2003 Information Peacekeeping & the Future of Intelligence – The United Nations, Smart Mobs, & the Seven Tribes (Full Text Online for Google Translate)

Articles & Chapters

Information Peacekeeping & the Future of Intelligence ‘The United Nations, Smart Mobs, & the Seven Tribes’[1]

Robert David Steele

Ben de Jong, Wies Platje, and Robert David Steele, PEACEKEEPING INTELLIGENCE: Emerging Concepts for the Future (OSS International Press, 2003), pp. 201-225.

Original as Published

Full Text Online for Ease of Automated Translation


The future of global intelligence is emergent today. There are five revolutionary trends that will combine to create a global information society helpful to global stability and prosperity

First, the traditional national intelligence tribe, the tribe of secret warfare and strategic analysis, will be joined by six other tribes, each of which will gradually assume co-equal standing in a secure global network: the military, law enforcement, business, academic, non-governmental and media, and religious or citizen intelligence tribes, the latter being ‘smart clans’ and ‘smart mobs’ challenging ‘dumb nations’ for power.

Second, in those specific areas generic to all tribes, collaborative advances will be made, and codified in ‘best practices’ defined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO);[2]  included will be shared competencies and standards related to global multi-lingual open source collection, massive geospatially-based multi-media processing; analytic toolkits; analytic tradecraft; operations security; defensive counterintelligence; and the capstone areas of leadership, training, and culture.

Third, multi-lateral information sharing rather than unilateral secrecy will be the primary characteristic of intelligence, we will still need and use spies, including spies skilled in offensive counterintelligence and covert action, not only clandestine collection, but fully 80% of the value of intelligence will be in shared collection, shared processing, and shared analysis.

Fourth, intelligence will become personal, public, & political. It will be taught in all schools and become a core competency for every knowledge worker; it will emerge as a mixed public-private good and a benchmark against which investments of the taxpayer dollar can be judged; and it will impact on politics as elected and appointed officials are evaluated by the voters based on their longer-term due diligence in applying intelligence to the public interest.

Fifth and finally, intelligence will transform peacekeeping by simultaneously making the public case for major increases in funding for ‘soft power’ instruments among the Nations, to include funding for permanent United Nations (UN) constabulary forces, as well as a United Nations Open Decision Information Network (UNODIN), itself a strategic and tactical intelligence architecture for multicultural policy, acquisition, and operational decisions having to do with global security.[3]

Seven Intelligence Tribes

First, the tribes. When it first became clear to me, around 1986, that no single nation and certainly no single intelligence organization, was capable of single-handedly mastering the data acquisition, data entry, and data translation or data conversion challenges associated with 24/7 ‘global coverage,’ I initially conceptualized a global network of national-level agencies cooperating with one another.

However, in the course of sponsoring over fifteen international conferences, during which I have deliberately sought to bring before my national intelligence colleagues the best that the private sector has to offer, it has become obvious to me that there are seven tribes of intelligence, not one; that all of these tribes are at very elementary stages in their development; and that the tribes share some generic functionalities that lend themselves to burden-sharing, at the same time that the tribes also have unique conditions where they alone can excel.

For the sake of simplicity, and recognising that the evaluations will vary from nation to nation, I will tell you what I think of our intelligence tribes in relation to my concept of an objective or ‘perfect’ intelligence standard. On a scale where 100 is the achievable score, I see National at 50%, Military at 40%, Business and Academic at 30%, and the remaining three tribes, Law Enforcement, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO), Media, and Religious-Citizenry, at 20%, as shown in Figure 1.

  • National:                       50        out of 100
  • Military:                        40        out of 100
  • Business:                       30        out of 100
  • Academic:                    30        out of 100
  • Law Enforcement:    20        out of 100
  • Religious-Citizenry  20        out of 100

Figure 1: Evaluation of the Objective Capabilities of Each Tribe[4]

So, only at the national level are we halfway competent, and we still receive a failing grade, 50%.  The military, in part because of massive spending on targeting and virtually unlimited manpower, is close behind with 40%. Business is skewed upwards to 30% by the oil, pharmaceutical, and some financial or insurance companies, or it would be 10%. Similarly, academia has some centers of excellence that help the group achieve 30% but it too is closer to the 10% mark. Finally, in the lowest tier, are religions, clans, and citizens, although Opus Dei, the Papal Nuncio, B’Nai Brith, the Islamic World Foundation, and segments of the Mormon religion and certain cults are themselves in the 40% range, overall this group is at 20% and the masses are at 10% or less.  The average performance level for all seven tribes in the aggregate is at the 30% level, this is probably too generous, but it will do as a baseline for our assessment.

It merits comment that the relative sophistication of the groups is going to change in inverse proportion to their current status. Religions and clans and citizens, the non-state groups, have fewer legacy investments in technology, and are much more likely to leap ahead of the government and business communities by making faster better use of wireless broadband smart tools, and by being less obsessive about old concepts of security that prevent burden-sharing.

In the new world order, unless governments get smart and deliberately nurture a new network that embraces all of the tribes and brings to the government all advantages from progress being made by the various tribes, I anticipate that this list will be turned on its head, non-state actors will be better at intelligence than governmental organizations, with business and academics remaining loosely in the middle. Law enforcement, unless there are strong business and public advocacy demands at the national level, is likely to remain severely retarded within the new intelligence domain.

Professionalisation through Standards

Second, the generic areas for progress. I listed these in the beginning and show them again in Figure 2.  It is obvious to me that the single easiest place to begin is with a global web-based architecture for ensuring that all useful open sources are digitised, translated, and linked using the Open Hyperdocument System (OHS) conceptualised years ago by Doug Englebart, one of the pioneers of the Internet. You should visit him at www.bootstrap.org. A Digital Marshall Plan funded by the USA, and regional joint open source collection, processing, and translation centres, are an obvious and, one would think, non-controversial starting point for a global intelligence community.

  • Open Source Collection (24/7 Global Coverage)
  • Multi-Media Distributed Processing
  • Generic Analytic Toolkits
  • Analytic Tradecraft
  • Defensive Security & Counterintelligence
  • Personnel Certification
  • General and Specialist Training
  • Leadership & Culture Development

Figure 2: Generic Areas for Tribal Co-Evolution

In a related and equally vital area, I would note that the dirty little secret of all government and corporate Chief Information Officers is that they are only processing, at best, 20% of what they collect, and they are only storing perhaps 20% of what their people generate in the way of records.  Electronic mail is rapidly becoming both the primary vehicle for communicating knowledge, and the primary vent for the loss of knowledge. Let me put this in a different way: by developing information technology without having an intelligence architecture in place, we have in effect, slit both our wrists in the bathtub, we do not know when we will die, but death is certain. Along with global coverage of all open sources, we urgently need to create the framework for a globally-distributed processing system that is not held hostage to proprietary vendor technologies. The Europeans are completely correct, especially the Germans, in pressing forward with Open Source Software.  Now that the Chinese are also taking LINUX seriously, the way is open for global progress.[5]  The sooner we neutralise Bill Gates, the sooner we will be free to develop a truly comprehensive European intelligence community as well as the integrated analytic toolkits that are vital to the intelligence profession.[6]

We have known since the 1980’s that there are eighteen distinct analytic functionality’s that must be available to every knowledge worker, regardless of tribe, as itemised in Figure 3. These include not only the standard desktop publishing, multi-media presentation, and real-time review and group editing functions, but the much more complex intermediate analytic functions such as collaborative work, structured argument analysis, idea organisation, interactive search and retrieval, map-based visualisation, and modelling or simulation using real world real time data. At the bottom level, fully half the functionality’s deal with data entry and conversion, digitisation, translation, image processing, data extraction, data standardisation, clustering and linking, statistical analysis, trend detection, and alert notification. We are nowhere near achieving these integrated functionality’s because our governments have failed to understand that national information strategies must provide for the co-ordination of standards and investments as a sine qua non for creating Smart Nations.

Functionality’s for Finished Production

  • Real time Tracking and Real time Group Review
  • Desktop Publishing and Word Processing
  • Production of Graphics, Videos, and Online Briefings

Functionality’s in Support of Analytic Tradecraft

  • Collaborative Work
  • Note taking and Organising Ideas
  • Structured Argument Analysis
  • Interactive Search and Retrieval of Data
  • Graphic and Map-Based Visualisation of Data
  • Modelling and Simulation

Data Entry, Conversion, and Exploitation Functionality’s

  • Clustering and Linking of Extracted Data
  • Statistical Analysis to Reveal Anomalies
  • Detection of Changing Trends
  • Detection of Alert Situations
  • Conversion of Paper Documents to Digital Form
  • Automated Foreign Language Translation
  • Processing Images, Video, Audio, Signal Data
  • Automated Extraction of Data Elements from Text and Images
  • Standardising and Converting Data Forms

Figure 3: International Analytic Toolkit[7]

We must develop standards so that all data is automatically processable regardless or origin, or language, or security classification.  XML Geo, for example, is an emerging standard for providing all data with a geospatial attribute or attributes, and is vital to international data sharing as well as global automated fusion and pattern analysis. The Americans are moving too slowly on this, I would like to see the Europeans press forward on this specific international standard. Mandating transparent stable Application Program Interfaces (API) is an obvious need as well, enabling European, Asian, Near Eastern, and other third-party software to mature together rather than in competition with one another.

I won’t discuss analytic tradecraft, security, and counterintelligence here, but they are all important and they can all be developed in an unclassified generic manner that is beneficial to all seven intelligence tribes.[8]

Let me spend a moment on leadership, training, and culture. If there is one area where we must go in entirely different directions from the past, it is in this area of human management. Intelligence professionals are ‘gold collar’ workers, not factory workers or bank clerks or even engineers. Their job is to think the unthinkable, to make sense out of evil, to draw conclusions while blind-folded with one hand  tied behind their backs. The Weberian model of bureaucratic management is simply not suited to the intelligence profession. Thomas Stewart, in his book The Wealth of Knowledge: Intellectual Capital and the Twenty-First Century Organization makes the point: ‘All the major structures of companies, their legal underpinnings, their systems of governance, their management disciplines, their accounting, are based on a model of the corporation that has become obsolete.’[9]  This is ten times truer for intelligence organisations.

In the 21st Century, the intelligence leaders that will succeed are those who break all the ‘rules’ of the past, they must confront their political masters instead of allowing policy to dictate intelligence; they must be public rather than secret; they must share rather than steal; they must think critically rather than silence critics. We must migrate our cultures to emphasise multilateral over unilateral operations; open sources over secret sources; human expertise over technical spending; analysis over collection; multi-lingual perspectives over mono-lingual; the acknowledgement of mistakes versus the concealment of mistakes, and finally, long-term thinking over short-term thinking.  There is no training program for such a culture today, and in America, at least, we have no leaders committed in this direction.

Intelligence Driven by Policy Policy Driven by Intelligence
Unilateral Multilateral
Mostly Secret Mostly Public
Technical Emphasis Human Emphasis
Collection Emphasis Analysis Emphasis
Mono-lingual focus & filter Multi-lingual focus and filters
Mistakes hidden Mistakes acknowledged
Short-term thinking Long-term thinking

Figure 4: The New Intelligence Paradigm

Within the individual Nations, it is virtually impossible to find leaders who are skilled at working with more than one intelligence tribe, because that is not where we have placed our emphasis. Apart from obsessing on the national intelligence tribe alone, we have allowed the bureaucracy of intelligence to further isolate individual leaders within the culture of an individual organisation with a functional specialisation, such as signals intelligence, imagery intelligence, clandestine intelligence, or analysis.  We have also done badly at respecting the vital roles played by counterintelligence and covert action.

At the global and regional levels, while it might appear to be even more unlikely that we can identify, develop, and empower leaders able to work with all seven tribes across national boundaries, I believe it could in fact be easier, because at this level there are no pre-conceived bureaucracies, doctrines, or biases. In my view, if the financial resources can be made available by the United States of America, and key people can be seconded by the various Nations to regional as well as United Nations (UN) intelligence centers and networks, then new intelligence concepts and doctrine and management, and training, and culture, can be devised over the next twenty-five years.

There are three initiatives that can contribute to the accelerated development of intelligence professionalism to a new global standard. First, a project must be undertaken to interview international intelligence specialists in each aspect of intelligence, both functional and topical, with a view to documenting best sources and methods. Such a project is about to begin an initial two-year period, and I believe it will succeed because 9-11 has finally demonstrated that how we do intelligence now is simply not good enough, in combination with other non-traditional threats, e.g. from disease, I believe there is now a demand for new knowledge about the craft of intelligence.[10]

Second, and ideally with help from our European intelligence colleagues, we must convert what we learn from the first project, into International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) metrics or measures of merit. An ISO series for intelligence will be revolutionary, in part as a means of sharing knowledge about the profession of intelligence; in part as a means of enabling an objective nonpartisan evaluation of the state of intelligence in any given tribe or nation or against a specific target of common interest; and in part as a means of accelerating the evolution of the intelligence discipline from craft to profession.

Third, and in tandem with the first two initiatives, we need both a web-based and a regional center-based approach to intelligence training that permits the best existing training programs from any nation or organisation to become available more broadly, and by thus enabling savings, also permits varied nations and organisations to share the burden of creating new training, including distance learning, on all aspects of both the profession of intelligence, and the objects of its attention, the targets.  I envision an Intelligence University with a small campus in each region, perhaps co-located with a major national university, where multi-national classes are offered to the very best candidates from each of the seven tribes, and where they can learn while also getting to know one another at the entry level, at mid-career, and at senior management levels. I also envision a global multi-lingual training curriculum for intelligence, both its practice and its targets, that is web-based, to include interactive video counseling and multi-media visualisation, and that fully integrates open sources of information, all of the elements of the analytic toolkit itemised in Figure 3, and direct access to experts at appropriate levels of availability and cost.[11]

Global Coverage through Multilateral Intelligence

In the third area, that of multi-lateral sharing, I will use both South Asia and Central Asia as examples. It is clear to me that Central Asia, the former Muslim khanates of Bukhara, Khiva, and Kokand, and an area inhabited by unruly Turkmen, today known as Kazakhstan, Kyrgzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, we have an intelligence challenge of considerable proportions. When we combine that with three countries of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia known as the Caucasus, and with the rest of the Muslim crescent from Pakistan through the contested areas of Kashmir, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, down to Malaysia, portions of the Philippines, and Indonesia, what we have is a new form of ‘denied area’, one as complex and challenging as Russia and China have been in the past, and as Arabia and India remain today.  

These areas are denied to us by our ignorance, not by any lack of access. 

As I do my intelligence headlines every morning, and I select articles about new forms of joint military-police intelligence cooperation within individual countries, or a series of bi-lateral intelligence cooperation agreements between Australia and each of several different Asian countries, I keep thinking to myself, ‘We need several regional intelligence centres that combine the resources of the many nations and the seven tribes to focus, respectively, on the Caucasus and Central Asia; on Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and the contested areas; and on the South Asian Muslim crescent.’  It is clear to me that the time has come for both national and global revolutions in how we manage intelligence, and the figure below highlights key aspects of this.

One Leader, Three Deputies

  • Secret Collection
  • Open Collection
  • All-Source Analysis
Multi-Lateral Coordination Councils

  • Collection
  • Processing
  • Analysis
Unite the Seven Tribes Unite the Seven Tribes
Pool Resources Across the Seven Tribes Establish Regional Intelligence Centres
Serve the People Serve the People

Figure 5: Key Aspects of the  Revolution in Intelligence Affairs

I have written elsewhere[12]  about the need to consolidate classified intelligence capabilities under the authority of one Director of Classified Intelligence (DCI); the need to create a counterpart Director of Public Information (DPI) who is empowered, at least in the United States of America, with a $1.5 billion a year Global Knowledge Foundation,[13] and the need for a National Intelligence Council at the Prime Ministerial or Presidential level which can fully leverage and integrate the expertise and access of all seven tribes of intelligence. Although not specified in Figure 5, it is also essential at the national level that there exists a National Information Strategy, and a single National Processing Agency that can be entrusted with the secure integration and exploitation of all information available to the national government, both secret and non-secret (e.g. immigration applications).

The global revolution in intelligence affairs should be manifested in the establishment of three multi-national co-ordination councils, each consisting of the respective Associate Deputy Directors of National Intelligence for Collection, for Processing, and for Analysis.  An executive secretariat for each, and a secure web-based means of tracking requirements, data, analytic products, and individual experts, would complete this global partnership.  At the same time, there must be at least six regional centres where multi-lateral intelligence co-ordination and co-operation becomes a reality.

Below is a depiction of one such centre, for South Asia.

Click on Image to Enlarge

Figure 6: Regional Intelligence Center

It merits emphasis that the regional centres would have both management and staff that are truly international, with ‘out of area’ managers and staff being especially helpful in ensuring that ‘localities’ does not undermine the professionalism of the activity. Naturally there would be various means of carrying out quality assurance, and each Nation would retain the prerogative of managing its own unilateral collection, processing, and analysis. Each participating Nation would receive management positions commensurate with its financial or staffing contributions as well as its expertise, and every position would have both a primary and a secondary incumbent, with the secondary always being from a different nationality. Over time, each centre would strive to integrate managers and staff from all seven tribes, not only the national tribe, and rotationals to at least one Centre would become a pre-requisite for promotion to the highest levels within any tribe but especially the national tribe.


The case of the United Nations, unlike the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) or the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) or INTERPOL, merits a brief comment. The UN is conflicted about intelligence, equating it with espionage instead of decision-support. Unfortunately, the UN approach now, one of classic denial, is to tip-toe toward ‘information’ functions in a vain attempt to achieve intelligence, while refusing to take seriously the value of intelligence as a craft, as a process, and as an emerging profession. On the one hand, despite the most recent commitment of the Secretary General to reform the Department of Public Information (DPI), that department remains a one-way highway from the UN to the Public, with 77 disparate ‘lanes’ (information centres) that are good at dissemination but not good at collection, processing, or analysis. Earlier, in 2000, the Secretary General created an Information and Strategic Analysis Secretariat within the Department of Political Affairs, in cautious recognition of the UN’s deficiencies in strategic intelligence analysis.[14]  This has not, however, resolved the urgent gaps in intelligence support for peacekeeping and humanitarian policy, acquisition, and operations, nor does it actually provide a full range of intelligence services, including tailored overt collection and massive multi-media processing, for political affairs. In this sense, it may be said that the Secretariat is a dangerous stop-gap, misdirecting UN ‘intelligence’ at this early point in the Secretary General’s consideration of longer-term needs for broad reforms that will lead to strategic, regional, tactical, and technical decision-support for all UN policies, procurements, and programs.

It may be that the UN, NATO, ICRC, and INTERPOL should consider sponsoring both an intelligence-information ‘audit’ of their own organisations, and follow this with a joint two-week workshop with world-class intelligence authorities whose task it might be to educate senior managers about intelligence; to elicit from them their vision of emerging and changing requirements for intelligence from within their organisations; and to devise, in partnership with those senior managers, a campaign plan for both defining generic ‘best practices’ suitable for adoption by the UN, and establishing a program within each organisation that integrates overt, legal, ethical intelligence practices into every aspect of their operations.[15]

Intelligence as a Public Good

This leads to the fourth area of change, in which intelligence must become personal, public, & political. I believe that there is a proven process of intelligence that has extraordinary value, and that there are among us a few great practitioners, of intelligence collection, of intelligence analysis, of counterintelligence, of covert action in all its forms, whose best practices must be documented and standardised and taught to entire societies. In my view, national security and national prosperity in the 21st Century are absolutely contingent on our rescuing the population from its factory-era educational system that creates drones-slaves for machines. We must migrate the essence of the intelligence profession to the other six tribes, and make every citizen an ‘intelligence minuteman’, as Alessandro Politi put it so well in 1992. I believe that intelligence is a mixed public-private good[16] , and that our policy makers will not make intelligent decisions, nor respect intelligence, until we first establish our value in the minds and hearts of those who pay taxes and elect politicians, the citizens.

Especially important will be our establishment of longer-term perspectives that hold policymakers accountable for foolish decisions with very bad consequences far out into the future, and our provision of useful intelligence to the public that will help citizens demand responsible decision-making with respect to public health, the environment, water and energy scarcity, cultures of violence, and other non-traditional threats to the future of our children.

My concept for a global revolution in intelligence affairs restores the connection between taxation, representation, and action.

Information Peacekeeping from Public Intelligence

#1: Public intelligence will change what we spend money on.

#2: Public intelligence will change when & how we intervene.

#3: Public intelligence will change who does the thinking & deciding.

#4: Public intelligence will change who makes a difference & how.

#5: Public intelligence will change how the world views intelligence.

#6: Public intelligence will change the strategic focus of all organisations.

 Figure 7: Public Intelligence and Information Peacekeeping

Alvin Toffler in his book PowerShift talked about how information is a substitute for both wealth and violence and of course Sun Tzu spoke centuries ago of how the acme of skill is to defeat the enemy without fighting. These and other ideas inspired me in the mid-1990’s to focus on the concept of information peacekeeping, and I concluded then, both in a paper for the U.S. Institute of Peace subsequently published in the Journal of Conflict Resolution, and in a chapter for one of the CYBERWAR books, that information peacekeeping is both the purest form of war, and the best means of avoiding and resolving conflict.[17]  But how, one might ask?  I will answer.

First, as intelligence professionals we have to admit to ourselves that we have failed to impact on policy where it matters most: on how the national treasure is spent. In America we spend roughly $400 billion dollars a year on military ‘heavy metal’ that is useful only 10% of the time; and we spend roughly $40 billion a year on each of the three other major domains of national power: diplomacy including economic, educational, and cultural initiatives; intelligence; and homeland security or counterintelligence. We spend almost nothing, at the strategic level, on global public health or global environmental stabilisation, areas where some estimate that $100 billion a year is needed for each of these two challenges, modest sums, considering the replacement cost of an entire population or planet. As we move toward a future in which intelligence is very much a public good and labouring in the public service, I expect that we will spend less on conventional military forces, and more on ‘soft power’.[18]   At some point, if multi-cultural intelligence is effective and the seven tribes work together, I expect us to make the case for a global health service and universal health care; a fully-funded standing United Nations constabulary force with organic weapons, mobility, and communications capabilities; and also a fully-funded global ‘rescue fund’ for stopping environmental degradation.

This answers the question of what we must buy in the way of instruments of national power. It will take at least twenty years to achieve the influence that I believe we are capable of, and thus strike a better balance in how major Nations spend taxpayer dollars.

That leaves another question unanswered: when do we intervene in failed or rogue state situations or conditions? Intelligence has failed here as well. Kristan Wheaton, one of our most capable defence attaches, today supporting the International Tribunal, has written a fine book called The Warning Solution: Intelligent Analysis in the Age of Information Overload (AFCEA International Press, 2002). He explains why we have failed and focuses on the simple fact that policymakers are overwhelmed with $50 billion dollar problems right now, and do not have the time to consider $1 billion or even $5 billion ‘interventions’. Robert Vickers, the National Intelligence Officer for Warning, a man who did what he could to get the U.S. policymakers to focus on Rwanda and Burundi, on Bosnia and Kosovo, in time to prevent genocide, has coined the term ‘inconvenient warning’. In England they speak of ‘warning fatigue’.

In the aftermath of 9-11, when over 3.000 people died in a very dramatic way, there was much talk about how this would change our understanding of the world and our appreciation for how we must invest in alternative forms of national power. Nothing has changed. We have given billions of dollars to the same bad managers and old mind-sets that failed to protect America in the first place, and our President decided to pick a fight with Iraq while deliberately ignoring North Korean nuclear weaponization, possibly even keeping this information from the Senate[19], he also decided to support outrageous Israeli incursions on the Palestinians; to avoid confronting the Saudi Arabian financiers of global terrorism; to accept Pakistani and Chinese and Russian deceptions; and to shun his responsibilities for the 32 complex emergencies, 66 countries with millions of refugees, 33 countries with massive starvation issues; 59 countries with plagues and epidemics; the 18 genocide campaigns; and the many other issues of water scarcity, resource waste, corruption, and censorship that contribute to what William Shawcross calls a state of endless war among and within nations.[20]  If intelligence is remedial education for policy-makers, as Dr. Gordon Oehler, one of the truly great CIA analyst-leaders has said, then we have failed here as well, over the course of many Presidents, not just the one we have now.

Norman Cousins, in his book The Pathology of Power (Norton, 1987), observes that governments cannot perceive great truths, only small and intermediate truths. It is the people that can perceive great truths, such as the need for massive new endeavours to stabilise our world and deal with what can only be considered global transnational multi-cultural issues under the jurisdiction of no one nation, and of vital importance to all nations.

Inspired in part by Cousins, and Shawcross, and many others who have spoken at OSS conferences over the years, or whose books I have read and reviewed on Amazon.com, I came to the conclusion after 9-11 that another 5.000 Americans will die, within the American homeland, before the people become angry enough to demand change.

Change is not going to come from the bureaucracy, nor from the politicians and their corporate paymasters, until the people are aroused.

I expect at least 5.000 additional deaths across Australia, Europe, and Russia, all are as much at risk as America, and all countries and organisations have every reason to take intelligence reforms as seriously as I do.

We must arouse the people, by informing the people, through public intelligence. 

In the 21st Century, as Carol Dumaine from Global Futures Partnership[21] has noted, the lines among the various intelligence constituencies—I call them tribes—are blurring, and we are becoming, very slowly, a very large, informal, global network of professionals whose personal brand names matter more than our citizenship or specific responsibilities. We are, possibly, the first layer of what may become the World Brain.

The question of ‘when’ to intervene will be answered by the people once they become ‘smart mobs’ within a World Brain architecture that contains eight integrated web-based elements open to all tribes and all individuals, as listed in the figure below, together with web-enabled means for tracking political and economic decisions at every level (local through global), for communicating with policy-makers, and for dismissing rascals who fail to listen.

Shared Directories

Shared Calendars

Shared Budget Information

Shared Geospatial Plot/Active Map

Figure 8: Changing How the World Views Intelligence

In my view, in the next five years, we have the following objectives:

First, to nurture and advance each of the seven tribes within each Nation.  Every Nation should manage an annual conference that brings the seven tribes together. I would be glad if each Nation sent a delegation of seven, one person from each tribe, to the annual OSS conference, and held their own national conferences two weeks later, as the Swedes do.  Logically, there should be national security conferences at the local and provincial levels as well, and annual national and international meetings of each of the seven tribes.[22]

Second, to devise generic solutions to those intelligence challenges that are of common concern to the seven tribes and to all Nations.  The Americans have the money, other nations underestimate their power to influence American spending, at least in this minor area for which there is no competing domestic constituency.  If these issues are raised at the Ministerial level, eventually there will be a Global Intelligence Council, including all seven tribes, not only the national tribe, able to make decisions on co-ordinated standards and investments.  There can be Regional Intelligence Centres.  There can be ISO standards for every aspect of the intelligence profession.[23]  There can be a generic analytic toolkit and a global program to ensure all information in all languages is available to every analyst. There can be a global grid that links sources, experts, citizens, and policymakers in an interactive structured credible manner not now available through the Internet.

Third, to support the establishment as soon as possible of the United Nations Open Decision Information Network, UNODIN. The Secretary General announced in late September that humanitarian affairs and public information were the two areas where he wishes to achieve substantial reform. There is much resistance to the Secretary General’s desire to migrate from an archipelago of seventy-seven libraries and introspective research centres, to a global network that is capable of collecting, processing, and analysing multi-media information ‘on the fly’ in order to provide actionable intelligence decision-support to the United Nations leadership. Right now the United Nations relies for its intelligence on American secrets and academic processing of open sources, this is the worst of all possible worlds. Each Nation’s delegation to the United Nations must be educated about this situation, and must work together to sponsor a proper plan for using funding from both the Member nations and from benefactors like George Soros and Ted Turner, to create a World Intelligence Centre, a global web-based UNODIN, and independent United Nations collection capabilities, perhaps developed in partnership with the emerging European intelligence community. We must not allow American mistakes and mind-sets to cripple or corrupt the future intelligence architecture of the community of nations.

Fourth, and last, to serve the citizen public. Policymakers will come and go, and often be corrupt, but the people are forever, and often ignorant.  What we do is honourable, but we are in our infancy. We have a very long road ahead of us. If we evolve intelligently, by the end of this decade we will see a public intelligence network that empowers the citizens to the point that they will establish more balanced allocations of money across the varied instruments of national power; they will improve our responsiveness to early warning; and they will insist that we have the necessary investments in a global multi-cultural network capable of providing 24/7 intelligence support to diplomatic operations, to law enforcement operations, to ethical business operations, to academic and cultural outreach operations, and to humanitarian as well as environmental sustainability operations.

Only by earnestly supporting and educating the people, and by establishing international standards, can the profession of intelligence achieve its full potential.

The new craft of intelligence is the best hope for achieving global stability and prosperity though informed decision-making at every level of society, within each of the seven tribes that comprise the ‘brains’ of any nation. Millions more will die before we get it right. There is no time to waste; we must start now.




[1] This chapter was prepared for presentation as the keynote dinner speech to the annual conference on ‘Peacekeeping and Intelligence: Lessons for the Future?’ sponsored by the Netherlands Defence College (IDL) and the Netherlands Intelligence Studies Association (NISA), 15-16 November 2002 in The Hague, The Netherlands.  An electronic copy of the latest available draft can be obtained at www.oss.net within Archives/Speeches.  The term ‘smart mobs’ is attributed to Howard Rheingold, author of Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution—Transforming Cultures and Communities in the Age of Instant Access (Perseus 2002) as well as brilliant earlier books on tools for thinking, virtual reality, and virtual communities.  The distinction among the seven tribes (or ‘communities of interest’) is original to the author.  Many books have contributed to my understanding of the nexus among intelligence as a craft, information technology as a tool, and communities as a state of mind-culture, and most of them are listed in the several hundred pages of annotated bibliography in each of my first two books, with details and core chapters available free at www.oss.net.   Apart from all the books written by Rheingold, five in particular merit special mention here as fundamental references: Robert Carkhuff, The Examplar: The Exemplary Performer in an Age of Productivity (Human Resource Development Press 1984);  Harlan Cleveland, The Knowledge Executive: Leadership in an Information Society (New York: Truman Talley 1985); Kevin Kelley, Out of Control: The Rise of Neo-Biological Civilization (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley 1994); Paul Strassmann, Information Payoff: The Transformation of Work in the Electronic Age (New York: Free Press 1985); and Alvin Toffler, Power Shift: Knowledge, Wealth, and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century (New York: Bantam 1990).

[2] The acronym ISO is based on the Greek for ‘same’ or ‘standard’ and does not correspond to the name of the organization in any language.  My thanks to Col Walter J. Breede, USMC (Ret.) for pointing this out.  The International Organization for Standardization and its new President-elect, Mr. Ollie Smoot, recently committed to furthering ‘the role of open and global standards for achieving an inclusive information society.’  In partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE), the International Telecommunication Union – Standardization Department (ITU-T), and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), they hosted a summit 7-9 November 2002 in Bucharest, Romania on the topic of ‘Global Standards for the Global Information Society.’  At this point in time only the original press release is available to the public, at www.iso.ch.

[3] While the author has a very strong interest in the future potential of the United Nations (UN) as a global intelligence qua decision-support network, and will continue to articulate views regarding the future of the United Nations, at no time should anyone construe statements by the author about the UN as being suggestive that any advisory relationship exists with that organization, or any of its leaders, either contractually or pro bono.  The known antipathy of the UN to intelligence qua espionage and its existing problems (a one-way public information highway with seventy-seven lanes, multiple centers of influence with competing desk officers, and the absence of a global information strategy for external information acquisition, distributed processing, and web-based dissemination of all UN publications, both formal and informal), suggest that the UN is both a most worthy object of attention for intelligence reform, and perhaps the greatest challenge, greater even than the U.S. Intelligence Community with its opposite obsession on secret technical collection to the detriment of all else.

[4] Since I have written two books on the national tribe and have planned a book on each of the remaining six tribes (plus a book on Whole Earth intelligence and a final book on The Ethics of Intelligence), I do not want to go into great detail here on the nature of each tribe.  Outlines and discussion groups for all eight new books are at www.oss.net.  However, below is a table that provides a short description of the tribe, a representative professional association (or two), and representative books.  There are no truly international associations for any tribe with the exception of the religious tribes—generally each tribe has national or industry associations, all of which would benefit from a new web-based federation of tribes that can be integrated geographically, functionally, and by industry or topic, while sharing generic open transparent standards and ‘best practices.’


National Intelligence Tribe.  Primarily comprised of the official intelligence agencies, but can and should include portions of the diplomatic and other government departments with international responsibilities. Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO)


Robert D’A. Henderson, Brassey’s International Intelligence Yearbook, 2002 Edition (Washington DC: Brassey’s 2002); Robert David Steele, On Intelligence: Spies and Secrecy in an Open World (Oakton, Va.: OSS 2002); Michael Herman, Intelligence Power in Peace and War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1996); Robert S. McNamara and James G. Blight, Wilson’s Ghost (New York: Public Affairs, 2001)
Military Intelligence Tribe.  Primarily those serving directly in military intelligence occupational specialties but should include defense attaches, topographical and foreign area specialists, and direct liaison personnel. National Military Intelligence Association (NMIA)



George W. Allen, None So Blind: A Personal Account of the Intelligence Failure in Vietnam (Ivan R. Dee, 2001); James J. Wirtz, The Tet Offensive: Intelligence Failure in War (Ithaca: Cornell University Press 1991); Samuel M. Katz, Soldier Spies: Israeli Military Intelligence (Novato, CA: Presidio Press 1992); Tom Mangold and John Penycate, The Tunnels of Chu Chi (Berkeley 1985)
Law Enforcement Intelligence Tribe.  Ideally should include undercover officers, technical collectors, and managers, in reality tends to be limited to civilian police analysts.  This is the weakest tribe, and the most important, the linch pin for global tribal change. International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts www.ialea.


Peter Gill, Rounding Up the Usual Suspects? Developments in contemporary law enforcement intelligence (Aldershot: Ashgate 2000); Marilyn B. Peterson  et al. (editors), Intelligence 2000: Revising the Basic Elements (IALEIA, 2000); Robert B. Oakley et al (editors(, Policing the New World Disorder (Washington DC: National Defense University 1998); Angus Smith (editor), Intelligence-Led Policing: International Perspectives on Policing in the 21st Century (IALEIA, 1997)
Business Intelligence Tribe.  Primarily comprised of business or competitive intelligence practitioners but should include strategic planners, market research,  scientific & technical or private investigators, information brokers and special (business) librarians. Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP)


Association of Independent Information Brokers


Babette E. Bensoussan and Craig S. Fleisher, Strategic and Competitive Analysis: Methods and Techniques for Analyzing Business Competition (Upper Saddle River NJ: Prentice Hall 2003); W. Bradford Ashton and Richard A. Klavans, Keeping Abreast of Science and Technology: Technical Intelligence for Business (Columbus: Batelle Press 1997); Ben Gilad, Business Blindspots (Cambridge: Probus Publishing Company 1994); Sue Rugge and Alfred Glossbreener, The Information Broker’s Handbook (New York: McGraw-Hill 1992)
Academic Intelligence Tribe.  Ideally should include all subject matter specialists; in reality tend to be limited to those with an international affairs or comparative politics interest. International Studies Association (ISA) www.isanet.org David L. Boren and Edward J. Perkins (editors), Preparing America’s Foreign Policy for the 21st Century (Norman: University of Oklahoma, 1999); Richard H. Shultz, Jr., Roy Godson, and George H. Quester  (editors), Security Studies for the 21st Century (Washington DC: Brassey’s 1997)
NGO-Media Intelligence Tribe.  Should include members of major non-governmental non-profit associations with interests in global security and assistance, as well as investigative journalists, computer-aided journalism, and watchdog journalism. Union of International Associations


International Consortium of Investigative Journalists


Non-governmental Organizations Research Guide (Duke University 2002), at http://docs.lib.duke.edu/igo/guides/ngo; Non-Governmental Organizations at the United Nations (Information Habitat, 2002), at http://habitat.igc.org/ngo-rev; Charles Lewis et al, The Cheating of America: How Tax Avoidance and Evasion by the Super Rich Are Costing the Country Billions – and What You Can Do About It (Center for Public Integrity, 2002)
Religious-Clan Intelligence Tribe.  Some religions are very well structured (Papal Nuncio with Opus Dei, B’Nai Brith), others more informal but still penetrating (Mormons, Islam), and some simply committed to creating havoc.  Clans, such as the Armenians, Chinese, Kurds, also have networks. Catholic Opus Dei


Jewish B’Nai Brith



Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Doomsday Religious Movements (Report 2000-3), 18 December 1999; outside of those publications focusing on faith-based terrorism, there is almost nothing substantive on religious intelligence and influence operations beyond the obvious.  This area can also include neighborhood groups, citizen intelligence, online protection societies (including cell phones wired to instantly summon citizen ‘angels’ in bad neighborhoods, i.e. virtual self-protection societies).


[5] German and Chinese commitments to LINUX, as well as emerging U.S. Department of Defense recognition of the enhanced security that open source software provides in comparison with proprietary software, have been reported in the OSS.NET headlines, and primary research citations can be found at www.oss.net using its search engine.

[6] Cf. Lawrence Lessig, The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World (New York: Vintage Books 2002), is a seminal work in this area.  There are at least two major areas of law to be re-crafted in the 21st Century: the laws of software regulation, focusing on making software interoperable while leaving content relatively free to move about; and the laws of privacy versus security, requiring stricter controls at the personal datum level, while making possible more robust mining of data in the aggregate to identify and monitor terrorism and crime personalities.

[7] These are as devised by Diane Webb, with the assistance of Dennis McCormick and under the supervision of Gordon Oehler, then Director of the Office of Scientific & Weapons Research in the Central Intelligence Agency.  Their approach, reported in Catalyst: A Concept for an Integrated Computing Environment for Analysis (CIA DI Publication SW 89-10052 dated October 1989) was destroyed when CIA information technology managers decided to settle on the PS 2 as the standard CIA workstation, and ordered the termination of all funding for object-oriented programming and UNIX workstations—this was the equivalent of an intelligence lobotomy from which CIA has still not recovered almost fifteen years later.

[8] It merits comment that during the recent conference on ‘Peacekeeping and Intelligence: Lessons for the Future?’, 15-16 November 2002, in The Netherlands, a number of speakers with deep peacekeeping experience emphasized the need to restore the primacy of human collection and human analysis, while noting that intelligence as a specialization must be reintegrated down to the team or squad level, and analysis must be reintroduced down to the lowest level at which there is an organic intelligence unit.  The conference was sponsored by the Netherlands Intelligence Studies Association (NISA) and the Netherlands Defence College.  A brief summary and highlights from three speakers are provided at www.oss.net within the headlines for Sunday, 17 November 2002.  It merits strong emphasis that for the first time in history, there is a common understanding cross at least ten key nations most experienced in peacekeeping operations, that the UN must—it has no choice—devise official intelligence concepts, doctrine, tables of equipment and organization, and early warning methodologies.  There is also general consensus that sensitive national collection methods aside, the UN itself can create an intelligence architecture that is legal, ethical, and open, relying exclusively—in meeting its own needs—on open source intelligence (OSINT) and commercially-provided secure communications.

[9] Thomas A. Stewart, The Wealth of Knowledge: Intellectual Capital and the Twenty-first Century Organization (New York: Currency, 2001) p.19.

[10] National Security Strategy Center (NSIC), sponsor of the earlier Consortium for The Study of Intelligence and the Intelligence for the 1980’s series, has conceptualized and obtained funding for a new endeavor whose details will be announced in due course by Dr. Roy Godson, the leader in this area.

[11] Among several distinguished authorities speaking at the conference on peacekeeping intelligence, supra note 8, two in particular discussed both the deep problems with UN and member nation leaders who do not understand the value and nature of intelligence, and the need for training programs at the executive level to overcome these gaps in knowledge.  MajGen Frank van Kappen, Marine Corps Royal Netherlands Navy, retired, served as the Military Advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations; Mr. Jan Kleffel, retired from the national intelligence service of Germany, served for five years in the United Nations.

[12] On Intelligence: Spies and Secrecy in an Open World (Oakton, Va.: OSS 2002); Chapter 13 available as a free download from www.oss.net, or the book by purchase from Amazon.com.

[13] The budget for this organization would fully fund regional multi-lateral  open source intelligence centers as well as distributed multi-lingual processing capabilities and shared global geospatial information.  Separate arrangements would have to be made for multi-lateral classified centers and networks, but here also the United States of America would have much to gain from offering full funding in return for local knowledge and access.

[14] Martin Rudner, ‘The Future of Canada’s Defence Intelligence,’ in International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 4 (Winter 2002-2003) p.555 within pp.540-564.  The three classic publications in an all too sparse literature on UN intelligence are Hugh Smith, ‘Intelligence and UN Peacekeeping,’ Survival 3 (Autumn 1994); Paul Johnston, ‘No Cloak and Dagger Required: Intelligence Support to UN Peacekeeping,’ Intelligence and National Security 4 (1997); and A. Walter Dorn, ‘The Cloak and the Blue Beret: Limitations on Intelligence in UN Peacekeeping,’ International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence  4 (Winter 1999-2000).

[15] It may be that the United Nations simply cannot be helped, in part because the most powerful member nations do not want it to have an independent intelligence capability, and the level of ignorance about the craft of intelligence sans espionage is so low among UN and humanitarian officials as to represent a generational issue that will require completely new blood, over the course of 20 years, before progress can be entertained.  In the interim, new forms of multinational intelligence cooperation have already emerged.  Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden have perfected integrated intelligence centers and integrated use of their respective tactical military intelligence collection capabilities, in some cases also integrating capabilities from other countries such as Estonia.  Their success has been so remarkable that there is now talk of trying to replicate their model among Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.  Authorities on the Nordic model include Col Odd Egil Pedersen, Royal Norwegian Army; Col Jan-Inge Svensson, Royal Swedish Army; and Dr. Pasi Välimäki, National Defence College, Finland, all speaking at the conference cited in supra note 8.  Especially noteworthy was the Finish discussion of the new Nokia telephone with embedded encryption that is ‘good enough’ for peacekeeping operations security, and extremely valuable because it allows any individual or organization to join the commercial cell phone network without requiring special equipment or security clearances from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or any member country.  Whatever the obstacles, and perhaps by  focusing on intermediate regional solutions first, the UN requires new forms of open, legal, ethical intelligence.  MajGen Tony van Diepenbrugge, deputy chief of the Netherlands Army, and MajGen Patrick Cammaert, Marine Corps Royal Netherlands Navy, and the military advisor (designate) to the  Secretary-General of the UN, are among the foremost authorities on military information and military intelligence shortfalls and successes in peacekeeping operations, and both, speaking at the same conference, believe that progress can be made over time.

[16] I am indebted to Michael Castagna, former Marine and now a mid-level manager in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, himself an emerging leader in the valuation of intangible goods including knowledge, for his careful examination of whether intelligence is solely a public good (nonrival and nonexclusive) or a private good (rival and exclusive). On the basis of his thoughtful examination, I have concluded that it is both—mixed.  On the one hand, it must be regarded as a public good in that, like national defense, the country at large cannot do without it and there are aspects of intelligence, especially national but also state and local, that must be funded by the application of taxpayer dollars.  However, it is also a private good in that there are low barriers to entry and many situations where individuals and organizations can discover, discriminate, distill, and disseminate intelligence of extraordinary value, in an exclusive and competitive manner.  Indeed, a major challenge facing future leaders of intelligence will be that posed by those who champion false savings and the elimination of a national intelligence budget and national intelligence capabilities, in favor of out-sourcing and ‘pay as you go’ forms of national intelligence.  As with most great issues, when the matter of choice comes up, between capitalism or controlled economics, between conservatism and libertarianism, between intelligence as a public good or intelligence as a private good, the best answer is usually ‘both.’  Intelligence leaders of the future must guard and nurture the public good aspects of intelligence, while taking care to give free rein to and respect the private good aspects as well.

[17] Cf. ‘Creating a Smart Nation: Strategy, Policy, Intelligence, and Information’ in Government Information Quarterly (Summer 1996); ‘Virtual Intelligence: Conflict Avoidance and Resolution through Information Peacekeeping’, Journal of Conflict Resolution (Spring 1999) first presented as a paper at Conference on Virtual Diplomacy, U.S. Institute of Peace, 1-2 April 1997; and a chapter in each of the first two Cyberwar books edited by Dr. Douglas Dearth and published by AFCEA International Press.  More recently, The New Craft of Intelligence: Achieving Asymmetric Advantage in the Face of Nontraditional Threats (U.S. Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute), February 2002 and The New Craft of Intelligence: Personal, Public, & Political (Oakton, Va.: OSS, 2002), with a Foreword by Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), have explored the extraordinary value of public intelligence.

[18] For a book-length examination of this issue, see Dr. Joseph S. Nye, Jr., The Paradox of American Power: Why the World’s Only Superpower Can’t Go It Alone (New York etc.: Oxford University Press 2002), reviewed by the author at Amazon.com.

[19] A Congressional authority has told me privately that the North Korean information was briefed to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), but neither the White House nor the SSCI appear to have promulgated the information to the Senate at large during the debate going on with regard to declaring war on Iraq.

[20] William Shawcross, Deliver Us from Evil: Peacekeepers, Warlords and a World of Endless Conflict (New York etc.: Simon & Schuster, 2000).

[21] Although Ms. Dumaine is a CIA employee from the analysis side of the house, and her small (less than 3 full-time employees) element is part of CIA, it is, like In-Q-Tel, completely independent and striving to bring into CIA the kinds of new ideas that are available in the private sector but have not been realized within various governments.

[22] Business intelligence in the US and France, and to a lesser extent in some other countries, maintain moderate tribal training and conferencing.  Academics and journalists are too fragmented, and the religious tribes too secretive.  The NGOs reject intelligence as a concept alltogether, and need to learn the lessons of this book.

[23] The top headline at www.oss.net for Wednesday, 13 November 2002 contains the full text of the press release announcing the beginning of the campaign to achieve ISO standards for intelligence.  The first step is for individual nations to establish Technical Advisory Groups for Intelligence (TAG-I), ideally including representatives of each of the seven tribes.  Such groups are subordinate to the national standards organization in every case.  Once a critical mass has been achieved at the national level, multiple national standards organizations can petition ISO for the creation of an ISO Committee and an international intelligence standards series.  The Committee would be comprised of national representatives, generally the chairperson for the TAG-Is that choose to be actively involved.  Any TAG-I may propose a standard to the ISO Committee, and all TAG-Is would have an opportunity to suggest modifications to the standard as part of the international approval process.

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