Best Truth

Best Truth: Intelligence in the Information Age

BRUCE D. BERKOWITZ
ALLAN E. GOODMAN
Copyright Date: 2000
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 224
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt32bxwh
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  • Book Info
    Best Truth
    Book Description:

    Confronted by the new challenges of the information age and the post-Soviet world, the U.S. intelligence community must adapt and change. And marginal change is not enough, the authors of this provocative book insist. Bruce D. Berkowitz and Allan E. Goodman call for fundamental, radical reforms in the organization and approach of America's intelligence agencies. They show why traditional approaches to intelligence fall short today, and they propose thoughtful alternatives that take into account recent changes in information technology and intelligence requirements.An information-age intelligence service would move away from a rigid, hierarchical structure toward a more fluid, networked organization, the authors explain. They recommend a system that would utilize the private sector-with its access to more capital and its ability to move more quickly than a government organization. At the same time, this system would encourage government intelligence operations to concentrate on the specialized, high-risk activities they are uniquely able to perform. Berkowitz and Goodman examine recent failures of the intelligence community, discuss why traditional principles of intelligence are no longer adequate, and consider the implications for such broad policy issues as secrecy, covert action, and the culture of the intelligence community.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-14289-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. ONE THE PROBLEM: PROVIDING INTELLIGENCE IN A CHANGING WORLD
    (pp. 1-29)

    In this book we present a new paradigm for intelligence. In doing so, we question many long-accepted ideas about how an intelligence organization should function. In their place, we propose several new ideas about how to plan intelligence programs, manage intelligence organizations, perform analysis, and serve intelligence consumers.

    When Sherman Kent wrote about intelligence some fifty years ago, the first thing he felt obliged to do was explain to his readers just what he was talking about. Kent, a veteran of the Office of Strategic Services during World War II, was one of the “founding fathers” of U.S. intelligence and...

  5. TWO PLANNING INTELLIGENCE RESOURCES IN THE INFORMATION AGE
    (pp. 30-57)

    Most experts agree that U.S. intelligence needs reform. During the past several years at least a half-dozen reports, totalling more than a thousand printed pages, have been issued by official and unofficial organizations on how to improve U.S. intelligence performance.¹ These groups have, by our count, issued recommendations for more thantwo hundredspecific measures. Some of these recommendations have been adopted. Yet, for the most part, these studies have had remarkably little effect on the basic nature of how the intelligence community operates. This is because such studies have rarely questioned our basic assumptions about how intelligence should be...

  6. THREE THE INTELLIGENCE PROCESS AND THE INFORMATION REVOLUTION
    (pp. 58-98)

    Often the hardest part of adopting technology is simply understanding the potential opportunities a new technology offers. This is especially true in a bureaucratic culture like the intelligence community. Bureaucracies are almost always inclined to think of a new technology as just another means to improve its existing way of doing business.¹ Often the true impact of a new technology becomes clear only after officials rethink their basic assumptions about what their mission is and how they are supposed to perform it. The inability of too many officials to perform this mental leap is one reason effective intelligence reform has...

  7. FOUR THE PROBLEM OF ANALYSIS IN THE NEW ERA
    (pp. 99-123)

    Peter Drucker, the guru of the modern corporation, observes that “information is data endowed with relevance and purpose.”¹ This observation is worth keeping in mind when designing an intelligence community for the Information Age. Even the best data will not yield effective policies if its analysis does not keep up with the changing needs of intelligence consumers. It will be irrelevant and have no purpose.

    While the basic definition of intelligence may not have changed in fifty years, almost everything else about the analyst’s job has.² Most of the methods used in intelligence analysis today were developed during the Cold...

  8. FIVE COVERT ACTION IN THE INFORMATION AGE
    (pp. 124-146)

    Nothing brings the intelligence community as close to the making of policy as covert action. The CIA officially defines covert action as “an operation designed to influence governments, events, organizations, or persons in support of foreign policy in a manner that is not necessarily attributable to the sponsoring power.” Covert action operations “may include political, economic, propaganda, or paramilitary activities.”¹ The use of such operations is an outgrowth of policymakers’ need for so-called “quiet” and “middle” options (that is, tools that are more powerful than diplomacy but short of using military forces) to counter dangerous adversaries.

    Most intelligence professionals, it...

  9. SIX THE INTELLIGENCE CULTURE AND THE FUTURE
    (pp. 147-168)

    In the late 1970s, social scientists, journalists, and other analysts made a remarkable discovery:culture matters. This may seem obvious today, but for years the use of culture as a concept for explaining events had been declining. Social scientists and pundits alike thought it was a backward, outmoded idea. After a few years of ethnically driven civil wars, failed economic plans, and catastrophic “scientific management” strategies, though, people began to rethink their conclusions. The success of nations, businesses, and even government organizations is indeed shaped by their cultures.¹

    But what is culture? The concept covers many things. One basic feature...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 169-194)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 195-203)