Impact Of The Cold War On The United States ' Present Intelligence Essay

Impact Of The Cold War On The United States ' Present Intelligence Essay

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While historians continue to debate whether the Unites States would have had a large scale intelligence capability had the Cold war never started, it’s undeniable that its influence has had a significant impact on the United States’ present intelligence community. The Cold War’s impacts remains undeniably obvious in the evolution of intelligence processes, procedures, and most significantly, the technological advances in collection capabilities we see today. In this paper, we will discuss how technology and financial changes have effected intelligence collection and analysis following the Cold War. We will also examine what these have done to present day collection as well as possible future impacts these changes may bring as our enemies continue to evolve.
The Cold War forced the United States to focus on improving its technological edge over all other nations in an area that at the time was fairly undeveloped. The area of intelligence collection, while used in more fundamental forms such as human reconnaissance, took on a much grander existence as the United States was forced to advance collection areas in remote technical systems to collect intelligence due to the Soviet Union’s geographically isolating location. This focus was unique for the time as the majority of the focus was on kinetic equipment, specifically nuclear weapons, in an attempt to create a nuclear deterrence against the Soviet Union. This need to increasingly advanced systems and capabilities quickly came at a significant financial cost that was justified, to some extent, by the constant threat of the Soviet Union and their nuclear capabilities (Lowenthal, 2012, p. 13). Despite the successes of these intelligence programs and significant advances made in the c...


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...e slow steady decline in intelligence funding and priority as the war on terror slows. Unlike previous conventional wars, this one will likely drag on for some time, although the significant amount of funding associated will likely not. While we always hope to learn from history and past mistakes, the priority that the intelligence community currently maintains will likely be short lived until another significant threat reappears. Just as the armed forces grow and shrink with emergence and passing of threats, so too will the intelligence community. However, let us hope that our current leaders will at least ponder the impacts, both second and third order effects, of reckless drastic cuts to our intelligence programs. We must always remember that no matter how we change, our enemies will remain focused, keeping a watchful eye and waiting for the right time to strike.

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