Information Abundance vs. the Intelligence Community

Topics: Military intelligence, Intelligence analysis, Intelligence Pages: 12 (4028 words) Published: September 6, 2010
Executive Summary
The function of intelligence has existed since ancient and biblical times for the purpose of informing decision makers and leaders. Until quite recent times one of the unique capabilities of intelligence professionals was access to scarce information. However there has been a transformation in information domain over the last twenty years. Information is no longer a scarce commodity and access to many forms of information is relatively easy. This report will explore and discuss the dominant issues that exist, and demonstrate that technology itself is the root cause of many of these issues - such as the abundance of information, information management, bureaucratic and organisational siloing, technology substituting humans, the generation gap, virtual battles and enemies, and the increasing threats to our critical infrastructure - and that there is no simple or straightforward solution to a complex set of intertwined problems. Introduction

The intention of this paper is to discuss how the intelligence landscape and profession is adapting to the changing information and technology landscape. This will be achieved by defining what intelligence is in relation to the modern information environment and how the intelligence cycle has changed and developed over time, followed by an analysis of the modern day issues faced by the intelligence community. Doing so will provide a basis upon which comparisons between the old and the new can be drawn can be drawn and identify more precisely the issues that currently exist within the modern intelligence community and how these issues should and/or can be addressed. There will be a particular focus upon the past 20 years during which time the intelligence landscape has transformed considerably due to the introduction and development of advanced information-gathering techniques and related technologies. While the introduction of new technologies have resulted in easier access to many forms of information, it has also introduced issues, with specific regard to the large volumes of information that need to be managed, processed stored and analysed. This paper will aim to demonstrate that the major problems faced today by the intelligence community can all be traced back to a single root cause, simply being the abundance of information and communications technology that is publicly available in the world today, and that the perception that ICT can address this issue is somewhat ironic. Intelligence – an Overview

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Criminal Intelligence Training Manual for Analysts, intelligence is formed when information - or raw data – is evaluated or worked upon in order to enhance its value and significance. More simply put “Information + Evaluation = Intelligence” (Page 1, UNODC). This definition of intelligence is inline with many other organisations that operate within the intelligence community for both government and commercial organisations. The longstanding concept that knowledge equals power has been well understood by many leaders and strategists dating back to biblical times. Despite the advances in technology and the different political and economic state that currently exists within the world, the basic principles of intelligence are the same today as they were thousands of years ago. People or organisations - be they policy makers, government ministers, CEOs or generals - all require information, or more specifically intelligence, in order to make better-informed decisions or execute different actions so as to dominate an adversary at a strategic and/or operational level in economic, political and/or commercial arenas. While the concepts of and the necessity for intelligence have remained constant over time there have been changes in the methodologies used to manage the intelligence cycle that have come as a result of the transformation of the information environment. Historically, the amount of...
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