Understanding Intelligence Cycle (IC)

In this paper I will be measuring to what extent the Intelligence Cycle ( IC ) can be used to understand the creative activity of a finished intelligence merchandise. I will discourse the single parts of the IC in deepness, and deduce the public-service corporation and theoretical foundations of the rhythm. A treatment of the advantages and disadvantages of the IC will move as a tool of understanding the creative activity of finished intelligence. This will turn out good when comparing it to other procedures and/or theoretical accounts that have been developed as a manner to understanding the intelligence system.

Intelligence can be traced back as far back as history will let, and Sun Tzu remarks, “ It is merely the enlightened swayer and the wise general who will utilize the highest intelligence of the ground forces for the intents of spying, and thereby they achieve great consequences. “ [ 1 ] Intelligence is an abstract construct, and Lacquer remarks that “ … all efforts to develop ambitious theories of intelligence have failed. “ [ 2 ] However, the best definition of intelligence incorporates the procedure of intelligence aggregation and the agencies to which it is used. Gill and Phythian define intelligence as, “ an umbrella term mentioning to the scope of activities – from be aftering and information aggregation, analysis and airing – conducted in secret ; aimed at supplying premonition of menaces and for the execution of policy up to and including covert action. “ [ 3 ] Finally, the Dictionary of Military and Associated Footings provides consensus, specifying intelligence as: “ Information and cognition about an antagonist obtained through observation, probe, analysis, or apprehension. “ [ 4 ]

In order to understand intelligence we must foremost understand the agencies by which intelligence is collected. The Intelligence Cycle is taught as a scientific procedure to apologize and normalise the procedure of garnering intelligence. It provides a simplified image of the relationship between ‘Intelligent Consumers ‘ – which are at the beginning and terminal of each rhythm and ‘Intelligent Producers ‘ – which account for the remainder of the rhythm. This is besides echoed in the private and concern sectors. The chief elements to the Intelligence Cycle are ; Requirements, Planning/Direction, Collection, Processing, Analysis, and eventually Reporting/Dissemination. This can be seen in Figure 1 ( appendix ) which represents the Intelligence Cycle diagrammatically.

The first portion of the rhythm is demands. The intelligence consumer ( besides the intelligence terminal user ) submits an intelligence requirement/request. For illustration, the consumer could run from a policy functionary necessitating to cognize the intention-probability menace degree of a suspected terrorist onslaught, to a public wellness organic structure that needs to measure the cogency of its response to a mass casualty bring forthing event such as a chemical/biological arm. At this point it is of import to separate the UK requirements-driven IC and the USA data-driven [ traditional ] IC due to the resource disparities between the states. However, a wide ‘requirement ‘ such as “ possible panic menaces to the state ” for all purposes and intents will be the same in informations and demands driven Intelligence Cycles.

Once the intelligence demands are established so the planning map of the IC can get down to determine how this demand will be fulfilled. This is basically the direction and co-ordination of the intelligence procedure – from placing the demand for information, to bringing of an intelligence merchandise to an terminal user. The “ Five W ‘s ” ( Who, What, When, Where and Why every bit good as How ) are the start points for designation of intelligence demands into demands. These points define the model for determination shapers who set up the ‘Essential Elementss of Information ‘ [ 5 ] .

At this point in the rhythm the demands have been established, and some signifier of way has been provided to the intelligence manufacturers. They can now ship on roll uping the information required to carry through the intelligence demand. This can be through a assortment of ways ; the easiest and most common path is through ‘open beginning ‘ intelligence ( OSINT ) . This includes the media, newspapers, academic literature, foreign and domestic broadcasts etc. In fact, unfastened beginning coverage is built-in to the CIA ‘s analytical capablenesss. Whilst an intelligence analyst can entree most OSINT with easiness, there is a divide between bureaus with the duties and abilities of aggregation. For illustration, National Security Agency ( NSA ) for Signal Intelligence ( SIGINT ) , the Central Intelligence Agency ( CIA ) for human intelligence ( HUMINT ) and the National Geo-Spatial Intelligence Agency ( NGA ) for Imagery Intelligence ( IMINT ) . It is frequently noted as a paradox that 95 % of intelligence comes from unfastened beginning information, yet 95 % of the intelligence budget is spent on obtaining information from covert actions and cloak-and-dagger missions.

Collection is the preliminary to the most intensive portion of the IC – the processing and development of the information collected. As one former National Security Agency manager said, “ Reaping difficult facts from the avalanche of information was like seeking to take a drink of H2O from a fire hosiery. “ [ 6 ] Therefore it is of import to covert the multitudes of information into a signifier that can be utilized by intelligence analysts. Exploitation “ includes integration, measuring and analysing all available informations – which is frequently fragmental and even contradictory ” . [ 7 ] It is besides of import to observe that “ natural intelligence is frequently referred to as ‘the points ‘ – single pieces of information. Finished intelligence reports the ‘connected points ‘ . “ [ 8 ] A critical note of the 9/11 intelligence failures was that it was non due to a deficiency of information/intelligence. In fact, analysts were submerging in an ocean of information, but they were unable to ‘connect the points ‘ to supply a comprehensive image. This farther compounds the thought that processing and development of information is important to the intelligence rhythm.

The concluding portion of the IC is dissemination/reporting. This is the distribution of the finished intelligence to the intelligence consumer who initiated the petition. This can be in the manner of brief one page studies, drawn-out instance surveies or a presentation. The intelligence clients so make determinations – operational, strategic and policy – based on the information received. This may in bend lead to more intelligence demands levied on the intelligence manufacturers, which restarts the rhythm once more.

We have determined that the IC is a structural theoretical account to assist us understand the creative activity of an intelligence merchandise, but this paper now looks to what extent this theoretical account is valid, and empirical grounds where it seems the IC has broken down. There are cases where it seems the IC theoretical account has been a success ; “ For case, the Bush disposal based its estimation of North Korea ‘s atomic aspirations mostly on satellite imagination depiction activity at the Yongbyon atomic installation and air samples proposing that exhausted atomic fuel was being reprocessed into weapons-grade Pu. It concluded that Kim Jong-Il ‘s authorities was on the brink of developing capablenesss endangering plenty to justify a forceful U.S. response. “ [ 9 ]

However, it is said that whilst the IC is simple in theory, it is mussy in practise. The simpleness of the theoretical account explained supra does non take into consideration factors that may impact the overall result. There are conceptual failings with constituents of the IC, and this affects the unity of the theoretical account as a whole.

First, Gill and Phythian remark that the IC does non capture the dynamic nature of intelligence ; instead the IC is seen as a inactive theoretical account. Whilst neat in theory, in times of exigencies and national crisis ‘ the IC is bypassed or it may even be enveloped into one user. Semerson remarks that “ Intelligence analysts dread holding their work overtaken by events, for fright of being cut out of the decision-making cringle in the hereafter ” [ 10 ] and Berkowitz adds value noticing that, “ … Intelligence contrivers short-circuited the formal procedure when high-level consumers needed information in a haste and had the clout to hold their manner. “ [ 11 ] This increases the hazard of the IC being played out in one person, and it raises inquiries of answerability and deficiency of objectiveness by an analyst. Furthermore, the hazard of prejudice within the person in the haste to supply timely intelligence may deduce bias onto the policy directive. Furthermore, the IC does non take history of counter intelligence/covert action or false intelligence. The impact of false intelligence could interrupt the cogency of the IC, and once more may deduce bias onto the policy directive.

Another major job with the IC is the increased usage of ‘stove shrieking ‘ . In the traditional sense, ‘stove shrieking ‘ keeps the end product of different aggregation systems separated from one another. The analogy is that of a chimney – that fume is directed through a little pipe where it is needed, and does non make full the room in general. However, this has assorted derogative deductions in respects to the IC. First, ‘stove shrieking ‘ prevents one subject from cross look intoing another. This prevents “ … each unit [ in the Intelligence Cycle ] allowing the unit following door have a topographic point in the ‘chop concatenation ‘ , leting it the chance to add its expertness to the concluding merchandise. “ [ 12 ] Furthermore, ‘stove shrieking ‘ bypasses the regular analysis of natural information and sends merely natural intelligence to the Intelligence Consumer that supports a peculiar position/policy they have taken.

This leads on to another job associated with the IC – that the authoritative impression of intelligence used to inform and thrust policy has been usurped by intelligence that is channelled to back up a policy stance. This ‘politicization ‘ of intelligence is best demonstrated by the usage of intelligence in the Second Gulf War ( 2003 – present twenty-four hours ) . Intelligence has become a support for policy determinations already made, non to drive a policy determination. It is argued that the United States had already committed itself to the war in Iraq, and was seeking for intelligence to bespeak grounds of WMDs in Iraq.

The statements below compound the thought that the IC is ‘messy in pattern ‘ . Whilst the United States is an flush state with huge resources to give to the intelligence community, it is non all-knowing. Semerson remarks that, “ Unless top political leaders strictly think out their precedences and cite the will to enforce subject on the procedure… the Intelligence Cycle can devolve into an attempt to larn everything about everything, everyplace in the universe – a sap ‘s errand. “ [ 13 ] This statement is further compounded by the volumes of natural informations that is compiled ( by the US in peculiar ) and so “ shelved until the disposal deems the capable affair a precedence ” [ 14 ]

Another job, simple as it may be, is that it is impossible to cognize everything, and it is peculiarly hard to perforate closed societies – particularly those obsessed with internal security such as Iraq and North Korea. Therefore, the context of the IC is unsuitable to these societies. Finally, Semerson remarks that, “ Spots of cardinal information routinely slip through the clefts, take awaying from the overall intelligence estimation. “ [ 15 ] This is further compounded by critics who claim, “ It is ne’er a satisfactory alibi to state ‘if we merely had more information ‘ . Analysts already have more information than they can digest. “ [ 16 ]

At this point in the paper we can now present other processes/models to assist understand the intelligence procedure. We start by separating between the ‘Traditional ‘ IC and Robert Clark ‘s ‘Target-Centric ‘ attack. Berkowitz remarks that, “ The [ traditional ] intelligence rhythm reflects the best thought of how an information service should work from the late fortiess and 1950s. “ [ 17 ] The job with the traditional IC is that each phase is isolated where each portion has a designated undertaking. There is limited range for feedback or to for intelligence consumers to inquire inquiries. Kent argues that there should be a corporate duty for opinion, as opposed to the traditional IC which, “ separates aggregators, processors and analysts and excessively frequently consequences in ‘throwing information over the wall ‘ to go the following individuals duty. Everybody neatly avoids duty for the quality of the concluding merchandise and it is more predictable and hence more vulnerable to an opposition ‘s countermeasures. “ [ 18 ] The target-centric attack efforts to polish the intelligence procedure in such a manner that it is a web instead than a rhythm. Sherman Kent adds consensus by back uping a web attack to intelligence where analysts are straight accountable for the work. Finally, Hulnick compounds this position saying that “ aggregation and analysis, which are supposed to work in tandem, in fact work more decently in analogue. “ [ 19 ]

Both Jardines and Clark argue that, “ a more target-centric, iterative and collaborative attack… would be far more effectual than the current traditional intelligence rhythm. “ [ 20 ] Clark summarizes, “ With a target-centric attack to intelligence analysis, intelligence is collaborative, because this theoretical account creates a system where it can include all subscribers, participants, and consumers. Each person can oppugn the theoretical account and acquire replies along the manner. The target-centric theoretical account is a web procedure where the information flows unconstrained among all participants, who besides focus on the aim to make a shared image of the mark ” [ 21 ] Finally, Berkowitz adds consensus claiming that, “ the best manner to guarantee that an intelligence merchandise meets the demands of the consumer is to set the consumer in touch with the analysts fixing the merchandise. “ [ 22 ] This would hold the consequence of, “ minimising the distance between intelligence manufacturers and intelligence consumers, allowing adequate interaction so that the merchandise is of course tailored to the demands of the consumer. “ [ 23 ]

However, a Target-Centric theoretical account, by its nature is a web procedure that is more time-consuming than the traditional IC, and hence the finished merchandise is likely to take a longer clip to make the intelligence consumer. This may explicate why the IC is preferred above other theoretical accounts to explicate the finished intelligence merchandise.

Another procedure is John Boyd ‘s ‘OODA Loop ‘ ( see Figure 2 ) . OODA ( Observe, Orientate, Decision, and Action ) is more action orientated and resembles a spiral instead than a uninterrupted rhythm. It was developed originally for air-to-air combatant combat decision-making/action. After the action, the topic observes once more, to see the effects of the action. If the rhythm works decently and the topic has enterprise, so he can point, make up one’s mind, and move even faster in the subsequent loops of the OODA Loop. This theoretical account differs from the IC and Target-Centric because OODA focuses on a individual determination shaper, and Greene remarks that, “ The proper mentality is to allow travel a little, to let some of the pandemonium to go portion of his [ determination shapers ] mental system, and to utilize it to his advantage by merely making more pandemonium and confusion for the opposition. He funnels the inevitable pandemonium of the battleground in the way of the enemy. “ [ 24 ] Finally, if the procedure works every bit intended, the topic will ‘get inside the opposition ‘s cringle ‘ . When the topic OODA Loop dominates the opposition ‘s, the topic is moving repeatedly, based on rational picks, while the opposition is still seeking to understand what is go oning. It is of import to observe that the OODA Loop is less applicable in comparing to the IC, and it tends to be discussed non as a stand-alone theoretical account, but in the context of the IC.

  1. Lionel Giles, ‘The Art of War by Sun Tzu – Particular Edition. ‘ ( El Paso Norte Press, 2005 )
  2. Walter Laqueur, ‘A World of Secrets: The Uses and Limits of Intelligence ‘ ( New York: Basic Books, 1985 ) p8
  3. Peter Gill, Mark Phythian, ‘Intelligence in an insecure universe ‘ ( Polity Press, 2000 ) p2.
  4. Joint Chiefs of Staff, ‘Department of Defence Dictionary of Military and Associated Footings ‘ ( Joint Publication 1-02, 2001 ) p208.
  5. ‘The Intelligence Cycle ‘ hypertext transfer protocol: //www.tech-writer.net/intelligencecycle.html ( accessed 15th November2009 )
  6. Bruce Berkowitz, ‘Best truth: Intelligence in the information age. ‘ ( Yale University Press, 2002 ) p66
  7. ‘The Intelligence Cycle ‘ hypertext transfer protocol: //fas.org/irp/cia/product/facttell/intcycle.htm ( Accessed 15th November 2009 )
  8. ‘The Intelligence Cycle ‘ hypertext transfer protocol: //www.fbi.gov/intelligence/di_cycle.htm ( Accessed 15th November 2009 )
  9. Semerson, ‘The Limits of Gathering and Interpreting Intelligence ‘ , ( ESAI Weekly Intelligence Briefing, 28/07/2003 ) p2
  10. Semerson, ‘The Limits of Gathering and Interpreting Intelligence ‘ , ( ESAI Weekly Intelligence Briefing, 28/07/2003 ) p2
  11. Bruce Berkowitz, ‘Best truth: Intelligence in the information age. ‘ ( Yale University Press, 2002 ) p73
  12. Bruce Berkowitz, ‘Best truth: Intelligence in the information age. ‘ ( Yale University Press, 2002 ) p73
  13. Semerson, ‘The Limits of Gathering and Interpreting Intelligence ‘ , ( ESAI Weekly Intelligence Briefing, 28/07/2003, p1 )
  14. Semerson, ‘The Limits of Gathering and Interpreting Intelligence ‘ , ( ESAI Weekly Intelligence Briefing, 28/07/2003, p1 )
  15. Semerson, ‘The Limits of Gathering and Interpreting Intelligence ‘ , ( ESAI Weekly Intelligence Briefing, 28/07/2003, p3 )
  16. ‘Intelligence Analysis and Cycle ‘ hypertext transfer protocol: //www.intelligencesearch.com/ia084.html ( accessed 17th November 2009 )
  17. Bruce Berkowitz, ‘Best truth: Intelligence in the information age. ‘ ( Yale University Press, 2002 ) p69
  18. Eliot Jardines, ‘Testimony of Eliot A. Jardines ‘ , in ‘Using Open Source Efficaciously: Hearings before the Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information and Terrorism Risk Assessment, Committee on Homeland Security ‘ ( 21 June 2005 ) , p14
  19. Arthur Hulnick, “ What ‘s Incorrect with the Intelligence Cycle. ” Intelligence and National Security 21, no. 6 ( Dec. 2006 ) p961
  20. Eliot Jardines, ‘Testimony of Eliot A. Jardines ‘ , in ‘Using Open Source Efficaciously: Hearings before the Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information and Terrorism Risk Assessment, Committee on Homeland Security ‘ ( 21 June 2005 ) , p3
  21. Robert Clark, ‘Intelligence Analysis: A Target-Centric Approach ‘ ( CQ Press, 2006 ) , p14
  22. Bruce Berkowitz, ‘Best truth: Intelligence in the information age. ‘ ( Yale University Press, 2002 ) p74
  23. Bruce Berkowitz, ‘Best truth: Intelligence in the information age. ‘ ( Yale University Press, 2002 ) p74
  24. Robert Greene, ‘OODA and You ‘ , hypertext transfer protocol: //www.powerseductionandwar.com/archives/ooda_and_you.phtml, ( Accessed 22nd November 2009 )