This is a brilliantly organized report with many stellar insights, all of which are undermined by the complete inability of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to accept the fact that 80%–at least– of what we need to know is not secret, not in English, and not owned or controlled by the U.S. Government.
Phi Beta Iota Editorial Comment (DOI: 11 August 2009)
This is perhaps the finest document in recent history to emerge from the U.S. Intelligence Community (US IC) for public study. It ranks with Computer Aided Tools for the Analysis of Science & Technology (CATALYST) in its gifted–uteerly gifted–high-level description of the challenges and opportunities. Everything in this document is both needed and achievable.
1. The broad access to open source information called for in coilumn 2 on page 5 will never be achieved from within the US IC. Even if the Open Source Center (OSC) were to receive $2 billion tomorrow, they would make a mess of it for the very reasons that Vision 2015 identifies as impediments to change: Culture, Friction, Budget, and Tyranny of the Immediate.
2. Global Awareness and Strategic Foresight will not be possible until the DNI achieves access to all information in all languages all the time. How to do so has been known since 2006.
3. The document has two significant errors, one explicit. The document assumes that “Most intelligence work will remain classified…” This is flat out wrong. Creating a Smart Nation demands that the proven process of intelligence be extended to every decision at every level. The second error is implicit: the document continues the tradition of paying lip service to processing, which does not exist for 80% of what we collect within each classified discipline, and does not exist at all for the totality of what we collect across all disciplines.
In all other respects, this is a first-class document and the individual or individuals who crafted it are clearly among the best and the brightest and merit public recognition. We are IMPRESSED.
HOWEVER, absent an Open Source Agency under diplomatic auspices as Joe Markowitz and Robert Steele briefed to Kathleen Peroff and other key Office of Management and Budget (OMB) civil servants, one able to simultaneously fund an Office of Information Sharing Treaties and Agreements led by a US Ambassador; an Office of the Assistant Secretary General for Decision Support of the United Nations; a Multinational Decisioin Support Centre; and regional information-sharing networks and centres built around the military but with localized outreach to the other seven tribes of intelligence, the DNI is going nowhere.
The DNI needs to understand that everything in this document is achievable right now at the unclassified level, and that once an unclassified realization of this utterly superb vision has been realized, within no more than two years, then the classified intelligence disciplines will have no alternative but to scramble for relevance in light of what can be known and shared out of the OSA.