The Intelligence Cycle is an [effective], but outdated model.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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...lins, A., (ed) Contemporary Security Studies, US, Oxford University Press, 2007, p256.
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Dupont, 2003, p26.
Mercado, S., ‘Sailing the Sea of OSINT in the Information Age’, Studies in Intelligence, Vol.48(3), p45-55.
Bartz, D., ‘Information Management Processes and the Intelligence Cycle’, Journal of Australian Institute of Professional Intelligence Officers, Vol.14(1)
US Government, A Tradecraft Primer: Structured Analytic Techniques for Improving Intelligence Analysis, Centre for the Study of Intelligence, March 2009
Heuer Jr., R., ‘Psychology of Intelligence Analysis’, Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, 1999, Chapter 2 on perception in particular.
Gookins, 2008, p70.
Hulnick, 2006, p961-962.
Lowenthal, 2006, p62-64.
Gookins, 2008, p68.
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