Draft Chapter for Strategic Intelligence
intelligence analysis is still done the old-fashioned way: reading at human speed, cutting and pasting, attempting to make sense of vast volumes of secret information while lacking equivalent access to vast volumes of open source information (and especially open source information in any language other than English), limited by the physics of the 24-hour day.
OSINT combines the proven process of intelligence with the ability to collect, process, and analyze all information in all languages all the time. We collect, at best, 20% of what we need to collect, at 99% of the cost, and we spill most of that for lack of processing capabilities. It can be said, as an informed judgment, that Washington is operating on 2% of the relevant strategic information necessary to devise, implement, and adjust national strategy.23 We should not be sending spies where schoolboys can go, nor should we be ignoring scholarship in all languages.
There will still be a need for selected clandestine human operations, especially against organized crime and translation terrorist groups, but they will need to shift toward non-official cover, and multinational task forces. Secret technical collection will need to emphasize commercial collection first, dramatically refocus secret collection, and shift the bulk of the future resources toward processing—making sense of what we do collect—and toward close-in technical collection inclusive of beacons for tracking bad guys and bad things.
Collection Management will require draconian reform. Instead of defaulting to the tasking of secret collection capabilities, an enlightened collection manager will first determine if they can FIND the information for free in their existing stores of knowledge; then determine if they can GET the information for free from allied government or any of the seven tribes; and then determine if they can BUY the information from a commercial provider, ideally a localized
Version 2.4 dated 7 April 2006