In this first video (5 mins), Dr Sims looks at the information revolution – how the rise of the internet has fundamentally altered intelligence-gathering techniques, bringing challenges and opportunities in a globalised security environment.
In part two of my interview with world renowned intelligence expert and Visiting Professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies Dr Jennifer Sims, we discuss the close relationship between internet penetration and government instability.
Dr Sims presents her theory about how the spread of ‘viral’ ideas, through improved internet/communication mediums, can lead to rapid mobilisation of these ideas across the citizenry, which may force government instability. Dr Sims looks at examples in the Middle East and Africa, where internet penetration has quickly moved from 15% to 40% of the population, which she calls ‘the critical period where political instability can happen’. The rapid spread of communications is empowering to people and can be for good, says Dr Sims, but governments need to take notice.
Dr Sims talks about the tremendous change in intelligence studies in the US, with a significant number of well-known women reaching senior levels in the field. It is a testament to the national security studies programs at universities across the US, says Dr Sims, which are becoming ‘increasingly female in their composition’ — not because they are looking at gender statistics but because they are ‘looking for who is good’ when searching to bring people into programs.
Women are increasingly occupying key security and intelligence positions in the US, and Dr Sims encourages women in Australia who are interested in national security studies to pursue it as a career.