The Latest Numbers Released on Intelligence Spending

Published: July 12, 2018


According to the Congressional Research Service, an $81.1B budget is anticipated in FY 2019 for all 17 components of the intelligence community.

Understandably so, spending by the intelligence community (IC) is largely kept ‘under wraps’ due to national security risks. However, the secrecy of intelligence spending has long been debated. Transparency advocates argue that disclosing some spending figures will hold those agencies more accountable while IC leadership has responded that releasing those numbers could cause damage to U.S. security. For now, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and Secretary of Defense publicly disclose topline budget numbers for national and military intelligence. Each year, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) releases a report with these figures.

To fully grasp spending numbers out of the IC, it is important to understand how the intelligence budget is constructed. Total IC spending is composed of two distinct funding programs: the National Intelligence Program (NIP) and the Military Intelligence Program (MIP). The NIP fund captures spending for all programs and activities that provide a service or capability of common interest to the IC. Meanwhile, MIP represents the programs that support tactical military operations or that address unique DOD requirements.

NIP is managed by the DNI and is further divided into Defense/Non-Defense components based on how closely the program is related to military activities. Typically, the Defense NIP component makes up 60% of the total NIP budget. Programs related to integration across the IC such as cryptology, reconnaissance, signals collection and IT initiatives out of ICITE, will fall under the NIP fund.  

The MIP fund is managed by the Secretary of Defense and will often times compete for resources within the larger DOD budget. For example, the report states that MIP is associated with the “intelligence organic to the deployable units in all services at all echelons of command, for example, the Navy’s anti-submarine ships with the Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System (SURTASS), the Air Force’s RC-135 Rivet Joint signals intelligence aircraft, the Army’s and Marine Corps’ tactical signals intelligence capabilities, and the Defense Intelligence Agency’s analysts assigned to the theater joint intelligence operations centers.”

Of the 17 components that are part of the IC, several agencies receive funds from both NIP and MIP:

With regards to IC spending, the latest CRS report states that the aggregate total for all IC agencies is $73B in FY 2017 and $78.4B in FY 2018.  For FY 2019, the estimated total is $81.1B:

Source: CRS IC Spending Report, June 2018

Note: NIP numbers include base budget and Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) dollars.

Given this ten year overview, spending within the IC has remained somewhat consistent with a 1.9%  Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for the NIP fund and a -2.2% CAGR for MIP in this time frame. The dip in figures within both funds in FY 2013 is due to the impact of sequestration cuts. Recent year spending reveals a slowly rising IC budget within both funding programs.

While the most recent CRS report provides updated topline spending numbers for the IC, the Federal Market Analysis team at Deltek further analyzes the different trends, drivers and programs that relate to IT spending within the IC. The latest report, Federal Intelligence Community IT Market, 2017-2022, can be found here with greater insight into the intelligence market.