5.0 out of 5 stars The only primer available in English, February 12, 2012
I am an intelligence professional and I know both the author and the subject of this book intimately. Dr. Lowenthal’s book represents the *only* available “primer” on intelligence that can be understood by Presidents, Congressmen, the media, and the public.
Dr. Lowenthal’s book focuses on the U.S. Intelligence Community itself–the good, the bad, and the ugly. He is strongest on analysis and the politics of intelligence, somewhat weaker on collection and counterintelligence covert action. There is no other book that meets the need for this particular primer, and so I recommend it with enthusiasm.
If you do not like the book, you definitely should not consider a career in intelligence.
President Bush and U.S. policy-makers are receiving more intelligence from open sources such as Internet blogs and foreign newspapers than they previously did, senior intelligence officials said.
The new Open Source Center (OSC) at CIA headquarters recently stepped up data collection and analysis based on bloggers worldwide and is developing new methods to gauge the reliability of the content, said OSC Director Douglas J. Naquin.
Originally created by Dr. Mark Lowenthal, then with OSS.Net, Inc. and since modified, this slide, combined with Graphic: OSINT and Missing Information, depicts the challenge. What most do not understand is these two facts:
1. Open Source Information (OSIF) is not the same as Open Source Intelligence (OSINT). The latter is deliberately discovered, discriminated, distilled, and delivered decision-support tailored to a specific decision. No does this now in the IC that we know of.
2. Humans and Human Minds, not vast unaffordable non-interoperable technical processing farms, are how we cut to the chase. The magic of OSINT, as Dr. Stevan Dedijer stated so clearly in 1992, is to “know who knows,” so as to connect, as Robert Steele stated in Canada in 1994, the source with the consumer. This can only be done with Multinational Engagement, it absolutely will never happen if we continue to insist on US citizens with clearances as the heart of “national intelligence.”
Primer for Presidents, Congress, Media, and Public,
May 1, 2003
Mark M. Lowenthal
Mark Lowenthal, who today is the Associate Deputy Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production (ADCI/A&P), was briefly (for a year) the President of OSS USA (I created OSS Inc., the global version). So much for disclosure and “conflicts of interest”. The previous review, after a year of being irritatingly present, needs to be corrected. Dr. Lowenthal was for many years the Senior Executive Service reviewer of intelligence affairs for the Congressional Research Service, then he went on to be Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence & Research (Analysis), and then he became the Staff Director for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where he supervised one of the two really serious really excellent studies on all that is wrong with intelligence and what needs to be fixed. OSS was lucky to have him contribute to its development for a year before he moved on to another corporation and then to the #5 position in the US Intelligence Community. He needs no help from me in either articulating his ideas or doing good work.What the previous reviewer fails to understand is that Dr. Lowenthal’s book represents the *only* available “primer” on intelligence that can be understood by Presidents, Congressmen, the media, and the public. While my own book (The New Craft of Intelligence) strives to discuss the over-all threats around the world in terms meaningful to the local neighborhoods of America, Dr. Lowenthal’s book focuses on the U.S. Intelligence Community itself–the good, the bad, and the ugly. He is strongest on analysis and the politics of intelligence, somewhat weaker on collection and counterintelligence covert action. There is no other book that meets the need for this particular primer, and so I recommend it with enthusiasm. It is on the OSS.NET list of the top 15 books on intelligence reform every written.
This is an excellent elementary text for the average college student. Over-all it is strong on issues of analysis, policy, and oversight, and weak on collection, covert action, and counterintelligence. The chapter on collection has a useful figure comparing the advantages and disadvantages of the five collection disciplines, and but does not get into the detail that this aspect of the intelligence community-80% of the annual expense-merits.
Mark is arguably America’s foremost intelligence historian, and especially strong on analysis and oversight. The seventy-page bibliography he has put together is useful. There are other much longer annotated bibliographies, but this one reflects value in its selection and conciseness.
The below reference and article was drafted by Robert Steele with some editorial assistance from Mark Lowenthal, who was briefly an employee of OSS before jumping to SRA International. The article draws on the experience of the Marine Corps Intelligence Center (MCIC) that was established by General Al Gray, USMC, then Commandant of the Marine Corps, largely to support expeditionary acquisition. The Army, the Navy, and the Air Force are all “big system” services, and while the Army has begun to learn how to “eat the tail” and reduce the logistics footprint (as well as the ground convey exposure and expense), the reality is that DoD acquisition remains totally hosed today, and 20,000 new people (as planned by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates) are not going to be effecive for three reasons:
1. DoD makes policy without regard to strategy or intelligence
2. DoD acquires systems without regard to strategy, lacking a strategic analytic model
3. DoD is long over-due for massive changes to Title 109 such that we have four proponents for Big War, Small War, Peace War, and Homeland Defense (each of the Services could be redirected appropriately) but–big but–the regional combatant commanders become BOTH the hubs for Whole of Government inter-agency planning, programming, and budgeting AND the primary proponents for what is needed in their theaters.
Should it not be crystal clear, the “butts in seats” approach in which contractors cost the taxpayer 250% of their salary is not sanctioned by this early article on how to fix intelligence support to acquisition. Small cells, a global grid of multinational sharing and sense-making partners, and the ability to “know who knows,” to apply strategic analytic tradecraft, and to produce “just enough, just in time, just right” Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) that either stands on its own or radically enhances all-source intelligence production, are the way to go. No one now providing OSINT under OMB Code M320 understaqnds how to do that.