The United Kingdom and the United States contain different forms of organizations to protect their national security from terrorist threats and espionage. The US depends on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which is a law enforcement body, containing counterintelligence obligations, and central intelligence agency (CIA) that focuses on the foreign intelligence. On the other hand, the UK relies on the Security Service (M15), which is a pure counterintelligence body to address these challenges. This is an agency with no powers of law enforcement for with counterintelligence as the only duty.
The US and the UK both have modern intelligence communities (ICs) containing similar though notably different structures. The two countries contain foreign systems of intelligence which are involved in foreign espionage. The US recognizes it as the central intelligence agency CIA while the UK refers to it as the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS/MI6). The main intelligence organization departure point in the two governments if established in their different counterintelligence approaches. This is the practice of manipulating, identifying deterring, and apprehending enemy intelligence agents or operatives. The UK contains the Security Service for the domestic intelligence and counterintelligence mission, which is the intelligence practices application over domestic treats only. Although the US have found it necessary to concentrate on the counterintelligence mission, it has not given the issue much attention as the UK since the US intelligence agency incorporate other primary investigation and law enforcement roles. Unlike the FBI which contains independent police authority of making arrests and carrying weapons, MI5 has never been involved in any anti-crime mission or police power. In this regard, it can be sad that the US over depend on FBI which have extensive roles that include counterintelligence, domestic security and law enforcement while MI5 only centers on the first two missions. Worse is that the emergency of the terrorism as a national threat has added to the roles each agency in its region (Poteat, 2014).
Although FBI has failed in a number of counts drastically as compares to MI5, especially in 9/11 2001 incident, its law enforcement role is said to provide it with more power in fighting terrorism as compared to that of MI5. According to Kalkavage(2014), FBI is in a better position to accomplish its intelligence duties, especially due to the presence of law enforcement mission. Separation of intelligence and police roles would augment bureaucratic confusion, yet the UK has adopted this technique since the establishment of its intelligence committee. However, based on what has been happening especially with terrorism, the UK counterintelligence system seems to be more effective as compared to that of the US. In this regard, it is clear that the US counterintelligence system has a few things to learn from the UK system, one of them being the importance of reducing the FBI duties and allowing the agency to concentrate on counterintelligence or intelligence related issues. This could have facilitated to the development of the CIA (Kalkavage, 2014).
The two agencies have different history formation where the FBI was developed focusing on national internal security while the MI5 was developed with foreign espionage in mind. This has enhanced a very great variation in their system and internal organization. In addition, this affected the FBI momentum in handling counterintelligence duties. The formation of the MI5 focusing on foreign espionage enhanced the investment on foreign area expertise and language skills to enhance foreign intelligence investigation, with intention of safeguarding the UK. However, the initial focus of the FBI on law violation before focusing on foreign espionage slowed down its advancement on counterintelligence measures.
Secrecy and invisibility are characteristics desired by intelligence organization which include those trying to penetrate abroad targets and counterintelligence. A counterintelligence organization always enjoy a great advantage when an enemy even in the home terrain, cannot track its movements. According to Kalkavage(2014), M15 contains a rich attempted secrecy and secrecy history from the start. The M15 existence is acknowledged by the British government but desisted from its publication. MI5 small staff and collaboration with caparisoned police also assisted it to uphold its moderate anonymity. On the other hand, based on the events surrounding its establishment, FBI has a high profile in the society and the government, which developed particularly after the enactment of 1990 Mann Act. When the M15 contained only 17 workers, FBI had in 1914 grown to more than hundred agents. Thus from the start, MI5 was significantly less popular while FBI was very visible based on intent and scope of their varying initial requirements. Moreover, FBI has highly been politically influence especially by the congress while the MI5 is highly segregated from the political influence. In this regard, MI5 is more focused on tradecraft while the FBI requires to some extent to vindicate its existence by upholding their receptiveness the political impulses of the day. Although the two agencies do currently have similar missions and goals when it comes to intelligence, they are highly distinct by the fact that they were differently founded with different missions (Kalkavage, 2014).