The future of Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) is Multinational, Multifunctional, Multidisciplinary, Multidomain Information-Sharing & Sense-Making (M4IS2).
The following, subject to the approval of Executive and Congressional leadership, are suggested hueristics (rules of thumb):
Rule 1: All Open Source Information (OSIF) goes directly to the high side (multinational top secret) the instant it is received at any level by any civilian or military element responsive to global OSINT grid. This includes all of the contextual agency and mission specific information from the civilian elements previously stove-piped or disgarded, not only within the US, but ultimately within all 90+ participating nations.
Rule 2: In return for Rule 1, the US IC agrees that the Department of State (and within DoD, Civil Affairs) is the proponent outside the wire, and the sharing of all OSIF originating outside the US IC is at the discretion of State/Civil Affairs without secret world caveat or constraint. OSIF collected by US IC elements is NOT included in this warrant.
5 stars on its chosen focus, 4 for lack of larger context,
March 1, 2007
Martin van Creveld
Martin Van Crevald is one of a handful of military scholars without peer–others I hold is such regard include Colin Gray, Max Manwaring, Steve Metz, and Ralph Peters.
In relation to its chosen focus, the lessons of combat and the changing face of war, this is a capstone book unlike any other, and it will be a long-standing classic in the field, useful as both a primer for those new to the strategic study of war, and for those long in the tooth wishing to reflect back with what comprises a survey of both the literature and the century of war.
The conclusion is daunting. Like Will and Ariel Durant, and Clauswitz, the author concludes that the primary determinant of victory is not mass or technology, but rather the moral factor. Being “in the right,” being on one’s home ground, being supported by many others because of solidarity in “being right,” is to money and technology and hubris at 10 to 1 if not 100 to 1.
The conclusion, and the work as a whole, are also slightly disappointing, not because of any imperfection in what is included, but because the book ends where I wished for it to begin. The author notes that asymmetric opponents can only be defeated by either deep precision intelligence that is by definition non-official in cover and native in capability; or pre-emptive attacks that nail all the key individuals early enough to prevent the insurgency from gaining momentum.
This book is most valuable as the epitaph for the military-industrial complex in America, but sadly, this Administration not only does not get it, they are expanding the walking dead model into Homeland Security, with the full acquiescence of the largely witness Democratic majority in the House of the Representatives.
The movie War Games like Gandhi (Widescreen Two-Disc Special Edition), got it right. The only way to win a war in today’s era is to not fight it at all. General Al Gray, USMC, then Commandant of the Marine Corps, got it right in 1988, writing in the American Intelligence Journal (Winter 1988-1989), about the need to focus on revolutionary and terrorist-spawning conditions, the urgency of funding “peaceful preventive measures,” and the importance of open source information.
Twenty years later, the Americans are giving lip service to “stabilization and reconstruction” while making a complete fiasco of both Afghanistan and Iraq. No less than $12 billion in cash courtesy of the Federal Reserve in New York, has gone missing from Iraq.
Brains, not bullets; belief systems, not weapons systems; are what the current and future conflicts are all about. America is way behind the power curve, and all current public intelligence indicators suggest that America will sink to British levels of non-influence, while Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Russia, and Veneuzela–and some Wild Cards such as Malaysia, South Africa, and Turkey, “take off” and leave us behind.
Martin Van Crevald is the ultimate scribe of war, and he has closed the era of big war with this superb overview.
Along with Colin Gray, Steve Metz, and Max Manwaring, Martin van Creveld is among the intellectual giants of our era with respect to strategic reflection, and he stands alone at the intersection of strategy, logistics, technology, command & control, and the art of decision-making under conditions of great uncertainty.
His contribution to OSS ’02 was created especially for this multinational group, and we believe it will stand the test of time as a seminal work for those who seek to transform intelligence from a bureaucracy that measures inputs to a cosmic force that determines outcomes favorable to all concerned.
Historical Pessimism Absent Recommendations for Change,
November 12, 2001
Martin van Creveld
Anything Martin van Crevald writes is a five, and this book, although over-priced (…), is as as good as history can get. His notes are world-class, including a highly relevant note in the final chapter, to wit, that according to Soviet General Lebed’s 1997 public statement that, “out of 100 suitcase-sized nuclear bombs manufactured for the Soviet Union’s special forces, two-thirds could no longer be accounted for.”To begin with, Van Crevald damns the state for its consistent increase of taxes and its decrease in public services. The state has become, in a word, incompetent and archaic–its grossly over-funded militaries are increasingly helpless in the face of covert and guerrilla violence, at the same time that states are spending more and more on police forces and less and less on a rapidly growing politically deprived disenfranchised underclass.
He ends, as a historical purist, without making recommendations for change. Indeed, he quotes Mao Tse Tung, “The sun will keep rising, trees with keep growing, and women will keep having children.”
In many ways Van Crevald’s book serves as a capstone to the fifty or so books I have reviewed in the past year, most of them about strategy, threat, intelligence, and the so-called revolution in military affairs, for what I take from this work is that the state does have an extremely important role to play in assuring the common security and prosperity of the people, and we abandon the state at our own peril.
Every nation, but especially the most prosperous nations that have allowed virtually out of control immigration and set no real standards for citizenship, must very carefully examine its policies and premises, both with regard to what constitutes citizenship and loyalty, and what services it must offer to preserve and protect the commonwealth.
I am told that the FBI was prevented from searching the homes of several of the suspects in the weeks prior to the 11 September attacks, because we have granted to our visitors–illegal as well as legal–all those rights that might better be reserved for proven citizens. Van Crevald’s work is not, as some might take it, the death knell for the state, but rather the bath of cold water for the statesmen–and for those citizens who care to instruct their politicians on our demand for renewed focus on resurrecting the connection between citizenship, taxation, representation, and security.