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Intelligence for the Twenty-First Century

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The transformation of intelligence architectures, particularly in the West, is no less profound than that of the weapons, platforms, warfighting systems and governments they are designed to support and inform. Moreover, the cumulative weight of the changes in prospect will redefine the way in which intelligence is used and conceived. The old demarcation lines between strategic and operational intelligence and between operations and intelligence, once starkly differentiated will blur. Decision-makers will have better access to intelligence as a result of advances in 'pull' technology which have made possible intelligence on demand while open source intelligence will enrich and add value to national intelligence databases.

Although information will become more plentiful and less of a privileged source in the global information environment of the twenty-first century, paradoxically the demand for timely, high quality strategic and operational intelligence will intensify rather than diminish. What will distinguish the successful practitioners of twenty-first century intelligence is the ability to fuse and integrate all elements of the process to provide seamless support for policy-makers and operational commanders. However, despite impressive advances in integration, technical collection and communications no intelligence system, no matter how efficacious, will ever be able to completely dispel the fog of war.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2003

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