Studies in Intelligence 67, No. 2 (Extracts, June 2023)

Becoming a Learning Organization: Reflections on the Study of Intelligence

By Peter S. Usowski

Beginning with a repository for knowledge

Within a few years of the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency in 1947, its leaders recognized that to advance intelligence tradecraft the agency needed an organized and accessible repository of knowledge. During those early years, the sources for knowledge on all aspects of the intelligence business not only were in records dispersed throughout CIA buildings but also largely rested in the heads of CIA’s active and former practitioners. A body of literature devoted to the intelligence profession did not exist.

With the creation of a Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) historical staff in 1951, the publication of the journal Studies in Intelligence in 1955, and the establishment of the Center for the Study of Intelligence (CSI) in 1974, CIA’s leaders set out on a path, rocky at times, to conscientiously devote resources to studying intelligence and building up a fund of knowledge.

Today, Studies in Intelligence and the scholarly research programs in CSI have paramount roles in sustaining and growing the fund of knowledge on the intelligence business.

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