Review: Routledge Companion to Intelligence Studies

5 Star, Intelligence (Government/Secret), Intelligence (Public)

PRINTABLE DOC (3 Pages): Review Routledge Companion to Intelligence Studies

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Robert Dover , Michael S. Goodman , Claudia Hillebrand

5.0 out of 5 stars The best collection in English — bold, innovative, essential, October 31, 2013

Routledge's managing editor for this collection, and the contributing editors themselves, one of whom I know personally, have created the single best collection in the English language, and explicitly superior to the Oxford counterpart that is lacking in scope of coverage and diversity of authorship. This is the first book to fully satisfy me in one book (for the five volume standard in the field see Strategic Intelligence [5 volumes] (Intelligence and the Quest for Security) (v. 1-5).

The book is opened by Loch Johnson, long one of my heroes (and with Britt Snider, one of two people to serve on both the Church and Aspin-Brown Commissions). His section concludes that intelligence studies still lacks deep credible understanding of how intelligence does (or does not) influence policy (and strategy and acquisition and operations), when intelligence works or does not, and how, exactly intelligence producers an consumers get on. I have my own answers, shared with General Tony Zinni, USMC, among others: intelligence does NOT influence anything of substance; it costs too much for what little it produces (4% “at best”), and it ignores 90% of the potential consumers of intelligence (see my free online article, “Intelligence for the President — AND Everyone Else.”

From Lock we move to Michael Warner on theories of intelligence, this is a seminal piece both a stellar and nuanced definition of what intelligence is, and consideration of intelligence risk. In this section I am also captured by R. Gerald Hughes on “Strategists and Intelligence,” this is a thoughtful read to which I would add the opening of Ada Bozeman's Strategic Intelligence and Statecraft: Selected Essays (Brassey's Intelligence & National Security Library).

My own chapter, “The Evolving Craft of Intelligence” has been brilliantly edited by Rob Dover, and is also by permission free online at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog, where it is available in full text online easily translated on the spot into multiple languages, as well as in down-loadable final form. I distinguish between three eras of intelligence, secret war, strategic analytics, and smart nation/multinational everything. The first two have failed expensively, the USG is still fighting me on the third, but victory from below is inevitable. I praise the managing editor and contributing editors for allowing ten graphics. This is my best work to date, and complements the concluding chapter of Counterterrorism and Open Source Intelligence (Lecture Notes in Social Networks), also free online, “The Ultimate Hack Re-Inventing Intelligence to Re-Engineer Earth.

The historical chapters are small gems, focusing on signals, human, economic,measurements & signatures, and open source intelligence. Signals does not quite do justice to the expensive insanity and inffectiveness of NSA (and the various foreign services it subsidizes); human and open would do well to integrate more of my work, particularly my three monographs at the Strategic Studies Institute (especially the latest, defining OSINT as a sub-set of HUMINT, and fifteen slices of HUMINT, only four of which are classified), but on balance I find each and every one of these contributions top-notch.

The twelve chapters on individual country systems are superb in and of themselves — I particularly appreciate those on China, France, India, and Spain — but we are long over-due for a proper global companion that looks at the intelligence systems of, among others, Brazil, Indonesia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Uzbekistan, to name just a few that are of particular interest to me. I would be most interested in seeing Routledge follow up on this existing volume with a companion on others systems that is combined with a deep look at the persistent lack of intelligence with integrity across the eight tribes of information (academic, civil society including labor and religion, commerce especially small, government especially local, law enforcement especially local, media, military, and non-governmental/non-profit). The ignorance and information ineffectiveness of the United Nations, to take one example, simply cannot be under-stated.

The nine concluding chapters on contemporary challenges are all written by world-class contributors and present authoritative treatments each worthy as a starting point for follow-on work. Where I am disappointed is in the absence of any chapter on the technical obstacles to information-sharing (a retarded predatory industry for whom Open Source Everything (OSE) is anathema — see my tiny url list /OSE-LIST) and a continued lack on the urgency of achieving holistic intelligence that integrates cradle to grave true cost economics, and is truly multinational and multiagency in its conceptualization and execution.

The bibliography is superbly integrated and as with most top books where I am deeply invested, I started there. If I were to improve this book “as is” I would add an index — a really good triple entry index (ABC, BAC, CAB). That is an understanbable but disappointing oversight, particularly since the US-centric runner-up does have an index (I refer to The Oxford Handbook of National Security Intelligence (Oxford Handbooks).

I have reviewed over 300 books on intelligence here at Amazon, so below I am listing a few of my favorites, but ending with the easy to find list of most of my reviews on this topics, all with links back to their Amazon pages — and of course each of my own books in this field has its own annotated bibliography.

Among my favorites within Amazon's ten link limit:

Long Strange Journey: An Intelligence Memoir
No More Secrets: Open Source Information and the Reshaping of U.S. Intelligence (Praeger Security International)
Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers
Still Broken: A Recruit's Inside Account of Intelligence Failures, from Baghdad to the Pentagon
Who the Hell Are We Fighting?: The Story of Sam Adams and the Vietnam Intelligence Wars
Very Special Intelligence

Online easily searched for and at top of Phi Beta Iota / Books:

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Intelligence (Most)

Brazil is key to the non-Western Internet as a secure information-sharing network. China is riding electronic power lines into all “isolated” computers. The Muslim diaspora is finally learning how to connect the dots. The West remains intellectually constipated and ethically challenged. This is easy to fix. INTEGRITY.

Best wishes to all,
Robert David STEELE Vivas
INTELLIGENCE for EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability (2012)

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