• Analyse the elements of the ‘Intelligence Cycle’. What are its core strengths and weaknesses?
Before I begin to analyse the elements of the Intelligence Cycle, I must begin with the definition of ‘Intelligence’.
Throughout my research, it became apparent that the acceptance for an accurate definition of ‘Intelligence’ is still an issue to date. One reason could be because experts tend to view ‘intelligence’ through their own specialty, and would be fair to say that this could possibly be because officers within the intelligence community do not have strong bridges connecting them to each other or to policy makers, which would therefore enhance communication and sharing practices of raw findings and improve the processes of collection and analysis of information that it is to be turned into intelligence and disseminated back to the policy makers.
The closest accurate definition is that of a Center of Intelligence Agency operations officer known as R.A. Random, who explicates that ‘intelligence is the official secret collection and processing of information on foreign countries to aid in formulating and implementing foreign policy and the conduct of covert activities abroad to facilitate the implementation of foreign policy’.
Although Random’s definition of intelligence is close to accuracy, however, it failed to state the fact that secrecy is a key element to the intelligence business because it presents comparative advantage, and without it would not be considered intelligence. Warner also notes, that intelligence can also be looked at as a product, activity and organisation, which should also include Counter-Intelligence and Covert Action.
The activity of intelligence is identified as...
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...oes strengths, therefore making it poor in theory. I perceive the communication barrier between policy makers and the intelligence community to be the most detrimental weakness to the intelligence cycle as it is crucial to the initial stage of requirement and priority setting as well as collection and analysis. Intelligence agencies should function more closely as a ‘community’.
I believe that if there were stronger partnerships between policy makers and the intelligence community where policy makers have a clear understanding of their intelligence agencies roles and their value, then policy makers would assert their responsibility to not only engage in the process, but to drive it. As a result, this would ‘improve access to sources of information and intelligence, and ensure appropriate dissemination of Intelligence Community products and services’.
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