Models for Strategic Thinking in Intelligence Analysis

Models for Strategic Thinking in Intelligence Analysis

Luisa Dall'Acqua (University of Bologna, Italy & LS TCO, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7126-2.ch011
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Abstract

Intelligence is a field of activity that has a rich history, yet it still lacks clarity of definition and agreement. This is not to denigrate the performance of many of its practitioners; rather, these comments are designed to point up the fact that, despite the length and breadth of its historical practice, there is still much to do to explore the boundaries, opportunities, and limitations of the application of intelligence in the world of enforcement. The cultural roots of strategic intelligence is compelling and urgent not just for those involved with the professional intelligence community, but also for anyone seriously committed to interdisciplinary studies, cross-cultural understanding, and most importantly, to the development of a rigorous discipline of politics as well as cultural genetics. But strategic planning does not guarantee strategic thinking.
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Introduction

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, intelligence practice evolved toward the form that is now recognizable in the context of current practice. To its detriment, the intelligence milieu is somewhat misunderstood by many observers.

The concepts of espionage and critical analysis are often confused as if they were all part of the same activity. Espionage is about gathering data in the intrusive and invasive environment of spying.

Intelligence and analysis is a wider process of problem solving that involves data gathering and analysis, interpretation, and speculative consideration of future developments, patterns, threats, risks, and opportunities.

Strategic intelligence analysis can be considered a specific form of research that addresses any issue at the level of breadth and detail necessary to describe threats, risks, and opportunities in a way that helps determine programs and policies.

The role of Intelligence in strategy formulation is a critical one, especially now, given the quickly changing business environment. As the pace accelerates, it becomes more difficult for senior managers and decision-makers to adequately monitor, interpret, and respond to environmental changes. This is where SI, a systematic process of collecting, analyzing and communicating actionable strategy-oriented business information, can serve as input in strategic decision-making.

From the process perspective, Strategic Intelligence can be seen as a part of Competitive Intelligence, as it is also a systematic and continuous process with a purpose to facilitate decision-making with needed and timely intelligence input delivered in actionable form. The major difference between SI and CI is that SI actions focus strictly on supporting strategic decision-making by monitoring aspects with strategic significance. Additionally, a SI time horizon is broad and the focus is on all significant events: past, present and future events.

The code of practice for strategic intelligence has been fully developed and successfully tested for several years now. Like most routines and protocols, it needs constant maintenance and fine-tuning, but the reality is that the process works well. It sets out a highly disciplined approach to crime research.

Whether it is on particular groups, laws, or criminal behavior phenomena. The approach defines every element of the activity necessary to undertake a form of “conceptual” analysis. It demands that practitioners accept the need for highly disciplined and orderly processing of data, whether hard or soft, yet at the same time encouraging the development of intuitive and creative thinking to enable a high degree of reasonable speculation about topics that are often vague and data-poor.

What are the belligerents' survival, vital, major, peripheral and other diplomatic, economic and military interests in the region? What are their specific interests in this problem? What is the specific U.S. interest involved in this problem? How does this problem affect American survival, vital, major, peripheral and other diplomatic, economic, and military interests? What is the specific threat to U.S. interests? Is this a conflict between the United States interests and the interests of some other, significant, third party? How will this conflict affect each of the interests of the belligerents? To what extent do the interests of others compliment or conflict with U.S. interests?

Success Criteria. What is the definition of success? Is there a positive correlation between operational objectives, enemy strategic centers of gravity and the strategic objective? Does the selection and attainment of the operational objectives attack and destabilize the strategic centers of gravity or otherwise achieve the strategic objective? Actions Necessary to Achieve the Objective. What are the actions necessary to achieve the objective? Is the government organized to fight the war for the duration and throughout the spectrum necessary to achieve the objective? Has the government identified the political objective and prescribed actions necessary to achieve the objective? Exit Strategy. What is the exit strategy? What are the recognizable conditions for knowing when to exit? Is there a transition process identified? What are the military?

Demands on the National Will. What are the demands on the national will? Is there clarity of communication between the government and the people? Has the government clearly linked the underlying problems, affected interests and strategic objective in such a manner that it enjoys public support? Is there a strategy for adequately gaining and maintaining pubic support?

Key Terms in this Chapter

Intelligence as a Product: The third context in which intelligence can be defined is that of the product of these processes; a body of information and conclusions drawn from that which is acquired and furnished in response to the known or perceived requirements of a client. It is often derived from information that may be concealed or that is not intended to be available for use by the acquirer.

Intelligence: Is sometimes described as a “much abused” term in both scholarly literature and official discourse. This is in part due to the fact that national and institutional differences of perspective exist, complicating the search for definitions. Broadly speaking, intelligence can be defined in three contexts:

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