|instructions: reply to each of the following post with at least 250 words. be engaged and ask direct questions based on the post and your own.
my original post:
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Having the ability not to waste time, not waste resources, or not waste personal efforts seems to be the most important prerequisite for the collection of intelligence. Field agents should not be asked, “damn fool” questions because intelligence is a circumstantial phenomenon with on the spot responses determined according to the situation which does not have any predetermined straightforward answer, a fact that was eloquently expressed in “Spy at Your Service” in some of the first few virtues arguing the point that the time of field agents should not be wasted at any cost. Before the actual collection and the relaying of intelligence from one party to another, a certain time is required to describe and lay the foundation, pave the way for further research, which determines the accuracy of the whole operation (Spy at Your Service, Sir) Before initiation of the process that will lead to the gathering and the transmission of a particular product, it is pivotal for the analysts to have a firm grip on the topic that is to be analyzed through the process of continuous research. The accuracy of the process of collection of information along with the requests that are done for its betterment will significantly be reduced if proper attention and significance to the little yet important things are not granted. Lack of knowledge about the type of resources that are necessary for collection is one of the most easily forgotten things that is reported.
The discussion of the main obstacle in the communication between the analyst and the producer has discussed in “The Guiding of Intelligence Collection,” a document written by William P. Bundy, which further corroborates and supports the previously described point. The communication gap between the human beings and the associated problems is considered the main problem in the eyes of Bundy. Severe bewilderment exists in the lengthy process of discussing methods, arguing on the research process and the choice of the best decided method for collection of information. This is a point that is strengthened by the discussion in “Spy at Your Service,” which corroborates the point. The person responsible for gathering information on a tactical or strategic level may not get all the ideas that were initially thought off by the analyst in lieu of the translation process during which much of the original ideas get replaced or discarded for the purpose of fine-tuning and modification (The Guiding of Intelligence Collection). The diversity in The U.S. intelligence community’s mechanisms of the process of collection of information along with the variety in the nature of consumer mafia serves an important role in further reiterating the point described above. The growth of the products reaching the community, as well as the increase in the number of collection outlets, coincides with the exponential growth of intelligence and technology. The knowledge about the data of the person from where the resources are to be obtained and of the person to which the information is to be relayed is quite perplexing (Forcese, 2011). The collectors of information, as well as the analyst responsible for gathering resources or data, are both equal partners in being bamboozled by this point.
Forcese, C. (2011). Spies Without Borders: International Law and Intelligence Collection. J. Nat’l Sec. L. & Pol’y, 5, 179.
Spy at Your Service, Sir. (2011, August 4). Retrieved from https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/kent-csi/vol3no2/html/v03i2a09p_0001.htm
The Guiding of Intelligence Collection. (2011, August 3). Retrieved from https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/kent-csi/vol3no1/html/v03i1a04p_0001.htm
reply to each of these post:
A good portion of both of these articles discussed the need for a close relationship between analyst and collector. Bundy’s article specifically mentioned an organization where the analyst and collectors were collocated, greatly simplifying the collection process and amplifying the relationship. Analysts need to have an understanding of the capabilities of the collectors and the collectors need to intimately understand the collection question, in order to best leverage resources to answer it.
Has the question been answered? — To refine the collection question, analysts can start by asking tactical or strategic. Is this something which can be solved by a couple passes with an imagery satellite or is it trying to capture the military and political posture of our adversary 5 years from now? Before going to a collector, analysts need to determine if their question has already been answered. An analyst going to a collector should have checked all pertinent databases for the answer. If this step is skipped and the answer is already available, to task collection is an extreme waste of resources.
Communication between collector/analyst — One issue which Bundy discusses in his article is when collectors are faced with “cold calls” where an analyst drops a requirement on them without any explanation of the requirement. This lack of communication results in imprecise collection, frustrating analysts and wasting collection resources. Additionally, collection questions need to be specific; analysts should coordinate with the collector to find the best collection method for the question. Covert collection poses a problem to communication between collectors/analysts because the gamut of collection assets cannot be laid bare upon the table for scrutiny. To do so would be to put the collection assets (in these articles, the people) at risk.
Follow up — Finally, to complete the cycle, analysts need to follow up with the collectors after the gathered intelligence is analyzed to provide feedback (good or bad) and further tailor the collection efforts.
To hopefully answer the second question, knowing what exactly is needed in all subsequent intelligence products helps guide every step of the Intelligence Cycle and how the finished intelligence will answer National Intelligence Priority Framework (NIPF) (previously known as and referred to in the articles as PNIOs). Every stage, from collection to dissemination, needs to understand where the intelligence is coming from and what it is fueling.
I was trying to come up with an analogy for the collector/analyst relationship and I thought of commercial fishing versus spearfishing. The former drags giant nets off the back of the boat. For the consumer, who may only want one type of fish, imagine the waste of time, energy, and resources required to sort through the entire catch in the hopes that their desired fish was gathered. If the collector has a thorough understanding of what the analyst needs, it’s much more akin to spearfishing, where the resources can be tailored toward precise collection. Both methods have their pros and cons, but in this age of highly competitive collection resources, I think it is much better to have precision rather than bulk collect.
The articles call for a close relationship between analyst and collector but from my perspective, there still needs to be a separation between the two. I have seen what happens when collectors consider themselves to be analysts and drive their own collection, creating a self-licking ice-cream cone. Their collection resources are used to satisfy the same redundant questions, which are no longer necessary or not as high of an intelligence priority. No one bothers to think outside of their own intelligence discipline and ask “could we use these resources for other collection?” and “what is the actual value of this intelligence?”
I’m going to wrap this up before I go off on more tangents. Thanks for reading and please let me know if you have questions or critiques!
Defining an intelligence question is crucial. It reminds me of when someone asks you to do something, you do it, but you didn’t do it exactly they way they wanted so you were basically of no help and/or in the wrong. The same can be said in regard to defining an intelligence question. It’s not as simple as asking for something. You have to be specific. The intelligence question should be all encompassing and leave no doubt. It should identify exactly what you need, how you need it, when you need it and more. There should be little wiggle room because the question being asked affects everything down the line from resources leveraged to the end result of the product that is disseminated and its quality.
In an attempt to prevent the above and establish a clarified direction PNIOs, or Priority National Intelligence Objectives were implemented as a guiding framework. “PNIOs set priorities for all intelligence activity, production as well as collection” (Bundy, 2011). These priorities are set and then the requirements for the collector to essentially answer and leverage resources in the process. The first goal is to clearly state what you want, what is trying to be answered by defining the requirement and then letting the collector know. This is that step where it should be clearly defined enough that the collector shouldn’t have to fill in any gaps or question what to do. If this is clear, the collector can then leverage resources to meet that requirement. This step is essential as this can affect everything downstream afterwards. As we learned in this week’s lesson, specificity is everything. You can’t just require imagery, you need all the W’s (as an analogy), what type of imagery, what timeframe is needed, all the critical information. The collector should not only understand what is being requested of them, they should understand what question they are answering. Continuing on, once everything is collected and the requirement met, the information is then passed where it is evaluated, a quality check to make sure the requirement was answered in full. If this is not the case, the issue must be remedied fast before assets are no longer available. This is even more essential in clandestine operations where there may only be a limited timeframe to get the requested information before it’s no longer possible, or not possible for an extended amount of time. This can be specifically noted in clandestine human intelligence (HUMINT) operations where the process is a little different. As far as technical or clandestine operations go there is even more emphasis placed on being specific and ensuring the collector knows that the information they are getting is important and exactly what is being requested. Once the information received is evaluated an quality checked it can be disseminated where it should be an impactful document and not just another lackluster product to glance over. What can be taken away from this is the importance placed on each person in the chain and how effective communication is essential and can affect the process in both directions. As stated in the National Intelligence Strategy of the United States of America 2019 (2019), an objective regarding people is to, “shape a diverse workforce with the skills and capabilities needed to address enduring and emerging requirements” highlighting the importance of each person in the collection process. Those in these positions should be well aware of the importance of the position as they are interdependent. As mentioned in Spy At Your Service, Sir (Dunleigh, 2011), “producer/analyst and collector/operator are tied together, for better or for worse” and requirements cannot be met completely without meeting the above essentials. This cannot be understated.
Overall, requirements and the processes used vary depending on the organization and type of operation to be conducted, but the thing that does not change is the essentials of good communication and collaboration. For requirements to be met, specifics must be used when defining the requirement, passing that information to the collector so they know exactly what is needed to meet that requirement and what resources to utilize, and double checking to ensure it is a complete product and can be disseminated and make an impact. It is crucial to define the intelligence question because everything afterwards is affected by that initial definition and there can’t be that mentality of “if you want something doen right, do it yourself” because this is a team effort depending on intertwined relationships and effective communication skills that affect very real objectives.
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