Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Dan Callahan

Guilty as charged: I take a very broad view of the IC—to include Law Enforcement.  Perhaps you should as well! 

It’s true.  The definition of intelligence is rapidly changing.  If you are like me, much of your career was attached to the armed forces.  Yet, out of necessity, the law enforcement component of the IC represents increasingly ripe fruit, if you’re looking for opportunity. 

Let's focus for a moment on the mega trend: if you forced most folks to summarize the primary lesson from the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks, it is this:  that domestic law enforcement community failed to connect then extant data points into a comprehensible understanding of the threat that would eventually manifest itself into full view.  To understand how this could happen, simply recall that approximately 75% of the IC budget ends up in the Department of Defense, directly or indirectly.  Hence, most of our national definition of intelligence tools, skills and talent, was for all practical purposes, focused outside the United States.  This is not a slight against our law enforcement organizations, but a simple realization that “intelligence” was traditionally a DoD-centric skill, which by law, plies it craft outside of CONUS; yet "intelligence" is now rapidly becoming a domestic law enforcement skill as well.  An excellent book describing this metamorphosis, is Uncertain Shield: the U.S. Intelligence System in the Throes of Reform (Hoover Studies in Politics, Economics, and Society), by Richard Posner, J.D.  My point is that terrorists are still living among us and it is perfectly appropriate and rational for Congress and the states to increase emphasis, funding, coordination and mandates that will improve the domestic use of intelligence tools in order to combat terror-related crime.  (I heard a couple of you say, "duh, Dan, tell me something new…" but I maintain that not everyone has noticed this mega trend yet…or perhaps not taken advantage of it).  

This trend to augment domestic intelligence has already begun as evidence by the Recovery Act of 2009, and it may represent a future opportunity for your services firm or product.  My first suggestion is begin by doing some background reading on the issues in the law enforcement community; it should not take long for you to create or improve your offering and ‘statement of value’ so that it directly addresses one or several challenges faced by this community.  Whether it is an international entity (e.g., Interpol, North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association (NAWEOA)) or a federal agency (e.g., DHS, FBI, DEA), State police, Regional authorities (e.g., the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authorities (MWAA), or the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG)), or local cities and counties with their own police forces… theses organizations are increasingly being prompted and led by classic intelligence data, tools, skill-sets and processes.  As many know, the eyes and ears of domestic intelligence are the 850,000 first responders across the country that walk the local beat or respond to a 9-1-1 medical call or simply notice a strange package in the local shopping mall.  In fact, expect to see, sometime in 2010 an emphasis on citizen awareness and a call for willingness (on the part of citizens) to report anything out-of-the ordinary (similar to the state of New York’s "see something say something" campaign).  Congress has received the message that domestic law enforcement—broadly defined, needs some upgrades and the 2011 federal budget will reflect this.  Don’t forget: much of this money flows to the states. 

Now, in this context, you should be able to find opportunity.  For some products and certain technologies, you may need to think creatively, meaning if your firm manufactures ballistic missile launch platforms, the local sheriff may not have a need for this exact product.  However, a metal coating that can withstand extremely high temperatures may be appropriate for a new type of lightweight blast-proof doors to be installed at the local courthouse or the governor's mansion.   Fundamentally this is the same need, but in a totally different application.  If you’re having trouble reshaping your value, why not host an internal brainstorming session with your own team.  Be sure to include an outsider from the law enforcement field, if at all possible. 

AFCEA's Bethesda Chapter sponsored a Law Enforcement Day during 2009 and from this event; I personally picked up a new client.  In fact, I stumbled on to this opportunity.   Do I need to say more?  Only that I may make some additional comments on this topic, later in 2010.  I am excited about the possibilities.  Stay tuned. 

Question for readers:  from a sales and BD perspective, how would you compare and contrast classic (DoD-centric) intelligence agencies, from modern (domestic) law enforcement agencies? 


Share Your Thoughts:

March UPDATE: I attended the AFCEA-sponsored Homeland Security conference last week (Wash. DC) and one of the speakers specifically noted that the Customs and Border Protection organization has made **very** good use of a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) system. This serves as a win for both federal agencies, and certainly the provider of the technology. I did not catch the name of the system or solution but the point made it clear, if its good enough for the DIA, it may be applicable for the CBP.
Can you think of any other examples of cross agency applicability?