Reflections on Intelligence Reform

All Reflections & Story Boards
Robert David STEELE Vivas
Robert David STEELE Vivas


Security sector reform and advancement begins in the mind.  In the 21st Century, raw information and tailored intelligence (decision support) are fundamental to progress at the strategic, operational, tactical, and technical levels.

If we are to properly address intelligence governance from a comparative and international perspective rooted in an appreciation for the rule of law – appreciating the purpose and obligations of government, intelligence, and the law, we must begin with definitions.

What is intelligence? Is it anything that is secret and controlled by the government? Or is it decision-support? What is the purpose of intelligence? Is it to nurture a military-industrial complex that thrives on war while eliminating all prospects for peace? Or is it to nurture smart nations and a world brain network that create a prosperous world at peace?

What is governance? Is it a nominally-elected government controlled by banks and serving the 1%? Or is it an open, engaged, and informed hybrid network that harvests the best available knowledge from all sectors, applied in the public interest, on behalf of the 99%?

What is the threat? Is it a fictional panorama whose primary purpose is to cow society into acquiescence in the face of persistent social atrocities? Or is it, as the UN High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change has defined, ten very specific threats, the top three of which are poverty, infectious disease, and environmental degradation?

What is the legal mandate, and the organizational design? Is this really to be the right to lie to the Court, as the Department of Justice has claimed, and the right to keep secret multi-level atrocities including rendition, torture, and a drone assassination program with a 2% success rate? Or is it to assemble the best truths in support of political deliberations striving to meet the needs of the greatest number? Is it a top-down mass surveillance network, or a bottom-up community-based collective intelligence network?

What are the safeguards? Are we to rely on a tiny elite who benefit financially from the intelligence-industrial complex or should all elements of the national intelligence program be subject to audit and persistent scrutiny? What individual, organizational, and national rights are to be upheld in the face of technical advance and moral retardation? Is the CIA to be allowed to wage acts of war with armed drones, and not held accountable? Is NSA to be allowed to conduct mass surveillance while undermining — actively sabotaging with back doors a teen-age can hack — the privacy and security of all civil society and corporate communications? Are corporations to be held blameless for warrantless collaboration with a state and violating all expectations of their customers?

In conclusion, we must ask: have the home country intelligence agencies of the world — and the US intelligence agencies corrupting them with off-budget funding — both reached their pinnacle of inefficiency replete with atrocities unencumbered by law? Has the time come for the public to demand not only a recasting of national intelligence, but of governance itself?

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General Collections:

1976-2013: Intelligence Models 2.1
Decision Support Story Board
Open Source Manifesto
Public Intelligence 4.0
REVOLUTION Graphic & Refs
Way of the Truth
#Artículos en español
#Articles en français

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NB: It has come to our attention that some mistake all of this unclassified information about intelligence reform to mean that Robert Steele thinks it can all be done with open sources and methods.  On the contrary, not only does national intelligence need an absolutely ruthless and pervasive secret counter-intelligence element to prosecute internal traitors, but it also needs both unilateral and multilateral clandestine and also both air breathing and predominantly commercial geospatial satellite as well as human-emplaced secret technical collection that is applied with precision. The “tri-fecta” of intelligence is a) to not send a spy where a schoolboy can go, b) to not waste scarce resources on technical collection that is not processed, or humans that work from official cover and go through the motions rather than being effective; and c) to not lie to the public — lies are like sand in the gears of a complex machine — they are cancerous crystals in the world brain.


Steele, Robert David. INTELLIGENCE with INTEGRITY: Enabling Hybrid Public Governance with Open-Source Decision-Support [Table of Contents] (in progress)


2014 Robert Steele: Rebuilding National Intelligence – A 12-Step Plan

2014 Robert Steele On Defense Intelligence – Seven Strikes

2014 INTERVIEW: Nafeez Ahmed (The Guardian) and Robert Steele on Re-inventing Intelligence to Re-engineer Earth

Dover, Rob. Putting the Steele into intelligence reform (Rob Dover's Blog, 10 January 2013)

Steele, Robert David. 1990-2014 Steele on Specific Intelligence Reforms (Including Alarm on NSA from 1994 Onwards) (Phi Beta Iota, 29 January 2014)

2014 Robert David Steele. Reflections on the Ecuador Initiative — Open Source Everything Combined with Ethical Evidence-Based Decision-Support 1.1 (Phi Beta Iota, 11 February 2014)

Steele, Robert David. Reflections: Seven Steps to US Intelligence Reform [Search: how can the intelligence community remain relevant in the 21st century (Phi Beta Iota, 22 February 2014)

Steele, Robert David.  Rethinking National Intelligence — Seven False Premises  Blocking Intelligence Reform (Reality Sandwich )

Todi, Kris. INTERVIEW: Open Source Everything: A Spy Comes Clean (Yale The Politic, 21 January 2014)


Arnold, Stephen E. INTERVIEW: Robert Steele Discusses Open Source and Secret Intelligence (HighGainBlog, 4 April 2013)

Balaban, David. INTERVIEW: Open Everything – Interview with Robert David STEELE Vivas (Privacy PC, 2-8 April 2013)

Steele, Robert David. “Concise Summary of Three Paths to a Prosperous World at Peace” (Reflections, Phi Beta Iota, 1 July 2013)

Steele, Robert David, “ Foreword”  Internet-Based Intelligence in Public Health Emergencies (NATO, 2013)

Steele, Robert David. Healing the Americas with an Open Source Agency and in Spanish Sanando a las Américas con una Agencia de Fuente Abierta (AAIntelligencia , 4 April 2013, created for and briefed to the Inter-American Defense Board)

Steele, Robert David. 2013 Intelligence Future Lecture & Workshop as planned but not delivered to Wales Conference.

Steele, Robert David. Reflections on NATO 4.0 — Key Challenges AND Solutions (Phi Beta Iota , Written for NATO ACT, 11 July 2013)

Steele, Robert David, “ 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)


Steele, Robert David. Practical Reflections on UN Intelligence + UN RECAP (Phi Beta Iota , 22 November 2012)

Steele, Robert David. Integrity, Reflexivity, & Open Everything (Washington Academy of Sciences, 31 March 2012)

Steele, Robert David, The Battle for the Soul of the Republic (Reality Sandwich, 10 April 2012)

Steele, Robert David. The Craft of Intelligence – OLD vs. NEW (Phi Beta Iota , 7 February 2012)

Steele, Robert David. THE OPEN SOURCE EVERYTHING MANIFESTO: Transparency, Truth & Trust (North Atlantic Books, 2012)


Steele, Robert David National Intelligence and National Defense (Campaign for Liberty, 17 June 2011 )

Steele, Robert David The Ultimate Hack Re-Inventing Intelligence to Re-Engineer Earth (in Uffe Will (ed.) Counterterrorism and Open Source Intelligence (Springer, 2011)

Steele, Robert David. Thinking About Revolution in the USA and Elsewhere (Phi Beta Iota , 4 October 2011)


Steele, Robert David. Fixing the White House & National Intelligence (International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Spring 2010 )

Steele, Robert David. Human Intelligence: All Humans, All Minds, All the Time (Strategic Studies Institute, 3 June 2010)

Steele, Robert David. Impact of Globalization on Intelligence: Context & Challenge (CHILE: Academia Nacional de Estudios Politicos y Estrategicos, 25 November 2010) Delivered in Spanish.

Steele, Robert David.  INTELLIGENCE FOR EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity & Sustainability (EIN, 2010)


Steele, Robert David. Intelligence for the President–AND Everyone Else (in CounterPunch, 1-3 March 2009)

Steele, Robert David. Open Everything (UNICEF, 15 July 2009)

Steele, Robert, “ Perhaps We Should Have Shouted: A Twenty-Year Retrospective” (Phi Beta Iota, 3 August 2009)


Tovey, Mark (ed.) (2008).  COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace.  Oakton, VA: Earth Intelligence Network. Ghost co-editor Robert Steele.


Steele, Robert David. Foreign Liaison and Intelligence Reform: Still in Denial (International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence , Spring)

Steele, Robert David. Open Source Intelligence (Strategic) (Loch Johnson (ed.), Strategic Intelligence: The Intelligence Cycle (Westport, CT: Praeger), Chapter 6, pp. 96-122.


Steele, Robert David. Briefing to the Coalition Coordination Center (CCC) Leadership at the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM)–Multinational Intelligence: Can CENTCOM Lead the Way? Reflections on OSINT & the Coalition (US Central Command, 27 January 2006)

Steele, Robert David Forbes Blank Slate On Intelligence (Forbes ASAP , 19 April 2006)

Steele, Robert David (2006).  INFORMATION OPERATIONS: All Information in All Languages All the Time.  Oakton, VA: OSS International Press.

Steele, Robert David. Intelligence Affairs: Evolution, Revolution, or Reactionary Collapse?” (International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 19/1, 2006)

Steele, Robert David (2006).  THE SMART NATION ACT: Public Intelligence in the Public Interest.  Oakton, VA: OSS International Press.


Steele, Robert David. E3i–Making the Revolution (US Army War College, Spring 2005)


Steele, Robert David. Information Peacekeeping A Nobel Objective (SE: Folke Bernadette Academy, 4 December 2004)

Steele, Robert David. The New Craft of Intelligence: How “State” Should Lead (US Department of State, Secretary of State's Open Forum Speaker, 6 March 2004)


De Jong, Ben, Weiss Platje and Robert David Steele (eds.) (2003).  PEACEKEEPING INTELLIGENCE: Emerging Concepts for the Future.  Oakton, VA: OSS International Press.

Steele, Robert David. Information Peacekeeping & the Future of Intelligence – The United Nations, Smart Mobs, & the Seven Tribes (in Ben de Jong, Wies Platje, and Robert David Steele, PEACEKEEPING INTELLIGENCE: Emerging Concepts for the Future (OSS International Press, 2003), pp. 201-225.

Steele, Robert David. Strategic Threat Assessment–A Regional Approach to Intelligence, Force Structure, & Combined Operations (US SOUTHCOM, 3 March 2003)


Steele, Robert David.  Crafting Intelligence in the Aftermath of Disaster (International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Summer 2002 )

Steele, Robert David.  New Rules for the New Craft of Intelligence (Chapter 15) in Steele, Robert David (2002).  THE NEW CRAFT OF INTELLIGENCE: Personal, Public, & Political.  Oakton, VA: OSS International Press.

Steele, Robert David. The New Craft of Intelligence (TIME Magazine, 11 March 2002)

Steele, Robert David (2002).  THE NEW CRAFT OF INTELLIGENCE: Personal, Public, & Political.  Oakton, VA: OSS International Press.


Steele, Robert David. Threats, Strategy, and Force Structure: An Alternative Paradigm for National Security in Steven Metz (ed.), Revising the Two MTW Force Shaping Paradigm (Strategic Studies Institute, 2001), Chapter 9, pp. 139-163.


Steele, Robert David. Possible Presidential Initiatives (International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence , Winter 2000)

Steele, Robert David. Presidential Intelligence (Chapter 13) in Steele, Robert David.  ON INTELLIGENCE: Spies and Secrecy in an Open World Fairfax, VA: Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, 2000

Steele, Robert David. ONE WORLD, READY OR NOT: From National Capabilities to Global Coverage Through a Virtual Intelligence Community Coordinated by NATO/PfP (NATO, 2000)

Steele, Robert David.  ON INTELLIGENCE: Spies and Secrecy in an Open World.  (Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, 2000)


Steele, Robert David. Relevant Information and All-Source Analysis: The Emerging Revolution (American Intelligence Journal , Spring 1999)

Steele, Robert David. Virtual Intelligence: Conflict Avoidance and Resolution through Information Peacekeeping (Journal of Conflict Resolution , Spring 1999)


Steele, Robert David. Information Peacekeeping: The Purest Form of War in Douglas Dearth et al (eds) CYBERWAR 2.0: Myths, Mysteries and Reality (AFCEA, 1998)

Steele, Robert David. The Asymmetric Threat: Listening to the Debate (Joint Force Quarterly , Winter 1998-1999)


Steele, Robert David.  Strategic Intelligence in the USA: Myth or Reality? in Revue Francaise de Geoeconomie No. 2)


Steele, Robert David.  Creating a Smart Nation: Strategy, Policy, Intelligence, and Information (Government Information Quarterly 13/2)


Steele, Robert David. Private Enterprise Intelligence – Its Potential Contribution to National Security (Full Text Online for Google Translate) (Intelligence and National Security , Special Edition, 1995)


Steele, Robert David. ACCESS: The Theory and Practice of Competitor Intelligence (Journal of the Association for Global Strategic Information, July 1994)


Steele, Robert David. On Defense & Intelligence–The Grand Vision in Pierre Pascalon, Defense et Renseignement (Editions L'Harmattan, 1993) also in French, as presented in the French Senate to a special assembly.


Steele, Robert David.  E3i: Ethics, Ecology, Evolution, & intelligence (Whole Earth Review, Fall 1992)

Steele, Robert David.   ‘New Paradigm” and Avoiding Future Failures in American Intelligence Journal Fall)


Steele, Robert David. Intelligence Support for Expeditionary Planners (Marine Corps Gazette , September 1991)


Steele, Robert David.  Intelligence in the 1990′s – Six Challenges (American Intelligence Journal, Summer 1990)


Gray, Al (Commandant of the US Marine Corps) Global Intelligence Challenges (American Intelligence Journal , Summer 1989) Ghost-written by Robert Steele.

About Robert Steele

Robert Steele Biography & Linked Publications

2010 PhD Author Dissects Intelligence Reformer Robert Steele [Click on Cartoon for 5 Pages]

See Also:

2014 Intelligence Reform (All Others)

2013 Story Board: Public Intelligence in the Public Interest [OSE + M4IS2 + Panarchy = World Brain & Global Game = Prosperous World at Peace]

2013 Story Board Long: Decision-Support — Analytic Sources, Models, Tools, & Tradecraft 1957-2013

OSINT Literature Review, Name Association, Lessons Learned

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