Beyond Search, April 4, 2013
Robert Steele has been a prescient thinker and actor in the intelligence sector for decades. In 1979 he was competitively selected to join the Central Intelligence Agency’s clandestine service. He spent nine years with the CIA, doing three tours overseas as a case officer recruiting and handling agents. In 1986, helped write the Marine Corps Master Intelligence Plan (MCMIP) as well as a plan for a Marine Corps Intelligence Center (MCIC). In the last 30 years, Mr. Steele has worked on a wide range of projects around the world.
In the interview which appeared in HighGainBlog, he said:
For all the money we spend on it, the secret world is not really providing the return on investment taxpayers should expect. Intelligence – decision support – is simply not being provided to everyone that needs it.
His views on the relationship of intelligence to decision support caught my attention as well. He said:
intelligence helps to emphasize that intelligence is synonymous with decision-support – the output of a very robust process of requirements definition, collection management, source discovery and validation, multi-source fusion, historically- and culturally-informed analytics, and the sharp visualization that answers an important question for a particular decision-making considering a particular decision challenge. Few realize that most of what is produced by the secret world is not intelligence at all. Rather, it is secret information that is generic in nature and often not useful to decision-makers.
Mr. Steele’s views on open source software identifies a trend which has been accelerating in the last few years. Proprietary software has issues which have added a turbo charger to open source software adoption. He asserted:
Proprietary software is unsafe, does not scale, and is unaffordable. I have been unhappy with all vendors for the past 40 years because not a single one of them is committed to helping people make sense of information – they focus on trapping customers into using them as a core system, make promises they cannot keep, and then over-charge for configuration management and data conversion. I am also very concerned about Google’s computational mathematics and programmable search engines – I have a very high regard for Google’s expertise, and a very low regard for the government’s ability to understand now Google can manipulate search outcomes and other forms.
For those interested in intelligence activities, the new Robert Steele interview is a must read. You can find the Steele 2013 interview in HighGainBlog. Mr. Steele’s Public Intelligence blog is a valuable resource.
Stephen E Arnold, April 4, 2013
Sponsored by Augmentext
Phi Beta Iota: Governance in the 21st Century needs intelligence more than ever before. Such intelligence must be provided to every level and across every function of governance, and extend out into the private sector to create a Smart Nation.