National Intelligence Council

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In the United States intelligence community, the National Intelligence Council is the most recent name for the body of experts that prepares estimates on complex topics, to serve major policymakers. Now a part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, it previously was a small but select office in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), tracing back to the Board of National Estimates organized by Sherman Kent. Its key professional members retain the title of National Intelligence Officer.

While the equivalent function had many names at CIA, including the Office of National Estimates, they all derive from the principles of estimative intelligence articulated by Kent. For general discussions of estimative intelligence, see intelligence analysis management. For general discussion of broader products, called Net Estimates by the United States, and correlation of forces documents in Soviet/Russian doctrine, see intelligence dissemination management. These broader documents go beyond intelligence, and balance US capabilities against foreign threats. Another aspect of high-level analysis is politicomilitary gaming.

While the NIC still does major estimates internally, it has commissioned outside experts, as well as fellows on special assignment, to write specific topical reports in their areas of expertise.