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May 25, 2016

Senate Intelligence Committee Passes Authorization Bill with King Provision to Save Costs, Improve Information Sharing in Intelligence Community

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, announced today that he successfully secured a provision in the Committee’s markup of the Fiscal Year 2017 Intelligence Authorization Act that aims to save costs and encourage greater collaboration within America’s Intelligence Community. The amendment is a continuation of Senator King’s efforts to increase transparency and efficiency within the Intelligence Community budget, in this case by requiring intelligence agencies to certify that there are no joint facilities available before an agency purchases, leases, or constructs a new facility.

“Throughout my time on the Intelligence Committee, I’ve worked to increase transparency and foster greater information sharing across the Intelligence Community. And the fact that the budgets of the CIA and other intelligence agencies must remain classified only underscores why it’s so important that Congress conduct effective oversight to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being spent appropriately,” Senator King said. “My amendment will help do that by encouraging administrative consolidation to save costs, which will also have the added benefit of providing more opportunities for agencies like the CIA, FBI, and NSA to better integrate their efforts to protect America – a key recommendation made by the 9/11 Commission years ago.”

More specifically, the King amendment requires that before an agency in the Intelligence Community purchases, leases, or constructs a new facility that is 20,000 square feet or larger, the head of that agency must first certify that all prospective joint facilities have been considered, and that the agency is unable to identify a joint facility that meets its operational requirements. The head of that agency must also list the reasons for not participating in joint facilities in that instance.

The Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, has previously set a strategic goal to use joint facilities as a means to save costs by consolidating administrative and support functions across multiple Intelligence Community elements.  The use of joint facilities provides more opportunities for operational collaboration and information sharing among Intelligence Community agencies, and is also keeping with a central recommendation of the 9/11 Commission.  

In 2014, Senator King partnered with then-Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) to require that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conduct a classified review of the Intelligence Community’s facilities footprint to identify opportunities for savings. The GAO provided its findings and recommendations earlier this year, and Senator King’s amendment to the FY 2017 Intelligence Authorization Act seeks to address some of the GAO’s recommendations by encouraging the use of joint facilities to save costs and facilitate better collaboration. 

Senator King also secured several other amendments; however they remain classified in the bill. 

The Intelligence Committee approved the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 by a vote of 14-1. The bill authorizes funding for the U.S. intelligence community and provides numerous legal authorities and requirements, including:

  • Promoting the hiring, further education, and retention of employees with science, technology, engineering, or math expertise.
  • Strengthening oversight of intelligence and intelligence-related activities conducted by the Department of Defense.
  • Providing protections for independent inspectors general of elements of the Intelligence Community.
  • Encouraging a greater focus on and utilization of Research and Development within the Intelligence Community.

The bill’s next step will be consideration before the full Senate.


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