The past may provide a guidelines to the future.
An established superpower is dealing with multiple threats to its interests around the world. An emerging global economic and military/naval power is making its presence felt throughout the world, particularly in Asia. The intelligence community is confronted with a complex environment punctuated by socio-economic power shifts and revolutions in communications, commerce and transportation. World intelligence organizations face internal and external terrorist and anarchist threats as well as exploding population growth and resource competition in strategically critical regions. Compounding these challenges are intelligence budgets that range from uncertain to non-existent.
Although these observations seem ripped from today’s headlines, the time in question is not 2013 but 100 years earlier—1913. The major players are different, but the challenges—and potential solutions—bear more than a passing similarity.
As the current U.S. intelligence community deals with its complex national security environment, intelligence organizations from a century ago provide excellent examples of prioritization, integration and efficiencies. A thoughtful application of 1913’s intelligence lessons effectively can guide today’s intelligence community leaders to victory.