A Blueprint for Survival: The Coming Intelligence Failure

By Russ Travers


The year is 2001. The Intelligence Community (IC) budget has remained under pressure and manpower cuts have continued, but bureaucratic politics and legislative prerogatives have perpetuated about a dozen national-level agencies and forced a further division of analytic labor. By the turn of the century, analysis had become dangerously fragmented. The Community could still collect on “facts,” but analysts had long ago been overwhelmed by the volume of available information and were no longer able to distinguish consistently between significant facts and background noise. The quality of analysis had become increasingly suspect.

And, as had been true of virtually all previous intelligence failures, collection was not the issue. The data were there, but we had failed to recognize fully their significance and put them in context. At a time when the interrelationships among political, economic, military, social, and cultural factors had become increasingly complex, no agency was postured to conduct truly integrated analysis. From the vantage point of 2001, intelligence failure is inevitable.

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