Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Research Report


Klaus Becher
Bernard Molard
Frédéric Oberson
Alessandro Politi
Edited by Alessandro Politi
Copyright Date: Dec. 1, 1998
Pages: 49
  • Cite this Item

Table of Contents

  1. (pp. None)
    Alessandro Politi

    Intelligence has acquired considerably more importance than it had during the Cold War. Whereas before it was needed to maintain the balance of terror, prevent a war in Europe and spot sources of possible politico-military confrontation in the Third World, its tasks now are much wider and more varied, since it helps politicians to steer their national course towards a new world order, new power constellations and economic developments, while avoiding new and old risks.

    Now that the ‘information revolution’ concept has gained wide acceptance, intelligence has the critical task of providing an authoritative contribution to the debate on information...

  2. (pp. None)
    Alessandro Politi

    In peacetime, in any given country, half of the problems of intelligence collection plans start with the definition of a policy agreed by the government. Meetings are of course held, and documents drafted and discussed, but the final result may be somewhat disappointing. Typically, a number of very general goals in a no less generic strategic framework will be set for the coming year, without necessarily setting any real priorities. The rest is left to the ingenuity of the intelligence agencies and the dictates of the next crisis. More concretely, the directors of the different agencies, the related committees and...

  3. (pp. None)
    Frédéric Oberson

    When one has to take a decision that may be a matter of life and death, it is essential to be well informed, that is to say to inquire, to spy if necessary. Thus, whoever the person empowered to take decisions, logic demands that a competent intelligence service should help in the decision-making. Since its creation a half century ago, WEU has hardly distinguished itself by its ability to take decisions rapidly, and the European countries have still not come to an agreement on foreign policy issues. Leaving aside that debate, this chapter will limit itself to a presentation of...

  4. (pp. None)
    Bernard Molard

    In May 1991 the international coalition had just successfully concluded Operation DESERT STORM. At the same moment, WEU ministers meeting in Vianden, Luxembourg, were deciding to set up the Torrejon Satellite Centre. In so doing, they were demonstrating their intent to give the organization an independent ability to assess the international situation. The ministerial decision sanctioned one of the lessons newly drawn from that conflict which heralded new types of risk: the use of space is now inescapable in crisis management. The decision took into account the WEU Assembly’s recommendations on the strategic value of space-based observation, as well as...

  5. (pp. None)
    Klaus Becher

    When asked about the prospects of European intelligence cooperation, or even a common intelligence policy within WEU and EU, most experts will express their conviction that not much is going to happen in this field anyway. So why should one think about it? This paper, while sharing the position that intelligence essentially pertains, and will continue to pertain, to the national level of responsibilities, sets out to describe a line of reasoning which is likely to lead national governments, and increasingly also intelligence agencies themselves, towards a significantly higher level of European integration, at least in certain aspects of intelligence....