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  • File Size: 1421 KB
  • Print Length: 195 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 1 edition (January 17, 2013)
  • Publication Date: January 17, 2013
  • Language: English

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I have been holding a gift idea copy of this book for over a month, waiting for it to be accessible on Amazon so I could load my review, and consequently have also read -- and also recommend being an essential book -- Sir David Omand's book  Securing the Condition . I am rating both books at 5, both books are as erudite and perceptive as it gets.

Alfred Rolington can reasonably be regarded as "P" or the Public counterpart to "M" in the UK, when i have been to the secret world in the US. He is the master of EACH the secret process of intelligence and its purposes, AND the very broad multi-lingual multi-cultural associated with open up sources in unpublished, analog, and digital form that the secret world is -- to be straight-forward -- arrogantly ignorant of. This book is one of a handful truly relevant to the future of intelligence (decision-support) done properly -- which is to say, as decision-support for ALL threats and challenges, not as security secrets protecting the few.

This book by Alfred Rolington, former CEO of Janes and someone I have known for over fifteen years -- and whom I will state has been the single most accomplished and innovative speaker in my conference on international intelligence from 1992-2006, among over 750 speakers -- is the better book for students and I strongly recommend this required reading at the university level.

Since I am one of the arch-critics of expensive secret "intelligence" that is done badly, and do not mince my own words, it is by using some awe that I read strong critical views articulated in such a stylish manner which i can just see the US Movie director of National Intelligence with his pants down saying "Thank you, Sir, may I please have about three more? Naturally nothing in this book should be taken to be critical of the British brains community that is without peer.

Early on in a single of a few but thankfully present graphics, the author illustrates the distinctions between the old associated with intelligence and the new. The old has been structured, moderate in volume level, after the fact, with stationary technologies, and mannually rigorous. The new is the reverse, and the Industrial Era neighborhoods have not adapted: mostly unstructured (and multi-media, multi-lingual) content, massive volume, real-time, with a continuous range of emerging technologies as available to the competitors as to the home team, and an automatic process that some might say is quite stupid.

More so than other books in this literature, this one does a fine job of discussing the broad changes to the info environment within which the government intelligence neighborhoods operate, and am particularly appreciate the author's dedicated emphasis to the side of the profession often ignored, counterintelligence, conspiracy, covert action, and propaganda. In brief, the author correctly observes that the new information environment is at minimum as corrupt as the old with regard to manipulation, lies, and all manner of deceit, at the same time that the new technologies allow one to reach only a fraction of the available information, almost all of it not online to begin with, and that which is online, almost all of it not indexed whatsoever (deep web, C-drives).

The guide serves very well as a primer, reviewing the intelligence cycle, the relationships among collectors, analysts, and policymakers. It falls short--as does Sir Omand's book--in not confronting the abject corruption that is so typical of both US and UK "consumers" of intelligence, and in not recognizing that intelligence is less about surveillance and more about decision-support across ALL matters, not only national security matters. It also does not address the value of intelligence to acquisition, and whole of government financial sanity and balance.

Typically the book concludes with the author's seven step mosaic model for re-reinventing brains, integrating the best of his learned and managed practices from Janes, Oxford Analytica, great study of the literature on magic formula intelligence. There is not any bibliography, something I would have very much liked to see, but in fairness there is no other commercial practitioner so well prepared to present a personal essay of the scope, rooted in decades of primary access and support to the secret world, and direct exploitation of the non-secret world as they have evolved.

The book benefits from some contributions by others, notably Sir Colin McColl, James Woolsey, Sir David Phillips and Sam Wilkin, but it limits itself in scope to magic formula intelligence for the government, business intelligence, and police brains (in which I was pleased to say Ireland Yard has led the way, and Sir David Vaness and Detective Steve Edwards, MBE are to be saluted for their exemplary use of open sources, not only to put bad people in jail faster, bester, cheaper, but also -- to our shared surprise -- increasing by a hundred fold the global assets that could be seized post-conviction.

Two other UK-based publications I recommend are  Intelligence in an Insecure World   and the forthcoming  Routledge Companion to Intelligence Scientific studies .

My very large set of over 300 of my reviews of publications on intelligence, each leading back to its Amazon . com page, can be found by searching for the phrase

Worth a Appearance: Book Reviews on Brains (Most)

I will end with three observations.

1st, intelligence right now is mis-understood, at least in the UK-US, as security in all its forms. That is incorrect. Intelligence is decision-support, and 90% or more of the sources, methods, and conclusions needed to support judgements by ALL strategy, policy, acquisition, and functions nodes are not magic formula, not expensive, not online, and never in English. No one in government becomes that yet.

Second, there are eight "tribes" of intelligence, and 183 different languages that matter (33 of them critical, including 13 dialects of Arabic), and no national intelligence community can be considered competent if it has failed to harness the distributed brains of all eight people at all levels (academic, civil society including labour and religion, government, law enforcement, media, military, and non-government/non-profit.

Third, both the US and great britain have rushed into the specialized rabbit hole, collecting too much, processing very little than it, and knowing all too little about the real world for not enough a globally distributed individual network truly able to pulse the bazaars in real time. The Embassies have become bunkers, and access outside the beverage party circuit all too limited. Human Intelligence (HUMINT) is going to be core to the art of intelligence in the 21st Century, but it will be non-governmental, mid-career, 3 rd country, open, networked, and deeply rooted in historical, cultural, and linguistic understanding, something that a "pure blood" Englishman or American cannot, in a hundred lives, achieve. Multinational Station are the future. China becomes this, the US and UK do not.

This particular is a very fine book, easily one of the top ten in the field right now, my critical comments notwithstanding.

With best wishes to all,
Robert David STEELE Vivas
2012 CLEVERNESS for EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability, This particular book offers a wide-ranging summary of the history and current state of brains - mostly secret brains, but also business brains - and ends with a provocative argument how intelligence ought to be reformed.

Typically the book is at three parts. The first part covers intelligence-related definitions and history, including the intelligence period, intelligence sources, and the history of intelligence. This could have done with some reorganization (perhaps chronologically? ) but the book should tackle subject areas useful for the reader's understanding of the field of intelligence studies widely rather than seriously so it is not hard to follow.

The second part is a séance on some current issues facing the present day intelligence practitioner, including propaganda, conspiracies, economic globalization, the internet, and culture (especially cultural bias). Again, the treating subject areas is quick and wide-ranging.

Typically the 3 rd and final part of the book aims proposals for intelligence change (after a short review of more background, electronic. g. on intelligence supervision and business intelligence). These types of reform proposals are radical, seeking to address the challenges of the info era. Mainly, the `mosaic method' capitalizes on information technologies in order to incorporate the exploding range of open-source information with the secret intelligence that is the traditional focus of intelligence agencies.

To provide a concrete example, a police force by using a `mosaic' or `network' approach might, for instance, deploy a countrywide information technology system such that if `officer Bob' made a routine traffic stop of the person who was a suspected cosca member, `Bob' would be alerted to the structured crime task force's analysis of the person's possible role. Moreover, any observations `officer Bob' made during the stop would in turn be used to flesh out the individuals profile on the structured crime task force's analysis of the mafia business.

The book's arguments for such `mosaic' approaches to intelligence sound right - these enhance the knowledge of decision-makers (the intelligence `customer') by putting secret intelligence into context; these methods help intelligence analysts `connect the dots' on apparently unrelated issues or individuals; and these approaches use THIS systems to turn `footsoldiers' who do routine work (like `officer Bob') into intelligence assets.

Having recently seen the movie Zero Darker Thirty, I really could grasp this argument - in the film, the key breakthrough in the search for Osama bin Laden comes from linking brains provided by prisoners with a long-overlooked message from the government of Morocco received years earlier. This particular is depicted, in the film, as a heart stroke of luck. It is the sort of thing a `mosaic' or `networked' approach might turn into a regular occurrence.

I, personally, read the guide from the perspective of a person working in company strategy. Hence the first two parts (and first chapters of the 3 rd part), which essentially cover context, included much that was fresh to me. Visitors who are intelligence specialists will probably want to give attention to the book's final two chapters, which contain the key `mosaic method' and `network approach' arguments.

Total, as a business viewer, I found the history sections, which take up almost all of the book, helpful. And when a subject was dull, it was over quickly - no remedying of a topic continues longer than about two pages, so it is an easy read. Some subject highlights include Machiavelli's Typically the Prince, the dawn of human language, Clinton's fascination with "The Coming Anarchy", and the Gunpowder Plot - which illustrates the range. I felt the organization of these parts might have been better. For occasion, Sun Tzu's Art of War follows, rather than precedes, the rise of social media, which for me, as a (perhaps excessively) organized person, was disorienting.

The 3 rd part, which is the truly novel component of the book, is intriguing. Coming from my business perspective, it parallels what many company strategy planning departments are doing (for instance, I possess recently worked with a company whose strategy department has begun to offer their main `intelligence product' to the firm's senior professionals as an interactive ipad tablet app).

That said, I was left wishing that the book had focused more on the previous two chapters. These chapters felt to me like quick an argument, instead than the end. The situation for adopting these radical new methods is implied in the earlier chapters, but might have been made much more explicit - for instance, by showing how recent intelligence failures could have been avoided using the `mosaic method', or by showing how brains failures are more likely in the future consequently of the trends talked about. The features of the mosaic method would also have been more clear if illustrated with more detailed circumstance studies - I realize this would be hard to do without providing examples of some magic formula intelligence to show how it will be put in circumstance.

Also, possible objections to these new methods are not addressed. For me personally, the obvious question is counter-espionage. The `mosaic' and `network' strategies appear suitable to cope with the modern danger of `disorganized crime', electronic. g. self-starting terrorist sites. But wouldn't these techniques create vulnerabilities to structured crime networks (or opponent states)? E. g., does the mafia need to corrupt only a single police officer in order to monitor everything the authorities understands about it? Presumably problems can be addressed, but it would be interesting to know how.

In sum, I found the book an intriguing and useful introduction to the field of intelligence, and a thought-provoking exposition on the potential of `mosaic methods'. I was intrigued enough to hope for a more closely-argued and case-rich exposition in a sequel.

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Strategic Intelligence 21st Century Mosaic
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