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Geographic Intelligence

    
In connection with intramural responsibility boundaries, of which there are many within the house of geographic intelligence, the overlap problem is as often one of too little as of too much. Units attached to the same administrative stem shy away from anything that might be viewed as an invasion of neighboring pastures, sometimes to the detriment of coverage along critical boundaries. Even if such coverage is adequate in a monitoring sense, thinking from both sides has a tendency to stop too abruptly at the barrier.
    
A Look Ahead    
    
There is a trend toward greater overlap between geographic intelligence, military intelligence, and scientific intelligence as military equations become more complex and require consideration of an ever-widening range of earth-related phenomena.
    
Geographic intelligence must now look ahead with a possible-in-our-time attitude to scientific and technological breakthroughs that may alter long-established evaluations of the potential use to man of extensive parts of the earth and thus create suddenly new geographic patterns with implications of a most far-reaching sort for statecraft. Prominent among the developments of this kind that might occur are effective climate control and the economical desalting of sea water.
    
The founding of some thirty-nine new states since World War II, most of them relatively undeveloped former colonies, has added new facets to world political geography that will influence conditions within the new states and also the affairs of other nations for years to come. Many of the developments that can be foreseen will be very much within the scope of geographic intelligence, for example new foreign mapping programs, new patterns of factionalism, civil division changes, international boundary problems, and economic development programs in which locational aspects figure importantly.
    
Improved communications have greatly increased the number and complexity of locational patterns of which statecraft must take cognizance. Not long ago the precise distribution of the speakers of an obscure dialect in Central Asia was largely academic from the viewpoint of U.S. foreign policy interests. But now that some of them can be reached by
    
   

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Posted: May 08, 2007 09:01 AM
Last Updated: May 08, 2007 09:01 AM