the negative aspects of its organizational traits, and there have been substantive strides within the intelligence establishment to minimize the security obstacles that organizational culture imposes on its constituent adherents.

The intelligence apparatus must maintain an organizational culture that distinguishes it from other government agencies. Unfortunately, the community’s cultural characteristics also convey increased risks of security compromises. It is possible, however, for the United States intelligence community to maintain its unique organizational culture and simultaneously minimize the possibility of operational or security failure.

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