July 9, 1997

H.R. 1775 - Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998
(Goss (R) FL)

The Administration has concerns regarding H.R. 1775 and will work with the conferees to resolve problems in the bill and the classified annex as noted below. The Administration appreciates the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence's support for granting the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) the authority to enter into multiyear leases and to establish a central services working capital fund. The Administration also welcomes the provision concerning protection of CIA facilities.

The Administration objects to several new intelligence acquisition programs, particularly in the National Reconnaissance Office, that were not requested in the President's Budget. These starts would drain resources from higher priorities, particularly in future years when the cost of the starts would increase significantly.

The Administration also objects to several restrictions placed on high priority intelligence programs until future reports, panels, or Committee actions are completed. Such restrictions -- referred to in the classified report language as "fences" or "caps" -- would hinder the Administration's ability to manage these intelligence programs and place in jeopardy the Intelligence Community's ability to support future military operations.

Finally, the Administration opposes section 607, which discontinues the Defense Space Reconnaissance Program, and section 608, which terminates the Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office. The Secretary of Defense has created a Defense Reform Task Force to examine ways to consolidate functions, eliminate duplication, and improve the efficiency of these programs. The Administration prefers to await the Task Force's November 1997 report before deciding the future of these offices.