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I’ve been retired from the IC a little while, so maybe things have changed, but, some observations:
- Don’t remember the IC having the “most” important standing in the nat’l security realm. Surely, the NCA, NCS, JCS, State, Energy, Treasury, etc, and operators (civ and mil alike) have a more important standing. From what I learned in schools and saw from experience, what they do with intel is more important. An example is Patton’s race across Europe based on intel about German fuel status.
- Instead of open-source generating “new requirements”, the effect and needs of open-source info does not seem to have changed since the 1990s, at least from my experience building defense and national intelligence capability requirements and programs and as noted in “Part VI-The Open Source Revolution” in Intelligence and the National Security Strategist, edited by George and Kline, 2006 and the WMD Commission report (2005).
- Having mountains of open-source info, including info from the dark web, surely hasn’t changed the “nature” of intel. Regardless the size of the mountain or hill, isn’t intel still intel - the product resulting from the collection, processing, evaluation, interpretation, and reporting of info? (Note: Acknowledge intel is also a profession, program, etc.)
- I don’t see how the “new” world places any “more” responsibility on analysts to know and trust their sources than analysts had at any time in the past. Throughout history, analysts have had to become comfortable with new info (e.g., MASINT). Further, I suspect what is new today is only a variant of what was new ten and 20 years ago. Regardless, the level of responsibility should be the same now as it was then.
- Rather, leaders in the analytic community still do not understand the analyst-collector relationship. Fortunately, the kids on the frontlines do, and do it exceptionally well every day, even though they have not gone through some sort of psychological transformation that I could see.
- I bet analysts would be surprised to know they have all the pieces of their jigsaw puzzles.
- I doubt COVID-19 has really changed the way intel operates. I bet much of it operates like it did pre-pandemic. But, I suspect, some locations of where some staff and others work and means of internal comms has changed. I wonder if those working at home for the past seven months still like their work environment.
- Issues like those mentioned by Pherson (e.g., disease) have always been part of the national security portfolio, at least from what I learned in courses and read in various national/departmental/ discipline-level strategic plans since the 1970s.
- As for multi-Int intel collection education-hope NIU already has it as part of its degree, certificate, and stand-alone programs (would have made the same comment ten years ago and would have been disappointed).
Maybe the President was correct when he opined some in the IC need to go back to school.