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Most interesting.  This is two different concepts that need to be broken out.

Intelligence Cycle with Open Source Intelligence (OSINT). When used as a stand-alone discipline–OSINT is the only all-source intelligence discipline that is ALSO a “full-spectrum” multi-INT in its own right with commercial imagery, commercial signals monitoring, commercial measurement & signatures–the OSINT “cycle” is identical to the properly done all-source intelligence cycle:

  • Requirements Definition
  • Collection Management
  • Source Discovery & Validation
  • Multi-Source Machine-Speed and Human Processing and Exploitation
  • Human 360 degree historical-cultural analytic tradecraft in context and in time
  • Visualziation and presentation to “deciders”

Most secret communities–and certainly including the US Intelligence Community–stink at most of the above.  The US Intelligence Community does not do requirements definition (Exhibit A: National Intelligence Strategy), does not do proper collection management (FIND, GET, BUY, TASK), is abyssmally ignorant in historical and cultural 360 degree analysis, does not do machine speed all-source processing in part because the machines only speak English and do not have geospatial attributes tagging all daums, is retarded in presentation (PowerPoint dumbs anything down to idiocy levels) and generally is nothing more than classified news–the US IC has forgotten how to do time-sensitive decision-specific intelligence.  To compound their error, most do not do holistic analysis, i.e. considereing each subject in the context of all ten threats and all twelve policies and all eight demographic challenges, AND they fail to isolate nuances relevant to policy versus acqusition versus operations.

OSINT within the All-Source Cycle. This is the really cool part.  The ONLY intelligence senior we have ever heard who actually “gets it” is the head of the South African National Intelligence Agency (NIA), who described OSINT in support of the intelligence cycle as a “DNA spiral” in which OSINT is an active participant in each of the intelligence cycle steps, helping define the requirement, narrow the collection management process, and so on.  This is not how most secret communities work, they continue to make the two long-obvious mistakes: either they treat OSINT as the red-headed step-child locked in the closet and largely useless (CIA) or they treat OSINT as an analytic convenience function, a form of direct-control library, which makes it worse than useless (DIA).

This entire site is about OSINT and its evolution toward M4IS2, the Swedish concept of multinational, multiagency, multidisciplinary, multidomain information-sharing and sense-making.  That in turn leads to the third era of intelligence, Smart Nations, Clever Continents, and the World Brain.  See the new book for the whole story.