View Full Version : Intelligence: failures, gaps and knowledge gaps

08-23-2008, 12:49 AM
The Frontiers of Global Security Intelligence
Analytical Tradecraft and Education as Drivers for Intelligence Reform
by John P. Sullivan, Small Wars Journal

The Frontiers of Global Security Intelligence (Full PDF Article) (http://smallwarsjournal.com/mag/docs-temp/87-sullivan.pdf)

Global security intelligence is an emerging need. Changes in technology, societal organization, and the security challenges and arrangements within and among states demand novel approaches and structures to ensure human security. Terrorism, insurgency, and transnational crime challenge traditional security and intelligence structures. In this 'not crime-not war' operational environment, non-state actors, transnational criminal enterprises, gangs, warlords, terrorist and insurgent networks, and private armies intersect with traditional state organs and emerging elements of civil society. New security structures and legal regimes are potentially evolving, yet traditional structures are slow to adapt. This paper will explore the emergence of networked security structures, and new ways to approach intelligence (including the open source intelligence movement, terrorism early warning, and the co-production of intelligence), together with the role of research, analytical tradecraft, and education as potential drivers of intelligence reform.

Globalization, technology, transnational threats, and shifts in societal organization demand new approaches and structures for achieving security and developing intelligence to support operational and policy requirements. As such, global security intelligence is an emerging need. Terrorism, insurgency, and transnational crime are threats that are driving the current and future conflict environment. These individual—and increasingly linked—threats result in a diffuse security environment that is neither crime nor war. Non-state actors: transnational criminal organizations, gangs, warlords, private armies, terrorist and insurgent networks on the dark side and private military or security corporations, global corporations, civil society, NGOs, and evolving state, sub-state, and supra-state institutions on the bright side demand the development of new security and intelligence structures to ensure global stability and human security.ii Networks are an important element of this environment as is the flow of information in real-time through modern digital technology to empower all of the aforementioned actors. This paper discusses the role and evolution of networked intelligence approaches—including open source intelligence (OSINT), terrorism early warning, and the need for co-production of intelligence. In addition, this paper briefly discusses the role of research, analytical tradecraft, and education as drivers of intelligence reform...

04-06-2012, 04:56 PM
Civilian oriented, but food for thought -

An industry that once told hard truths to corporate and government clients now mostly just tells them what they want to hear, making it harder for us all to adapt to a changing world -- and that's why I'm leaving it.


01-14-2016, 11:45 AM
Better intelligence features here often, so a hat tip to the Australian Lowy Institute for this succinct review which interestingly uses for context the recent insurgent attack on Pathankot Indian Air Force base:https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/intelligence-lessons-pathankot

One obvious response is better surveillance and collection...As Pathankot shows, there is a bigger intelligence lesson to be learned.
A more effective intelligence response would enable decision-makers to transcend the tactical responses to attacks. It would enable India and like-minded victims of terrorism to shape the environment; targeting the political-military system that generates threats, and reducing the destabilising political effects of attacks, rather than constantly reacting to events. Shaping the environment through policy requires a deeper understanding of the origins and effects of security threats. It needs insight into the motivations and vulnerabilities of the adversary, and how various actions against it could alter the environment for better or worse.
This requires not only closing intelligence gaps, but also addressing knowledge gaps....gaps offer a way to more strategically organise and prioritise intelligence efforts — including collection against intelligence gaps — in a way that better serves policy. Thus knowledge gaps require reorganising and reprioritising intelligence systems, but they are also pointless in the absence of clear policy goals and requirements.A longer version is 'Defense Intelligence Analysis in the Age of Big Data', which appeared in JFQ 4th Quarter 2015:http://ndupress.ndu.edu/Portals/68/Documents/jfq/jfq-79/jfq-79_4-11_Symon-Tarapore.pdf

03-10-2016, 01:33 PM
From a former Australian-UK CT analyst a simple explanation that the analogy is not fit for purpose:
Good intelligence and good counter-terrorism requires the use of all available intelligence sources to locate and fit together the different pieces of the puzzle. And most importantly, doing so before something goes bang.Link:https://counterterrorismmatters.wordpress.com/2016/03/03/forget-needles-and-haystacks-its-more-complicated-than-that/#more-735

01-03-2017, 08:24 PM
A very astute article on WoTR an Israeli SME, Uri Bar-Joseph; he links the recent Russian activity to historical examples of intelligence failures. A taster at the start:
...the Russian hacking attack of the Democratic National Committee as “the political equivalent of 9/11.” The event constitutes a classic example of a warning failure.

He concludes:
The American intelligence community is known for its outstanding technical collection capabilities, but remains far weaker in human intelligence. It had no valuable spy in Tokyo in 1941, in Moscow and Beijing in 1950, in Baghdad in 1990, or in al Qaeda in 2001. Penkovsky, who played a crucial role in the 1962 crisis, was brought to the CIA by the British. This sad record shows that despite being technologically superior to every other nation, the United States might be ill-equipped for war in the cyber age for the counterintuitive reason that its human intelligence capabilities are not robust enough. The rise of the age of cyber conflict does not obviate the imperative for well-placed human sources. Perhaps the United States should direct more of its efforts in that direction.

01-04-2017, 03:29 PM
A very astute article on WoTR an Israeli SME, Uri Bar-Joseph; he links the recent Russian activity to historical examples of intelligence failures. A taster at the start:

He concludes:

It was actually Michael Morrell who equated the DNC hack with 9/11, and I took his claim about as seriously as I took Robert De Niro's. Morrell endorsed Hillary Clinton well before he made this controversial remark, and despite his appearance of bi-partisan service, he was only appointed as a Deputy Director or Acting Director during Obama's tenure.

The US Intelligence Community is well aware that it has historically lacked in HUMINT, especially compared to the Russians, who have successful experience dating back to the 1920s.

Bar-Joseph has no way of knowing whether we have key agents in the Kremlin. Perhaps Obama's relative restraint with respect to Russian provocations is because he has a good idea of Putin's tendencies and intentions.

As for the DNC hack itself, the only shocking aspect was who did the hacking, not what was released (what people already believed) or how much it impacted the election (mostly confined to the Democratic Primary). Had say Qatar been proven to be behind the Access Hollywood tape release, that would change the very nature of that particular leak, which did far more damage in terms of electoral probabilities of success than anything WikiLeaks released.