Training In National Security Programs Can Help Repair Intelligence Operation Deficits

As recent as 2008 there have been claims that U.S. intelligence has been in a continued state of disrepair. Despite official testimony to the opposite, independent research into U.S. intelligence has suggested that the deficits that existed before 9-11 still exist. Granted, intelligence work is not something that a person or an agency can make changes to on a whim. Indeed, intelligence takes time to develop sources and to analyze the voluminous information that makes its way to intelligence analysts. Accordingly, a true change in course for the intelligence community will take time. Just how much time it will to take revamp the intelligence community is up for speculation, but the necessity of such a change is not.

The pressing nature of intelligence reform is the major reason that makes the Rand Corporation's findings from its independent review of U.S. intelligence so important. The suggestion that U.S. intelligence has not moved past pre-9-11 deficits of analysis and integration of intelligence may seem outrageous. The Rand Corporation's findings go on to say that current intelligence practices offer a false sense of security in the reliability of intelligence analysis and judgment. Some of the pre 9-11 problems that were reported to continue to manifest were problems with communication.

Communication is a problem in any large organization—U.S. intelligence included. Communication problems are often due to, and rectified by, management. There may be a need for better intelligence management to address the communication problems within U.S. intelligence. Specific intelligence management assets can manage the executive duties required to facilitate who corresponds with whom and can allow the people who conduct intelligence operations to focus on their mission. It would be quite overwhelming and most likely unrealistic to depend upon a person who should be focused on an intelligence operation to also focus on intelligence management. The difference is similar to any management and expert dichotomy in the workplace. In healthcare there are people who manage the clinic or hospital and there are those who practice their trade. Though the individuals in management may have been practitioners at one point, their primary job is to be managers.

Perhaps a new generation of intelligence management can come from the few good national security programs of study. A person interested in intelligence management (or intelligence operation for that matter) can find good national security programs online. A prospective student should be selective in their choice of university, however, because national security programs are offered by universities that specialize in intelligence and related areas and those who do not.

Naturally, a student will want to matriculate to a degree program from a university that has faculty who were or who still are directly involved in the intelligence community. Not many universities can make that claim. Having well informed but also experienced faculty can bridge the gap that exists between the purely academic and the applied. A student can gain firsthand knowledge of intelligence management and intelligence operation that can then be put into practice by the student.

Dan Sommer works for Henley-Putnam University, a leading educational institution in the field of Strategic Security. For more info on Henley-Putnam University, national security programs, intelligence operation, call 888-852-8746 or visit us online at

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