Phi Beta Iota: It is typical of the West to believe that its Weberian and faux democratic processes are the “best way,” and to destroy (African, South American) or disparage (Asian) alternative forms of leadership. One has to live within the environment Lee Kuan Yew created to appreciate the extraordinary nature of his leadership. It is safe to say that his appreciation for intelligence is two-fold: demanding that all of his Ministers and legislators be educated (Singapore requires an earned MBA or equivalent as a pre-qualification for legislative candidacy) and that Singapore excell at computer processing, knowledge management, and toward organizational intelligence; and (we speculate) demanding that counter-intelligence against subversion from the West and others be the very best. The best book on intelligence in English out of Singapore, one that captures what Singpore is capable of, is Thomas Quiggin's Seeing the Invisible: National Security Intelligence in an Uncertain Age(World Scientific Publishing Company, 2007).
Singapore took a very wrong turn falling prey to Admiral Poindexter's Total Information Awareness that appears to have found a home there, and to the snake oil from Cognitive Edge and others that mean well (e.g. the Arlington Institute) but actually have no clue about how to achieve M4IS2–intelligence with integrity in the public interest. We now look to Malaysia and Indonesia and perhaps Brunei for more interesting melded advances.
We have not featured “think tanks” on this web site because all of them, with one exception, are ideologically biased and financially-beholden to one of the two parties that monopolize power and exclude both the majority of Americans from an honest electoral process, and the majority of objective experts from the policy and budget dailog.
The CATO Institute appears to be an exception. Below are a few of their generally dated but still relevant pronouncements on the subject of intelligence as decision support.
The Bible for Reconstruction & Military Operations,
September 24, 2003
Kent D. Lee
I am a very happy owner of this volume, and I will certify that it is easily worth $2,500 to $5,000 for any construction or paving company bidding for or awarded contracts in Afghanistan.I have known Kent Lee and East View Cartographic since 1995, when they were instrumental in supporting me in a competitive exercise to demonstrate all that could be done with “open sources” of information, versus narrowly-focused classified capabilities. The ability of this individual and this organization to acquire and then exploit Russian, Chinese, and other third-nation source material has made them the single most important geospatial entity in the world after the National Imagery and Mapping Agency.
Every page is clearly printed and the maps, all in color, are extraordinary. The fine print can be a burden if you have to read more than a few sections at a time, but was a necessity–the book would not be easily portable otherwise.
I understand that similar books are in the works for Iraq and other countries where terrain analysis is a vital element of reducing costs and increasing profits and operational successes. This book is both essential to prior planning, and essential to on-going operations.
Kent Lee, founder and CEO of both East View Cartographic and East View Everything Else came to our attention in the early 1990's when both USSOCOM and the US Marine Corps were trying to deal with the FACT that the US Government did not have combat charts (tactically useful maps at the 1:50,000 level with contour lines vital to infantry and logistics operations. We discovered that Russia had focused on the wars of national liberation and did have such maps, and that East View could get them, translate them into English, and deliver them in digital forms suitable for existing US military systems.
In more recent years, East View has been our primary source of expert access and production assistance in helping United Nations and other forces that suffer from the fact that other than the Russians, every other Western country never put resources into mapping the Third World. Below left is a color coded depiction of the 175 sheets needed by MajGen Patrick Cammaert, RN NL, then Eastern Force Commander in the Congo. With Eastview's help, the Dutch government ultimately funded the satisfaction of this urgent need.
Below right is Kent Lee's presentation to OSS '02.