This was in many ways a difficult book to read and is even more difficult to review. It contains a number of original ideas on intelligence reform, national security, and the general state of the world. Yet they are presented in a rather choppy style that relies rather heavily on numerous diagrams, charts, and tables as well as lists of thoughts. Still this book is worth reading because Robert D. Steele takes on the business of intelligence reform in a comprehensive and refreshingly different approach.
The guiding, but unstated premise of this book appears to be that in the chaotic world of the 21st Century, intelligence is too important to be left only to the intelligence bureaucracy of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC). According to Steele, it is time that the business of producing national intelligence was shared with the academic and business communities, with state and local authorities, and even with private citizens. Steele also makes the perfectly valid point that open sources can supply up to 80 per cent of the unprocessed data required to produce intelligence. Incidentally, Steele recognizes the quagmire the Internet poses to researchers and wisely offers suggestions for avoiding the large amount of misinformation that can be found on the net. The book offers some structural reforms to the IC, but its most valuable contributions are its proposals for cultural changes in the way that intelligence is produced and used.
Beyond its choppy style, however, the book is flawed. Steele seems curiously ignorant of the actual processes of intelligence production where by unprocessed information (data) acquired by source(s) is transformed into useful knowledge (intelligence) organized by subject(s). This transformation is accomplished by various combinations of processing, research, and analysis. His suggestion to concentrate processing of data from all sources into one agency is incredibly ill informed. In the same manner, he treats Geographic Information Systems (GIS) rather lightly, although they have been proven to be invaluable not only for visualization, but also for organizing and interpreting collected data and would be an ideal medium for integrating and presenting all source data. Finally he clearly does not know as much about the arcane world of technical intelligence as he thinks he does which leads him to some erroneous conclusions.
- Hardcover: 438 pages
- Publisher: Oss Pr (8 April 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0971566119
- ISBN-13: 978-0971566118
- Package Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.5 x 3.8 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 953 g
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