ROBERT STEELE: I have elected to answer this personally. It may well be the most fundamental question this web site has received in that any corruption in the answer to this question assures the failure of any strategy, policy, acquisition, or operation that is spawned from an inherently corrupt — a deliberately corrupt — refusal to take the question seriously.
There are several ways to address this. The first is the most obvious, which is to say that the traditional threat is state on state conventional forces, and the non-traditional threats are everything else. Here in one chart is what General Al Gray, USMC, then Commandant of the Marine Corps, with my assistance as his ghost-writer, put in “Global Intelligence Challenges in the 1990's” (American Intelligence Journal, Winter 1989-1990).
The whole point of that article was to suggest that both the US Intelligence Community and the US Department of Defense needed to radically alter how they trained, equipped, and organized. I now realize that it was corruption, not stupidity, that buried this message. As SOCOM and Navy Irregular Warfare said in defending their decision not to go after the Somali pirates from 2005-2008 and later, “it's not an expensive enough problem.”
I myself defined the six fundamental challenges for US intelligence in a 1990 article, “Intelligence in the 1990's: Recasting National Security in a Changing World” (American Intelligence Journal, Summer 1990), and I am very sorry to say that today, 22 two years later, $1.2 trillion dollars down the drain later, we are in no way further ahead on any of these six basic functions of the profession of intelligence. Here to the side is an illustration of where we have failed to go.
The US Government at the highest levels (not to be confused with the good people trapped in a very warped system) has substituted ideology for intelligence and corruption for integrity. No amount of common sense or intelligence with integrity will impact on this totally corrupt system in which not just Congress and the Executive, but the Supreme Court as well, are whole owned subsidiaries of Wall Street and also completely penetrated and subverted by a variety of co-conspirators including the Vatican, the Zionists, the Pentecostals, and what have you. Here to the side is the logical Whole of Government force structure and logical redirection of government intelligence that should have started in 1992 after the ASD C3I review. It did not for one simple reason: massive corruption across the entire executive-congressional-intelligence-industrial enterprise enabled by an inattentive public and an equally corrupt media conglomerate already part of the “octupus” of high crime. It merits comments that “organized” crime is tame — relatively non-threatening — when compared to high crimes by Wall Street and the industrial complexes (agriculture, energy, intelligence, health, military, for example) — I would put traditional crime at no more than 10% of the total criminal threat, the other 90% is centered in the City of London and Wall Street.
Years later, in 2004, the United Nations High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenge, and Change published, for the first time in history, an agreed upon list in rank order of the ten high-level threats to humanity. LtGen Dr. Brent Scowcroft, USAF (Ret), was the US member, and this may stand as one of his finest moments. A Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility, it is also available free online and should be a foundation document for the EU, NATO, the BRICS, and any others who wish to by-pass the abject idiocy and corruption of Washington, DC, and actually address the public interest. Among these threats, two are traditional real (Inter-State Conflict and Civil War) and two are traditional contrived (proliferation and terrorism).
In today's environment, all ten could reasonably be considered non-traditional, with both inter-state conflict and civil war now demanding non-traditional eight tribes/whole of government peaceful preventive measures and sustained conflict stabilization and reconstruction. Because such measures are less profitable to the few that sponsor wars, public education must reach a point where it is possible to stop all funding for wars and demand that public revenue be spent on creating a prosperous world at peace, something that can be done for one third of what we spend on war, as this chart from Medard Gabel (#2 to Buckminster Fuller and architect of the EarthGame(TM) illuminates so clearly.
An earlier book that focused on process as much as substance merits mention here, especially now that we know that all of the “rules” that we have been playing by have been rigged and between them, the two-party tyranny that directs the US Government, and the financial terrorists (New York) and energy terrorists (Texas) that own the US Government, have made fools — and paupers — of all of us. Also relevant here are the food terrorists, led by Monsanto. But I digress. The book I refer to is Jean-fraoncois Rischard's HIGH NOON: 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them (Basic Books, 2003). Any economic agreement, any trade agreement, that is negotiated in secret and that has secret terms and conditions, should in my view be null and void, and every signatory organization (e.g. the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization) dissolved for lack of legitimacy. We have been letting the criminally insane run the place; now that we are all learning how to communicate, compute, interact, share information, and do consensus-based sense-making in an open source everything environment, governments are not just redundant, they are a major obstacle to rapidly achieving pararchy — self-governance with no corruption, no fraud, no waste, no abuse. The process has become totally corrupt — here to the side are the steps that I conceptualized over a decade ago, and I still cannot get a letter through to the Secrectary General who is well-positioned to make something of these ideas.
What is most interesting about this list of threats, all of which are non-traditional less Inter-State Conflict and Civil War, is that it calls into question everything about how the US Government and most other governments train, equip, and organize both their national security enterprises, and their national commonwealth enterprises. In the USA both are imploding because the disconnect between reality and policy is greater than ever before in history. It is not possible to imagine a more dysfunctional government, a government more distant from the needs of its public. Dictators have a better sense of their own public than does the US Government at the political level — the silence of the progressives has been bought by slight of hand and theater (Cf. Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle) and one can only weep at the pathos of an ignorant inert public accepting its poverty as its just desert — 53% of US adults — including myself — do not have a full time job. The unemployment rate over-all, including all the low-rent jobs and part-time jobs, is 22.4%, but among recently graduated college students and those over 50 like myself, the unemployment rate is closer to 40% — and no unemployment benefits apply. Among black teen-agers that drop out of high-school, the unemployment rate is 95%. For any government to refuse to address these facts is criminally insane.It does not help that today the secret world for all its expense only produces 4% “at best” of what a major policy player needs, and nothing at all for everyone else. Decisions are made about agriculture, education, energy, health, and everything else, on the basis of ideology and corruption, not intelligence (decision-support) with integrity.
What makes the governments ignorance and arrogance (two of the persistent seven sins) particularly troubling is that non-traditional threats do not require secret sources and methods to understand. Actually, traditional threats do not either, but in denied area times it was convenient to create a cult of secrecy above and beyond the law, to enable the hijacking of military assets world-wide in support of global crime based out of New York, Texas, and Louisiana and facilitated by one of the seven CIA's multiple chains of command. Here to the side is a chart showing the applicability of low-cost readily available open sources and methods to all of the threats. This chart first appeared in my seminal chapter, “Open Source Intelligence,” in Loch Johnson (ed.), Strategic Intelligence: The Intelligence Cycle (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2007), Chapter 6 pp. 96-122. The lack of its citation is directly correlated to the degree to which all of the academics writing about secret intelligence are intellectually corrupt — there is an understood ban on anything that calls into question the cost, futility, and pathological indecency of the secret world. Towering above this craven lot, Loch Johnson has stood out with integrity. He has been joined recently by Hamilton Bean, whose book is honored with a Foreword by Senator Gary Hart (D-CO), No More Secrets: Open Source Information and the Reshaping of U.S. Intelligence (Praeger, 2011), I highly recommend, along with Anthony Olcott's Open Source Intelligence in a Networked World (Bloomsbury Academic, 2012). They conclude, as I do, that as long government planning, programming, and budgeting is on its present path, open source intelligence is the skunk at the garden party.
This leads to my last point, and my favorite slide, first appearing in my latest chapter, “The Evolving Craft of Intelligence,” in Robert Dover, Michael Goodman, and Claudia Hillebrand (eds.). Routledge Companion to Intelligence Studies (Oxford, UK: Routledge, 31 July 2013)
We have spent the last fifty years focusing on huge conventional and nuclear threats not because they were threats, but because they represented the most profitable possible means of transferring wealth from the pockets of those who pay income taxes, to those who do not — with 5% sticking to Congressional pockets along the way. The Cold War was contrived — for one third of what we have spent on a faux global war of our own making, we could have created a prosperous world at peace, a world that works for all, a world in which truthful information nurtured local to global feedback looks, and stability came with legitimacy. [I'n not going to footnote the 1900 books that led me to this conclusion — see the two book lists at the end of this post.]
In my view — and I do get lonely — the financial, political, and intelligence professions are corrupt to the bone, with corrupt intelligence enabling corrupt politics which enables the financial terrorism that has been our curse these past twenty years — since JFK was assassinated and they got away with it, the Vice President of the USA, LBJ, being central to both the plot and the cover-up. This chart, on the evolving craft of intelligence, is now taking on a life of its own. Crisis Mappers, Dr. Patrick Meier, and humanitarian and open source technologies are vastly more important to our future, vastly more compatible with democracy, and vastly more likely to have positive outcomes, than the corporate vaporware and draconian theft of public information that the National Security Agency (NSA) buys or mandates, or the secrets that it steals to enrich the few, cow the Congress, and posture with the President.
In a nut-shell, the most non-traditional concept around non-traditional threats is one Buckminster Fuller and the systems dynamics people have tried to explain over and over: everything is connected, you must address all threats with all policies all the time. News-cycle policy and “strategic communications” that are nothing more than the lie of the day told with pomp and circumstance, cannot be confused with the substance of governance. Reflexivity is the art of thinking holistically, constantly, coherently, and interactively. The latter is the hard part. Governments that talk only to themselves and listen to no one are failed governments. Governments that ignore natural constraints, demographic realities, and the power of the sun and the wind and the tides are stupid governments, corrupt governments. Governments that play around with geoengineering and HAARP are committing crimes against humanity every single day and shame on all of us — and on all other governments — for letting them get away with it. Were I a Russian President, HAARP would be toast, one way or another, and every aircraft doing particle sprays would finds C-4 wrapped around each of its wheels at some point. What other governments — that do know better — are allowing the US Government to get away with is to me utterly shocking.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Special Edition
So we come finally to the crux of the matter, which is not whether we know the enemy — there is no enemy, only external circumstances and actors — but whether we know ourselves. To this there are two answers, and the US Government fails on both counts, as does the US public, which by all accounts I have read is so dumbed down and drugged up as to be nearly worthless to the 1% that made them that way.
Answer #1: The US Government is out of touch with reality. Reality is whatever the highest bidder can get into an executive briefing paper or legislative language.
Answer #2: The US Government has no clue how deeply it is penetrated, by how many evil-doers, or to what degree everything we spend money on is either inherently neutralized to begin with, or easily compromised by the original architects. NSA's reliance on two Israeli companies, at the same time that NSA chose to let SAIC fail with Trailbalzer, ignore Thin Thread, and prosecute its own internal whistleblowers, professionals with integrity every one, is a snap-shot of the US Army, the US Government, the US media, the US commercial environment, writ large. Counter-intelligence matters. If I have come to appreciate one aspect of intelligence more than any other, including open source intelligence, it is counter-intelligence. Without reliable pervasive counterintelligence, everything else might as well be a lie.
To the above I would add that the US Government, despite the best efforts of the Founding Fathers, has failed over time to treat the public with the respect it merited as the foundation for a Republic, and instead allowed financial vultures to destroy public education, public transportation, and public broadcasting. An educated people — an engaged informed citizenry — is the single most fundamental requirements for maintaining a free and open society. The minute you abdicate your role to elites and experts — who generally are neither elite nor expert but leveraging whatever legal or illegal sinecure they have occupied — you have abandoned the Republic. Very quickly the elites and the experts will decide who gets taxed, who gets educated, who gets addicted to any number of legal drugs, who falls prey to an equal number of toxins released into the commonwealth by the highest bidder for non-oversight.
In summary, both of the most important non-traditional threats are internal — the embrace of corruption by a government coincident with a neglect or even a strangling of counterintelligence; and the embrace of corporate dictat over public goods and services, watering them down, poisoning them up, to keep the public inert and unable to fulfil its infinite potential The latter is the ultimate crime against humanity.
Lacking intelligence with integrity, we are lost. Others can pick up where I have left off, I have no doubt at all that in the end we will evolve toward dealing with all threats by harmonizing all policies with multinational information-sharing and sense-making. As the world gets smarter and more connected, it will route around the stupid and the corrupt. That is already happening to the US Government, which is a global laughing-stock in cyber-anything, and generally considered quite dull across all other topics. It hurts me to say this; I was born a US citizen and I will die a US citizen, and as God is my witness, the truth at any cost lowers all other costs. Truth & Reconciliation is how we must proceed. The preconditions for revolution are in place — the precipitant for sparking that revolution has not yet materialized.