Managing an organization as large and complex as the FBI—and transforming it into the intelligence-driven, threat-focused enterprise needed for the 21st century—requires a definitive idea of where we are and where we hope to go. That’s where our strategy comes in. The FBI strategy enables Bureau leaders and managers to define and pursue objectives crucial to mission success, prioritize resources to achieve those objectives, track progress along the way, address gaps when identified, and, most important, deliver consistent results.
Shortly after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Director Robert Mueller published a new set of FBI priorities, which indicated counterterrorism as the Bureau’s top priority. Recognizing that a list alone was not sufficient to drive long-term organizational change, Director Mueller led the implementation of the Strategy Management System (SMS), an adapted version of the Balance Scorecard methodology as a tool to measure and track strategic performance. SMS provided us with a framework for reorienting the Bureau towards an intelligence-driven, national security organization in 2006.
This process provides a formal method for defining, communicating, aligning, executing, and assessing strategy, and for making strategy a part of daily activities and decision-making. Our process ensures that entities throughout the Bureau align their activities to the FBI strategy and integrate strategy into program management. The FBI strategy provides an execution framework. Objective performance at the enterprise and division levels are measured, tracked, and reviewed on a quarterly basis.
The Bureau’s leadership team uses quarterly strategy review meetings on objectives, measures, and initiatives. During these meetings, the leadership team discusses performance and makes decisions on how to allocate resources in order to improve organizational execution.
In 2016, Director Comey unveiled a number of changes to the way in which the FBI managed its long-term strategy. His updated process emphasized “where are we going” (strategic) over “what are we doing” (tactical). Reflecting the Director’s themes—leadership, cyber, intelligence, and operations integration, and reduce administration workload— our updated strategy is more simplified and streamlined. The FBI has not changed the direction we are heading or the nature of our work. We do, however, want to ensure that our strategy:
- Is simple and accurately reflects the organization’s top priorities
- Ensures horizontal and vertical alignment across the Bureau
- Ensures that our executives have a clear role and are held accountable for executing the strategy
FBI Mission and Vision
At the heart of the FBI strategy is our mission statement: a description of who we are and what we do. The statement reflects both the core of our diverse responsibilities and the FBI’s rigorous obedience to the rule of law, which governs all of our actions.
“The mission of the FBI is to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States.”
Our vision statement captures the essence of what defines success for the FBI. It describes where we want our organization to go.
“Ahead of the threat through leadership, agility, and integration.”