What value does strategic intelligence provide to national policy and decision makers? Be sure to address why is it necessary to cover all the five basic collection components (HUMINT, SIGINT, IMINT, GEOINT, and OSINT) as an integrated study, rather than separating them into their own stove-pipes for study. The intent of this essay is to provide the value and advantages that strategic intelligence provides in formulating national policies and the attributes it brings to decision makers.
Strategic Intelligence is mission essential to protecting the interest and national security of the United States. We lean on it to provide better insight and further the policy agenda as well as give decision makers accurate intelligence. Strategic Intelligence is “intelligence necessary to create and implement a strategy typically a grand strategy, what officialdom calls a national strategy. A strategy is not really a plan but the logic driving a plan.” (Heidenrich 2007). In the intelligence process there is a cycle that take place within the agencies: planning, collection, processing, analysis and dissemination. The cycle of intelligence along with strategic intelligence allows national policy and decision making to be addressed more fluently.
Strategic Intelligence value to national policy and decision making
The planning component of the cycle of intelligence is the phase where determination of issues that need to be addressed. Planning phase also determines what information is needed. The Executive Branch, policy makers, National Security Advisors and other department officials determine what intelligence is needed and the coordination begins with the intelligence community to understand the requirements needed.
The Collection component is the phase that determines the route to be taken based on the requirements, this will initiate the raw gathering of information through many sources to be analyzed. Intelligence is gathered from actives such as interviews, technical and physical surveillance, open sources, satellites, covert and human sources.
Once intelligence has been gathered it is then processed, this phase allows the raw information converted into usable information. Analyst with in the agencies will filter out large quantities of data to be migrated into relevant data. The Processing phase allows validity of the data received to endure stiff analysis from experts using multiple avenues of approach. Processing component is the first step in answering questions and give decision makers insight on the subject.
As the cycle of intelligence continues the Analysis component integrates and evaluates it into a final intelligence product. This phase details the intelligence report which allows decision makers to see alternatives to the solutions as well as produce assessments on future threats.
The final component is Dissemination of the intelligence report to the requesting department or decision maker. This final report is a data from all sources of intelligence to put a final product together that allows protection of national security and brings about new policies. The Intelligence Community has overtime constructed a system that provides complex algorithms for the collection and processing of raw intelligence.
Strategic Intelligence Prerequisite to Policy
The Intelligence Community exists to provide support to policy makers, its responsibility is provide a service to policy makers on national security issues. Strategic Intelligence assess long term issues that effect political and economical issues over an extended period of time. It also address trends in these fields to allow policy makers to address them. The Intelligence Community is designed to deliver outcomes based on information that is available from all sources of intelligence. Strategic Intelligence provides policy makers with knowledge to address elaborate situations. The results that come from analyst reports allow decision makers to make accurate decisions.
Importance of the Intelligence Collection Components
The use of intelligence collection components as an integrated study allows all sources to be crossed reference. Utilizing this approach to further understand and put a report that is to the fullest of accurate data cross referencing will get rid of stove pipping. Using the basic collection components of HUMINT, SIGINT, IMINT, GEOINT, and OSINT. Analyst are able to put intelligence reports together that support what decision makers understand the route they will take rather than to inform them of what the suspect.
An Active Role
The decision maker that request the intelligence must maintain an active role through the intelligence cycle. They must be aware of what is going on in order to provide feedback on the intelligence needs and shape the intelligence in away that fits requirements. Analyst also advises the policy makers on the possibilities of blow back if what they know is released. The active role allows analyst to work with the requester to maintain a connection of what it is that they are requesting so the analyst is not juggling a list that is not prioritized.
Piecing it together
With the full understanding of the process for using strategic intelligence and collection methods to better assist policy makers with producing policy that strikes that balance of need vs. wants. Both sides must revel their expectations and restraints. The two must understand the whole picture and know what is needed to gain advantage and develop a stronger relationship. Intelligence can’t produce bad policy but only provide the facts as it is uncovered, policy makers must balance the options at hand. Being effective with the intelligence community and policy makers the “Politicization” must be reduced in order to foster better practice and respect. Analyst must also provide the full intelligence report not just some intelligence that pieces the wrong picture which is also known as “cherry-picking”. This ineffective method does not provide accuracy to policy makers.
As effective as the cycle of intelligence is its far from perfect. The intelligence community and its analyst provide a unique role when it comes with provide support to policy and decision makers. The intelligence community faces stiff challenges the provide stressful obstacles as budgeting and stove-pipping. Requesters and analyst must work together to understand each others perspectives as well as the process. Within the community the analyst and managers must be used for support not opinion as it will hinder future interactions. The value of strategic intelligence to National Policy and Decision Makers is remarkable and provides a 4-D look into situations far greater than tackling it from one side.