INTELLIGENCE with INTEGRITY Chapter 3: The Human Factor

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05 CH 3.2 The Human Factor 35-46

Book Master Page with All Chapters

DRAFT 2 of 15

Chapter 3:  The Human Factor

Funded by Richard Wright (NM)


A.  Man as a Psycho-Social Node  35

B.  Forms of Human Organization  37

C.  Domains of Human Organization  39

D.  Predicting Revolution  40

E.  Role of Legitimacy & Trust  41

F.  Power of the Powerless  41

G.  Culture, History, & Language Matter  42

H.  Man as Wild Card  43

This is the most important chapter in the book.  We will not move on until everyone in the class gets it.

Reader’s Guide

Man is central  to any intelligence (decision-support) endeavor for three reasons: first, we are supporting human decision-makers; second,  we and all who engage in the intelligence process are humans who must be led with integrity; and third, as little as we understand nature, we understand man even less.  Man as an individual, man as a member of multiple groups, man as the wild card—this is our principal focus.  Therefore, to become proficient at the art and science of intelligence, we must understand all aspects of human psychology and sociology – at the advanced level this would include retrospective understanding of anthropology, cultural linguistics, and other forms of heritage studies; and also a much deeper appreciation than mustered to date with respect to the effect of toxins and other ingrained and atmospheric poisons, as well as the promising potential of such odd couplings as neuroscience and architectural design.  Man is a bio-chem-neuro puzzle.  Groups are themselves living organisms that evolve, mutate, and act not just as their members might wish them to, but often with a dynamic we can scarce comprehend – mild-manners school teachers being moved by the group to rape and mutilate and kill, for example.  Appraising man is highly dependent on context across multiple fronts—cultural, historical, linguistic, and functional.  At the core of man’s relation to other men are two concepts: the concept of legitimacy and the concept of trust.  Together, they enable disparate beings with incomplete information to move forward together.  When either or both are lost, revolutions occur, generally at the bottom of a cycle of decay associated with the corruption of those in power.  Man is the wild card of history, and man is also a power that cannot be suppressed, once aroused.  Knowing when, and why, and how that arousal might occur—or the obverse, how to help decision-makers nurture their population so that legitimacy and trust are compounded with each passing day, is the rich objective of the intelligence profession that does not yet exist in the fullest possible sense.

A.  Man as a Psycho-Social Node

Humanity, and the individual human, are “root” for the intelligence professional.  Our purpose is to education, inform, and help individuals and groups decide.  In order to be effective, we must understand the individual human and the human in every possible combination of circumstance and association (Hampden-Turner 1971).

One model of psycho-social development offers the following elements:

1.  Perception.  The articulation and aggregation of the interests and experiences of the population, or perspective.

2.  Identity.  Recognition and agreement upon opportunities and limitations inherent in the policy, or sensitivity.

3.  Competence.  The effective combination of the elements of identify with the priroities of perspective, or efficiency.

4.  Investment.  Authentic and intense involvement by all in the affairs of the polity and its components for the common good, or dedication.

5.  Suspension & Risk.  The suspension of bias, the development of trust in others, and the initiation and maintenance of a dialog among all persons and groups, or adaptability.

6.  Extroversion.  The active effort to inter-act with others, integrating their perspectives and goals with one’s own, or participation.

7.  Transcendance.  The exercise of personal freedom in public confrontation, or equality.

8.  Synergy.  The creation of programs and norms incorporating and enhancing the abilities and perspetives of the population, or community.

9.  Complexity.  The balanced development, and where necessary, remedial buttressing, of all facets of the personal and communal character, to achieve integration, or sanity.

Think of all of this a next of complex feedback loops at multiple levels:

INDIVIDUAL:  Is each individual right with themselves?

GROUP:  Are all of the individuals right with another?

OTHERS:  Is the group right with all other groups?

NATURE:  Are all the groups right with nature?

Now think about billions of individual circles of perceptions et al interacting all day, every day, in constantly changing contexts about constantly changing issues.  That is our world – and the human factor – understanding and constructive enhancement of the human factor – that is our profession.

There are many other models for understanding the human factor, but they all tend to be fragmented into isolated disciplines and sub-disciplines—some deal only with the human in the past, others with the human in the present, still others with the human as a small part of some other larger focus.

Neither technology nor spending are a substitute for thinking, and there is no target more demand than the human target.

Intelligence organizations that lose sight of the human factor, and substitute massive spending on technical collection against things, are lacking in both intelligence and integrity.

B.  Forms of Human Organization

The evolution of human organization from the primitive but fundamental family unit in which the mother is the only known parent from giving birth, through to many other forms that have evolved over time into varying types of nation-state and then varying types of globalized non-state actors and networks, is the essential context for any professional intelligence judgment.

One book, written in 1947, stands alone as a basic reference: R. M. MacIver’s The Modern State (1947).

The first of four parts deals with the emergence of the state; its origins, early empire, the emergence of citizenship (including the impact of the cities on associations and on the stratification and organization of society), and the formation of the country-state through feudalism and nationality.

Part two discusses the powers and functions of the state; the limits of political control, the residence of authority, might and sovereignty, law and order, and the relations between political government and economic order. An excellent descriptive chart is offered that divides the functions of the state in its internal aspect into order, protection, and conservation & development. Within each category, the role of the state vis-a-vis the physical habits and social structure of the society from which it stems is seen to imply related and elaborative activities.

Part three explores the forms and institutions of the state, the articulation of governmental powers, and the party system.

The fourth and final part, dealing with theories and interpretations of the state, outlines very quickly the evolution of these theories, moving on to focus on two major issues in political thought: the issue of individualism and collectivism, and the attack on sovereignty.

There are many other books, models, and perspectives on the human factor and on human organizations as organization.  Our purpose here is to establish a framework for considering what emotional, rational, physical or meta-physical reasons might draw humans together, or apart, or into conflict.  We are looking at this from a professional intelligence perspective, one that seeks to understand cause and effect, plans and intentions, correlation of human and non-human forces, all to the end of understanding the true costs and likely consequences of any given human condition.  Naturally humans can and do belong to many different types of organization, from clubs to unions to religions to employers and armed forces.  Man is a mosaic.

On the next page are fifteen stages of association / organization as developed by McIver and remixed by Steele (1975).

Stage Institution Foundation Motivation Manifestation


Matriarchy Consanguinity Exogamy Brotherhood


Patriarchy Strength, Ingenuity Inheritance Kinship


Chiefs Customs Defense & Development Subjugation


Councils Secret Societies Control of Community Stratification


Cities Religion & Citizenship Organized Wealth Division of Labor


Government Universal Code of Law Individual Sufferage Popular Assembly


Empire Mobilizable Wealth Control of the World Money Economy, Standing Force, Rank Authority


Military Permanent Organized Force Control of Territory and its Wealth Diffusion of Authority


Church Secular Alienation Need for Solidarity Universal & Crusading Religion


Kingdom Land and Personal Services Order Feudalism


Sovereign State Money & Taxes, Army & Bureaucracy, Balance of Power Power Centralized Government


Industrial State Money & Comparative Advantages Progress Fixed Territory, Infrastructure, Mercantilism


National State Disintegration of Colonial Empires Self-Determination Cultural Ties, Ideological Bonds, Mass Mobilization


Oligopoly Elite Isolation Development Class Structure, Dual Economies


Private Transnational Networks Expansion of Knowledge Profit & Control Poverty, Disease, Peak Everything, Permanent War


Globalization Loss of Control Mass Catastrophes 1% Own 99%

Figure 4:  Human Associations Over Time

 C.  Domains of Human Organization

The political-legal dimension refers to the rights and duties of the inhabitants of any given organization—who governs whom, and to what end.  Included as items for observation would be the character of the elites, if any; priorities manifest in their day-to-day behavior; the competence of their administration and the authority and legitimacy which their regime displays; and finally, in a fundamental constitutional sense, their ability to respond to change, to assimilate other minor groups into the mainstream of political life, to maintain their autonomy vis-à-vis other groups or states, and to respect and nurture the complex elements of their sovereign domain.

The socio-economic dimension encompasses the tangible process of fulfilling the functions of the sovereign organization (not necessarily a nation-state), and is particularly concerned with the allocation of goods and services among the different constituent groups.  Order, protection, and conservation are three of the broad functions of the traditional nation-state.

The ideo-cultural dimension is different from the socio-economic; whereas the socio-economic dimension encompasses the physical and institutional mechanisms by which the sovereign organization moves to achieve its goals, this dimension concerns itself with the spiritual means of coordinating the population, establishing the sense of community and inter-relatedness necessary to move forward.  This is a subtle and difficult area of interest, traditionally neglected because of its difficulty, yet it is the normative behavior patterns engendered by ideological belief and cultural tradition that will do much to determine the perception of personal injustice on the part of elements of the population, and hence the degree of violence to which some might aspire in seeking redress.

The techno-demographic dimension includes both technology and demography; both are variable sources of power for any sovereign organization.

The natural-geographic dimension includes both the somewhat unpredictable aspects of natural disaster, and the relatively static nature of geographic resources.  Energy resources and mineral wealth, and their increase or decline in value as substitutes are identified, determine the ability of the sovereign organization to care for its people.  The ability of the land to support diverse primary products, the possession of a sea coast and major waterways or central valleys facilitating access to all parts of the nation, the temperature, the topography of the terrain, and the continental position of the territory in relation to benign or hostile neighbors will all be of significance in estimating the likelihood and outcome of revolutionary developments in the other dimensions.

Within each of the above dimensions, change can and will occur.  The extent, scope, pattern, and rate of change can be revolutionary (top row below) or not (all others).

Threat Level Extent of Change Scope of Change Pattern of Change Rate of Change
RED Severe Pervasive Persistent Fast
YELLOW Moderate Scattered Sporadic Steady
GREEN Negligible Contained Persistent Slow

Figure 5:  Aspects of Change

D.  Predicting RevolutionI created the below model originated in 1975, enhancing it slightly in 1994 and again in 2011.

Click on Image to Enlarge
Click on Image to Enlarge

Figure 6:  Pre-Conditions of Revolution

E.  Role of Legitimacy & Trust

A major failing within most intelligence (decision-support) practices is that they tend to focus on what can be easily measured, the tangible.  Intangibles, such as legitimacy and trust, receive little attention, and are even more difficult for a Western intelligence professional to evaluate when the context for legitimacy and trust are deeply embedded in cultural or tribal ties that are not understood by non-members.

Legality is not the same as legitimacy (Schmidt 2004).  As we have all seen for decades, special interests can bribe legislatures to make their misbehavior legal, while financial interests pay to dispense with legal oversight all together (Taibbi 2010).

At a global and national level, the search for security is clouded by the dominance of special interests for whom war is profitable (Butler2012) .  Within the larger public body, security is not about armed force on every corner, but rather about the public perceiving its government as legitimate (Manwaring 2003).

Trust is an intangible value that creates wealth, both by reducing costs of doing business, and by increasing the speed of transactions (Covey 2008).  Some call it “relationship economics” (Robison and Ritchie 2010).

F.  Power of the Powerless

The intelligence professional must have a good grasp of intangible power as well as intangible values.  Although slavery and trafficking in humans join five billion poor in suggesting that “the system” is not responsive to the needs of humanity, context and timing matter.  Despite all of the preconditions of revolution being present in any given territory, a revolution may never occur without a precipitant.  Wealth and violence are tangible forms of power.  Intangible forms of power are emotional, intellectual, and spiritual, manifested in information, which is becoming a substitute for tangible wealth and tangible forms of violence (Toffler 1991).

We live in an unconquerable world, where the public has a power that government cannot suppress—but remains powerless absent a precipitant that strikes a spark that ignites that public power (Havel 1985, Schell 2004, Zinn 2006).

Although some have tried to explain when and why people rebel (Davies  Eckstein   Gurr  ), and there is general agreement that people will reach a boiling point if pushed too far down, no one has developed a solid implementable theory of how to create a prosperous world at peace, a world that works for all, by harmonizing the human factor, deconflicting all parties, and achieving a non-zero (win-win solution (Wright 2001).  Right now it is still possible for the 1% to screw the 99%, and profit handsomely (Taibbi 2010).  Neither governments nor labor unions nor religions are holding the forces of organized wealth and violence accountable.

It could be said that the acme of skill for an intelligence professional is to provide decision-support to everyone such that all retain their dignity, all receive a living wage, all are protected from the high-level threats to humanity.  This book and the over-all concept of intelligence with integrity, is a starting point toward that end.

G.  Culture, History, & Language Matter

This book is focused on the failure of intelligence to serve all who need decision-support, but it is also focused on the failure of intelligence to be intelligent and have integrity.  Below is the best quote available in English on this latter point:

“(There is a need) to recognize that just as the essence of knowledge is not as split up into academic disciplines as it is in our academic universe, so can intelligence not be set apart from statecraft and society, or subdivided into elements…such as analysis and estimates, counterintelligence, clandestine collection, covert action, and so forth. Rather, and as suggested earlier in this essay, intelligence is a scheme of things entire. And since it permeates thought and life throughout society, Western scholars must understand all aspects of a state’s culture before they can assess statecraft and intelligence.” (Bozeman, 1998, p. 177).


a: the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations

b: the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group; also : the characteristic features of everyday existence (as diversions or a way of life} shared by people in a place or time <popular culture> <southern culture>

c: the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization <a corporate culture focused on the bottom line>

d: the set of values, conventions, or social practices associated with a particular field, activity, or societal characteristic <studying the effect of computers on print culture> <changing the culture of materialism will take time.  (Hofstede et al 2010, Kottak  2011, Rapaille 2007)


a: a chronological record of significant events (as affecting a nation or institution) often including an explanation of their causes

b: a treatise presenting systematically related natural phenomena

c: an account of a patient’s medical background

d: an established record <a prisoner with a history of violence> (De Baets 2008, Durant 1968,   Gaddis 2004, Mann  2006, Neustadt and May, 1988)


a: the words, their pronunciation, and the methods of combining them used and understood by a community b(1): audible, articulate, meaningful sound as produced by the action of the vocal organs (2): a systematic means of communicating ideas or feelings by the use of conventionalized signs, sounds, gestures, or marks having understood meanings (3): the suggestion by objects, actions, or conditions of associated ideas or feelings <language in their very gesture — Shakespeare> (4): the means by which animals communicate (5): a formal system of signs and symbols (as FORTRAN or a calculus in logic) including rules for the formation and transformation of admissible expressions (6): machine language (Ayer and Ayer 1952, Bonvillain 2010, Deutscher 2011, Hill 2011, Salzmann et al 2011)

Diversity is a form of traveling in time and space.  What you see and hear is hugely dependent on the context—on where you’ve been, what you’ve learned, what information pathologies have been persistent throughout your life, and finally, on the degree to which you do or do not strive to achieve a 360 degree understanding of culture, history, language and the context of “the other.”

One of the reasons I have been championing multinational (collaborative) intelligence collection, processing, and analysis is rooted in my appreciation for how ignorant we are, despite the best of intentions.  It simply is not possible for a Western intelligence analyst to make sense of complex foreign matters alone – and even less so if they are confined within a secret bunker that cuts them off from everyone who is foreign, does not have a secret clearance, and does not speak English.

H.  Man as Wild Card

Man is the wild card.  While there are many potentially unpredictable events and conditions, the reality is that proper and persistent intelligence endeavors that are holistic can reasonably plot history, current circumstances, and projected paths for just about anything.

Least predictable is Man.  Think of man as a multi-dimensional mix of possibilities, any one of which can go to extremes depending on the context.

To repeat from the beginning of this chapter:

Think of all of this a next of complex feedback loops at multiple levels:

INDIVIDUAL:  Is each individual right with themselves?

GROUP:  Are all of the individuals right with another?

OTHERS:  Is the group right with all other groups?

NATURE:  Are all the groups right with nature?

Now add to that the complexity of culture, history, language, and circumstance, and you are well into the kaleidoscope.

The human factor is central to the intelligence profession.  As a general statement, for discussion and validation over time, the value of information decreases as the distance increases from the human source to the human analyst.  Each technical collection or processing or filtering process reduces the value of that raw information, in part because context is stripped away and time is stretched.

Face to FaceFluent Face to FaceTranslator Document Direct Document Translator TechnicalDirect Technical Translated All-Source Analysis

Figure 7:  Human Factor Analytic Distances


Agricultural Era
Army discipline
Davies J-Curve
Foreign control
Garrison state
Human Factor
Industrial Era
Industrial state
Information Era
Land Use
Natural Geographic
Police discipline
Secret Societies
Status discrepancies
Terrorism/Crime high
Welfare state


2012 USA Human Intelligence (HUMINT) Scorecard 1.1

2012 Robert Steele: The Human Factor & The Human Environment: Concepts & Doctrine? Implications for Human & Open Source Intelligence 2.0

2012 Robert Steele: The Human Factor & The Human Environment: Contextual Trust for Sources & Methods

2011 Steele, Robert.  “Thinking About Revolution.”  PBI.

2010: Human Intelligence (HUMINT) Trilogy Updated

Arendt, Hannah (2006).  On Revolution.  New York, NY: Penguin.

Ayer, Alfred and Sir Alfred Jules Ayer (1952).  Language, Truth and Logic.  Mineola, NY: Dover Publications.

Bonvillain, Nancy (2010).  Language, Culture and Communication (6th Edition).  Pearson.

Bozeman, Ada B. (1998) Strategic Intelligence and Statecraft: Selected Essays, Dulles, VA: Brassey’s Inc.

Brinton, Crane (1965).  The Anatomy of Revolution.  New York, NY: Vintage.

Butler, Smedley (2012).  War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America’s Most Decorated Soldier.  Seattle, WA: CreateSpace.

Covey, Stephen (2008).  The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything.  New York, NY: Free Press

Davies, James C. (1962). “Towards a Theory of Revolution”, American Sociological Review, Vol. XXVII. p. 5-18.  Graphic and discussion at Journal: US IC Re-Discovers the Davies J-Curve, PBI (8 October 2009).

DeFronzo, James (2011).  Revolutions and Revolutionary Movements.  Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

De Baets, Antoon (2008).  Responsible History.  New York, NY: Berghahn Books.

Deutscher, Guy (2011).  Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages.  New York, NY: Picador.

Durant, Will and Ariel Durant (1968).  The Lessons of History.  New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Eckstein, Harry (1980).  Internal War: Problems and Approaches.  Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.

Gaddis, John Lewis (2004).  The Landscape of History: How Historians Map the Past.  New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Goldstone, Jack (2002).  Revolutions: Theoretical, Comparative, and Historical Studies.  Wadsworth Publishing.

Goodwin, Jeff (2001).  No Other Way Out: States and Revolutionary Movements, 1945-1991. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Gurr, Ted (2011).  Why Men Rebel: Fortieth Anniversary Edition.  Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers.

Hampden-Turner, Charles (1971)  Radical Man: The Process of Psycho-Social Developoment.  Norwell, MA: Anchor Press.

Havel, Vaclav (1985).  The Power of the Powerless: Citizens Against the State in Central-Eastern Europe.  Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe Inc.

Hill, Charles (2011).  Grand Strategies, Literature, Statecraft, and World Order, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Hofstede, Geert, Gert Jan Hofstede, and Michael Minkov (2010).  Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind.  New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Jasper, James (1999).  The Art of Moral Protest: Culture, Biography, and Creativity in Social Movements.  Chicago, IL:  University Of Chicago Press.

Kottak, Conrad (2011).  Mirror for Humanity: A Concise Introduction to Cultural Anthropology.  New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

MacIver, R. M. (1947).  The Modern State.  New York, NY: Hesperides Press.

Mann, Charles (2006).  1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. New York, NY: Vintage.

Manwaring, Max, Edwin Corr and Robert Dorff (eds.) (2003).  The Search for Security: A U.S. Grand Strategy for the Twenty-First Century.  Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.

Neustadt, Richard and Ernest May (1988).  Thinking in Time: The Uses of History for Decision-Makers.  New York, NY: Free Press.

Rapaille, Clotaire (2007).  The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as They Do.  New York, NY: Crown.

Robison, Lindon and Bryan Ritchie (2010). Relationship Economics. Burlington, VT: Gower

Salzmann, Zdenek, James Stanlaw, Nobuko Adachi (2011).  Language, Culture, and Society: An Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology.  Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Schell, Jonathan (2004).  The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People.  New York, NY: Holt.

Schmidt, Carl (2004).  Legality and Legitimacy.   Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Taibbi, M. (2010) Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America, New York, NY: Spiegel & Grau.

Toffler, Alvin (1991).  Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth, and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century.  New York, NY: Bantam.

Zinn, Howard (2006).  A Power Governments Cannot Suppress.  San Francisco, CA: City Lights.



Read at least one review for each of the books cited—do this quickly, take very short notes.  Read the entire paper on revolution with care, take very short notes.  Browse online for “precipitants of revolution.”  Note:  “Cause” is an imprecise term, more akin to a precondition than a precipitant.


1.  What is a man?  A slave?  A servant?  A pioneer?  A criminal?

2.  What are the principal domains within which the human factor can be studied?

3.  Discuss the difference between preconditions and precipitants of revolution.

4.  Does a group have a right to an accurate memory or history of its past?

5.  Can one understand a foreign context without the language, history, or cultural background?

6.  How would you measure alienation in the USA today?

7.  Assuming preconditions of revolution exist in the USA, discuss possible precipitants and their likelihood, location, and how they might “go viral.”