The Intelligence Cycle

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The Intelligence Cycle is an [effective], but outdated model. Essentially, it attempts to visualise intelligence as a process, and not merely a product. As such, by attempting a simple outline of a complex procedure, the cycle will be prone to misrepresenting dynamic changes; operational realities and either over, or under value particular parts of the process. However, it’s core strengths lie in it’s simplicity: shifting through the alphabet soup that is the Intelligence Community and making sense of the entire process is daunting: the Intelligence Cycle attempts to define its movement. This offers people within and outwith the Intelligence Community the ability to understand the essential tenets, or goals, within intelligence; that it is essentially a service . Further, simplicity allows change to better suit the environment.

However, as is evident from the recent criticisms of the Intelligence Community (IC), throughout the West in particular , there is a dramatic necessity to reform. In particular, each step of the process, and it’s relationship to the others, is misrepresented in the Intelligence Cycle. Briefly, the Direction phase has to re-evaluate it’s position due to the change in political environment; the collection and anlysis phases are inundanted due to the information age; and the dissemination phase is often misused by policymakers.

The following will suggest that the cycle can be changed to better reflect operational realities; a more productive solution than a complete revolution. Comparing it with a more complex Systems model; and suggest a more detailed model of the traditional intelligence cycle will do this. Understanding the need for these changes will in turn illustrate the dra...

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