NCIX (National Counterintelligence Executive), United States Office of the

NCIX (National Counterintelligence Executive), United States Office of the

Formerly known as the National Counterintelligence Center (NACIC), the U.S. Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive (NCIX) was created early in the twenty-first century. It educates members of government organizations and the private sector on the need to maintain vigilance against espionage, both the political and national forum and in the economic and industrial arena. NCIX conducts regional seminars, issues publications, and produces other materials in support of its mission to provide the federal government with strong policy leadership in the area of counterintelligence education.

Establishment of the NCIX

Just two weeks before leaving office, on January 5, 2001, President William J. Clinton issued Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) 75, "U.S. Counterintelligence Effectiveness—Counterintelligence for the Twenty-first Century." PDD 75 presented specific measures that would enhance the ability of members of the U.S. counterintelligence (CI) community to identify and counteract threats.

First among the provisions of PDD 75 was the establishment of the Counterintelligence Board of Directors, which would be chaired by the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and composed of the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, and a senior representative of the Department of Justice. The directive also established the position of CI executive, or NCIX, to undertake certain responsibilities on behalf of the Board.

The NCIX, who would serve as a de facto director of counterintelligence activities at the national level, would be a federal employee selected by the board with the agreement of the Attorney General, Director of Central Intelligence, and the Secretary of Defense. The NCIX would work closely with the National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counterterrorism. He or she would report to the FBI director, as board chairperson, but would be accountable to all board members, and would have the responsibility of advising them on counterintelligence programs, policies, and challenges.

PDD 75 went on to stipulate that the NCIX would chair the National Counterintelligence Policy Board, whose members would include (at a minimum) senior counterintelligence officials from the departments of State, Defense, Justice, and Energy, as well as from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Central Intelligence Agency, FBI, and National Security Council (NSC). The NCIX would also oversee the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, which would replace the old NACIC.

NACIC background and the change to the Office of the NCIX. Whereas the new Office of the NCIX was ultimately under the leadership of the FBI, the NACIC had been attached to the NSC. Established by an earlier Presidential Decision Directive, in 1994, NACIC was also responsible for guiding U.S. counterintelligence activities. It was controlled by a National Counterintelligence Policy Board directed by the NSC, and had a number of functions, among them efforts to counter economic or industrial espionage.

In this capacity, the NACIC operated a threat assessment office that compiled information—both from the U.S. Intelligence Community and from open sources in the media and elsewhere—on activities by foreign powers and their intelligence agencies that posed a potential threat to U.S. companies. NACIC also analyzed possible espionage concerning emerging technologies from the United States, as well as threats to U.S. executives or business personnel. It also kept a close watch on the effects of foreign ownership, technology transfers, and joint ownership on U.S. economic concerns.

As would be the case later with the Office of the NCIX, the NACIC made available to the U.S. business community its reports on economic espionage, and sought to strengthen ties between private enterprise and federal agencies for enhanced counterintelligence awareness. PDD 75 ensured that those activities would continue, but under the direction of the FBI. On November 27, 2002, Public Law 107–306 formally established the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive.

An expanded outreach to the private sector. The new Office of the NCIX expanded the outreach to the private business community undertaken by the NACIC. The latter had already been conducting regional seminars on CI, but due to a lack of private-sector security organizations involved in administering the seminars, their visibility had been limited. The new office, instead of appealing to those few civilian security organizations (examples included the National Classification Management Society, as well as various Industrial Security Advisory councils), sought to broaden its appeal.

The Office of the NCIX also created, and made available to the private sector, a vast array of products designed to enhance awareness of CI. The office published on the Internet its Annual Report to Congress on Foreign Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage, as well as its Counterintelligence News and Developments (CIND) newsletter. It also published booklets and brochures such as Be Alert!, designed to instruct American travelers abroad as to the ways that they might become targets of foreign intelligence collection activities. At its Web site, the Office of the NCIX also sold videos such as Insider Betrayal, regarding FBI and private-sector cooperation to counter economic espionage. It also sold posters, and made available for free various computer screen savers and background screens designed to heighten awareness of counterintelligence.



Survey of the Counterintelligence Needs of Private Industry. Washington, D.C.: National Counterintelligence Center, 1995.


Barth, Steve. "Spy vs. Spy." World Trade 11, no. 8 (August 1998): 34–37.

Gottlieb, Daniel W. "Keeping Trade Secrets Secret: Counterspies, Codes Courts." Purchasing 126 no. 7 (May 6, 1999): 24–25.

Kaltenhauser, Skip. "Industrial Espionage Is Alive and Well." World Trade 10, no. 7 (July 1997): 24–26.


Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive. < > (March 17, 2003).


Economic Espionage
Economic Intelligence
Intelligence Community

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