Put yourself in the position of a senior Intelligence Community officer who has been asked by a brand new Presidential Administration for your advice on the President’s Daily Brief. Based on the assigned readings, write a short essay — one to two paragraphs (approximately 200 words, using complete sentences and proper grammar) — on how you would advise a new Presidential Administration on the PDB. Your advice can be on as few or as many aspects of the issue as you believe necessary, e.g., should there be a PDB?, if not, why?, if so, who would receive it?, how often?, recommendations on length, format, or content.
While the President’s Daily Brief (PDB) may be one of the Intelligence Community’s best known analytic products, it’s importance is open to debate. The assigned readings provide a range of opinions on the value of the PDB. For example, in his textbook, former Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and former Vice Chairman of the National Intelligence Council Mark Lowenthal discusses several concerns with the PDB. Alternatively, David Priess, a former CIA officer who served as a President’s daily intelligence briefer, speaks very highly of the PDB. The other articles from your assigned readings — from the New York Times, National Public Radio, and PBS — include opinions on the PDB from a number of former senior Intelligence Community officers.
It is important to keep in mind that each presidential administration since President John F. Kennedy had its own “tailored made” PDB and that the product very likely changed within the term of a presidential administration. And despite its title, the PDB is not produced “daily” but rather six days a week.
After his election and before the Inaugural, Donald Trump said he was only interested in receiving the PDB about once a week and that “my generals” and the vice president-elect were receiving the daily briefings so he didn’t have to. He also was quoted as saying “If something should change from this point, immediately call me. I’m available on one minute’s notice.”
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