COMBATING NEW SECURITY THREATS
good driving, the key is to keep the eye on the road and not watch the pedals. It is also a case of anticipating wisely but being able to manoeuvre quickly in the face of surprises. Anticipation in politics relies on strategic awareness and planning, and this depends on better long-range intelli- gence.
Success also depends on having the right intelligence structures in place. To date, there has been a tendency to perpetuate intelligence entities that were created and devel- oped to cope with traditional enemies. Formal boundaries between long-established empires remain solidly in force. Customs, the police, the intelligence agencies themselves, key government departments and the military, all have their own intelligence or analytical divisions and rely heavily on service-level or bilateral agreements to pass certain infor- mation as well as numerous meetings and committees to demonstrate coordination and consensus. This may work for most of the time, but it is not an adequate response to today’s security environment.
A solution can best be achieved by going beyond coordi- nation and consensus-building and imposing a controlling, centralising body on the decision-making process. In other words, it may be necessary to give executive power to a joint authority that could take the collective intelligence, determine the collective response and then direct the vari- ous departments to act in a specific and coordinated fash- ion. The way that subordinate departments responded would be individually determined as part of an agreed strategic approach. Various models have been proposed to help this process, but they have not been sufficiently broad- based to receive universal acclaim or market-driven to ensure relevance.
The idea of centralism is not one that traditionally man- aged, fiercely independent institutions like working with. Fears of centralism have already killed a proposal present- ed to the previous US Administration to amalgamate the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms into one body to tackle the serious crime issues of the day. The idea of an EU intelligence agency, proposed by France and Germany in 1999, was also quickly rejected by others. At the same time, it is recognised that both Europol and Interpol do make valuable contributions in the fight against crime — hence recent efforts to strengthen Europol to fight terrorism. However, Europol is currently hindered by the extent and value of national contributions, broad legal parameters and limited resources. In spite of all the attempts in many areas, progress to centralise information gathering and operations has been either slow or non- existent.
Intelligence vs evidence As the nature of the threats becomes more diverse and universal, requiring an all-agency response, the central
10 NATO review
dilemma of intelligence versus evidence will appear at awkward moments. Certain types of threat seem to exploit the natural antipathy between law enforcement and nation- al security. While the former is concerned with evidence collection and preservation, the latter is concerned with intelligence collection and analysis. As a result, law- enforcement agencies tend to be more open and mindful of civil liberties than their national-security counterparts.
All these jurisdictional niceties and divisions hinder the response to certain attacks, particularly where the perpetra- tor is unknown. To the policeman, a criminal inserting a computer virus is someone to be apprehended and data retrieved is evidence to be used in a court of law. But to the counter-terrorism expert, stopping the attack or mitigating its effects is the first concern with arrest a useful second. Unfortunately, in the cyber world, for example, one does not know which is the case until after the investigation has begun. Yet the speed of response could be critical in head- ing off disaster. These two, sometimes mutually exclusive, priorities can be resolved in only two ways. One is to create an organisation with the authority of a law-enforcement agency but the capabilities of both law-enforcement and national-security agencies combined. The other is a clear revision of authorities allowing functional barriers to be removed.
The intelligence failings which allowed the terrorist attacks on the United States to occur will no doubt lead to a significant shake up of both the law-enforcement and national-security departments in that country. With annual intelligence budgets of $30 billion and the economic price of failure on 11 September alone many times greater, the incentive for doing better in the future is enormous. The need for better human intelligence will surely be a key fea- ture of any review. However, there is also a wealth of intel- ligence to be tapped in the open literature and from the pri- vate sector. Journalists and businessmen alike operate in many of the problem areas and have a wealth of back- ground information to contribute, as they deal with the security issues on a daily basis. In tackling a global prob- lem, burden sharing in the intelligence game is as valid as in other legitimate activities.
The private sector
It is clear that governments, in fighting the growing threats to security, realise that the involvement of the pri- vate sector is a vital ingredient. At the simplest level, this can be seen at ports where transport companies are pre- sented with fines if adequate checks are not made on the movement of unauthorised personnel. Moves to insist that internet service providers collect historic data as an eviden- tial aid are another.
These steps towards partnership are understandable, but the impetus has so far been on expectations from govern- ment on business as part of good corporate governance. To date, there seems to have been little understanding of the