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United States intelligence budget

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United States intelligence budget

United States Intelligence Community seal.

The United States intelligence budget comprises all the funding for the 16 agencies of the United States Intelligence Community. These agencies and other programs fit into one of the intelligence budget’s two components, the National Intelligence Program (NIP) and the Military Intelligence Program (MIP). As with other parts of the federal budget, the US intelligence budget runs according to the Fiscal year (FY), not the calendar year. Before government finances are spent on intelligence, the funds must first be authorized and appropriated by committees in both the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate.

Pursuant to a suggestion by 9/11 Commission, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) released the top line amount given to the NIP for fiscal year 2009 as 49.8 billion USD.[1] In FY2010, the NIP budget was 53.1 billion USD,[2] and the MIP budget 27 billion USD,[3] amounting to a total of 80 billion USD.[4]

In 2007, it was revealed that 70% of the intelligence budget went to defense contracting companies.[5]


Experts estimate that total spending on American military and non-military intelligence during the Cold War peaked at $71 billion (in 2013 dollars) in the late 1980s. By 1994 spending for the non-military National Intelligence Program (NIP) had declined to $43.4 billion. Fiscal 2013 intelligence spending exceeded the Cold War peak, at $52.6 billion for NIP and $23 billion for military intelligence programs. In constant dollars it is about double the estimated 2001 budget and 25% greater than the 2006 budget. From the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001 to 2013, the government has spent more than $500 billion on intelligence.[6]

National Intelligence Program (NIP)

The National Intelligence Program, under budgetary control of the DNI, comprises the agencies and programs formerly under the National Foreign Intelligence Program. This adjustment was made to better include domestic intelligence programs and intelligence arms of the Department of Homeland Security.[7] According to the classified budget documents leaked by Edward Snowden in 2013, the NIP is distributed among agencies in the following manner[6]: This is an unverifiable source, noting that the original source is allegedly classified by the US Government. Original documents to verify this information are unavailable.

Military Intelligence Program (MIP)

In September 2005, the Military Intelligence Program was established by combining all of the agencies formerly under the Joint Military Intelligence Program (JMIP) and most of the program from the former Tactical Intelligence and Related Activities (TIARA) group.[8]

List of some of the Agencies and Programs[9]
National Intelligence Program (NIP) Military Intelligence Program (MIP) Both NIP/MIP
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Army Military Intelligence (MI) National Security Agency (NSA)
Counterintelligence - Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency (AF ISR) Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) - Department of State (DoS) Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA) National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)
Office of Intelligence Support - Department of Treasury Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI)
Defense Cryptologic Program (DCP) Special Operations Command (SOCOM)


An unclassified PowerPoint presentation obtained by Tim Shorrock for a 2007 DIA acquisition conference shows that 70% of the intelligence budget went to defense contractors. In response, the ODNI stated that the overall intelligence budget, or breakdowns of it, could not be calculated based on the figures in the presentation.[5]

Fort Meade (home to the NSA headquarters) is owned by a single company. Hayden also claims that the largest concentration of computing power in the world is located at an office park near Fort Meade, featuring the operations of various NSA contracting companies.[10]

Budget cycle

It takes just over three years for a budget to complete a full cycle from development to execution.

Mark M. Lowenthal's Budget Cycle[9]
Year Activity Activity (detail)
1 Planning: Guidance Broad guidelines of planning, programming, and budgeting are established.
2 Programming: Request and Review Program resources are projected for future year requirements for dollar and manpower resources.
3 Budgeting: Build and Submit Money or authority available to purchase goods and services or hire people is set.
4 Execution: Obligate and Spend Money on authorized programs is committed and spent.

See The United States Budget Process for more information regarding the budget process and cycle.

Congressional oversight

The U.S. Congress derives its oversight powers of the intelligence budget from Article I, Section 9, paragraph 7, of the U.S. Constitution that states, "No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law." Congress's authorization and appropriation functions consist of approving programs and activities, and allocating precise dollar amounts to be authorized programs respectively.[11]

Congressional Entities Responsible for Intelligence Budget Oversight[12]
Senate House of Representatives
Authorization Senate Select Committee on Intelligence House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
Appropriation Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense*
  • *The House Select Intelligence Oversight Panel provides budgetary and oversight recommendations.[13]

See United States Intelligence Community Oversight for more general information on the oversight of the Intelligence Community.

Top-line figure of aggregate NIP and available aggregate MIP budget, FY 2006-present

Fiscal Year NIP in Billion $ appropriated MIP in Billion $ appropriated
2006 40.9[14] not disclosed
2007 43.5[15] not disclosed
2008 47.5[16] not disclosed
2009 49.8[1] not disclosed
2010 53.1[2] 27.0[3]
2011 54.6[17] not disclosed
2012 53.9[18] not disclosed
2013 52.7[19] 49.0 corrected amount not disclosed
2014 TBA ?

At the end of each October since 2008, the Director of National Intelligence discloses the aggregate amount of funds appropriated by Congress to the NIP for the next fiscal year within 30 days after the end of the fiscal year, as required by Public Law 110-53. The press release has the following disclaimer: "Any and all subsidiary information concerning the NIP budget, whether the information concerns particular intelligence agencies or particular intelligence programs, will not be disclosed. Beyond the disclosure of the NIP top-line figure, there will be no other disclosures of currently classified NIP budget information, because such disclosures could harm national security. The only exceptions to the foregoing are for unclassified appropriations, primarily for the Community Management Account."


  1. ^ a b DNI Releases Budget Figure for 2009 National Intelligence Program
  2. ^ a b DNI Releases Budget Figure for 2010 National Intelligence Program
  3. ^ a b DNI Releases Budget Figure for 2010 Military Intelligence Program
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ Lowenthal, Mark. Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy. CQ Press: Washington D.C. 2006, p. 31.
  8. ^ Accessed 24 April 2008.
  9. ^ a b Lowenthal, Mark. Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy. CQ Press: Washington D.C. 2006, p. 49.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Lowenthal, Mark. Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy. CQ Press: Washington D.C. 2003, p. 156.
  12. ^ Lowenthal, Mark. Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy. CQ Press: Washington D.C. 2006, p. 196.
  13. ^ Accessed 28 April 2008.
  14. ^
  15. ^ DNI Releases Budget Figure for 2007 National Intelligence Program
  16. ^ DNI Releases Budget Figure for 2008 National Intelligence Program
  17. ^ DNI Releases Budget Figure for 2011 National Intelligence Program
  18. ^ DNI Releases Budget Figure for 2012 National Intelligence Program
  19. ^ DNI Releases Budget Figure for 2013 National Intelligence Program

External links

  • Intelligence Community Website
  • House Appropriations Committee
  • Senate Appropriations Committee
  • Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
  • House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
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