Fat Steve's Blatherings

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Intelligence is something the U.S. is not serious about.

      A good piece on Strategy Page, here.

      The essence of the article is that the data collected by the intelligence establishment isn't useful or accessible to the people who need it.  While I have no personal experience here, I have no doubt that Dunnigan is correct.

      As problems go, this one is easily fixable.  All that needs doing is for Congress to bring in a bunch of intelligence agency heads, go over every category of information they collect, and ask "Whom is this collected for?  Who is supposed to use this data?"  Then call in random members of the user group, and ask them if they find it useful, and do in fact use it?  When most of them say 'no,' immediately cut the intelligence agencies budgets.  When they protest, announce that the agencies used the money for their own amusement, and the country can't afford it.  Do this annually, till the agencies disappear, or the intelligence establishment consults regularly with users and makes the information available in ways the users find convenient.

      But Congress isn't serious about intelligence either, or much of anything else.  If it were, evaluating the usefulness of programs would be part of its routine.

      Ultimately, we, the public, aren't serious.  If we were, we'd elect a better Congress.



  • Seems reasonable to me. 1 potential snag would be how we should treat the case of grey areas such as a usergroup response of "No, we don't use any of the data covering the nations of Whistlestop, Postagestamp, Ruritania or R'yeh but we might have reason to do so *someday* and we should probably keep those resources in place just in case that someday comes.". I'd suspect a lot of this information is the governmental equivalent of a regular reader's pile of books he keeps meaning to read and never gets around to doing.

    By Blogger Towering Barbarian, at 8:34 AM  

  • Maybe the problem is that we don't have any organizations willing to use the information.

    By Blogger Ralph, at 3:31 PM  

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