The end of the Cold War initiated a revolutionary era for the American intelligence community. This literature review analyzes the new era of uncertainty and reform the intelligence community is currently facing. First, it presents the background and structure of the intelligence community. Next, it presents an analysis of the intelligence community during the Cold War era. Finally, it analyzes the contending arguments and theories on the future of the American intelligence community.

This review takes an in-depth look at the principle groupings that characterize current thought on the future role of intelligence. The two principal schools of thought on the future role of intelligence are (a) those who believe intelligence is no longer needed, and (b) those who recognize a continuing need for intelligence. The second school of thought is then subdivided into two fields: (b1) literature advocating reduced spending on intelligence, and (b2) literature advocating reorganization and restructuring of the intelligence community and its components.

Finally, this literature review suggests avenues for future research. Suggested areas of research include (a) the need to redefine the term "intelligence," (b) the need to update the mission statements of intelligence agencies, and (c) the need to increase intelligence gathering and information on regions which were not emphasized during the Cold War.