As part of President Trump’s focus on rebuilding and strengthening America’s defense and intelligence capabilities, the Pentagon’s secret Military Intelligence Program (MIP) received $23.1 billion in fiscal year 2020 — the highest budget total in nearly a decade. This came after a slight, and rare, dip in funding in FY 2019.
Very little is publicly known about the highly classified Military Intelligence Program but the funding, including U.S. base and overseas contingency operations money, “is aligned to support the National Defense Strategy,” per a four-sentence statement from the Pentagon, notes Defense News (DN).
DN adds that a Pentagon statement said:
The department has determined that releasing this top line figure does not jeopardize any classified activities within the MIP. No other MIP budget figures or program details will be released, as they remain classified for national security reasons.
According to the office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), reports Military.com, “the Military Intelligence Program is one of the two major components of the overall U.S. intelligence budget,” which in 2018 together totaled $60.2 billion.
“The MIP is devoted to intelligence activity conducted by the military departments and agencies in the Department of Defense that support tactical U.S. military operations,” notes the DNI website.
The other major component is the National Intelligence Program (NIP), which DNI notes, included “all programs, projects and activities of the intelligence community” such as the CIA, the National Security Agency (NSA), the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and other clandestine agencies.
However, a few more details can be gleaned from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) notes Defense News. According to the CRS, MIP funds partly go to U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) to pursue “several current acquisition efforts focused on outfitting aircraft — both manned and unmanned, fixed and rotary wing — with advanced ISR and data storage capabilities that will work in multiple environments.”
A 2019 CRS report cited by DN states that the MIP also funds “defense intelligence activities intended to support operational and tactical level intelligence priorities supporting defense operations.”
Defense News added that “among other uses, these dollars can be spent to facilitate the dissemination of information that relates to a foreign country or political group, and covert or clandestine activities against political and military groups or individuals.”