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24 April 2013


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Colonel, if one were serious about remedying these kinds of flaws in the structure and behavior of our intelligence/security apparatus, what would you suggest as steps in a reform strategy. Where do you begin - appointemnts, necessary new legal mandates?, organization, stipulation of aims & purposes, administrative rules of the road, problem-solving with specific references.

The Twisted Genius

The measurement of effective clan HUMINT always seemed to come down to numbers. First it was the number of intelligence reports produced. Then it was the number of reports evaluated as high value or of major significance. Then it was the number of recruited assets than can be written up in the most sexy, over inflated manner. This was more in line with the CIA's number of scalps collected. All this was overshadowed by a general reluctance to embark on any operation where the payoff wasn't immediate or near term. Everyone seems to recognize the problem, but the will to change the reliance on "metrics" is lacking. I wonder if recruiting more case officers from Special Forces would change this?



It is not a question of structure or legal authorities. The aftermath of the community re-structuring that created the DNI is just fine. The problem is that the IC is generally led by bureaucratic politicians rather than by creative inelligence offciers. see my article Artists and Bureaucrats (or the reverse). pl

The Twisted Genius

There seems to have always been an over reliance on number to measure the effectiveness of clandestine HUMINT. First it was the the number of intelligence reports produced. Then it was how many of these reports were evaluated to be of high value or major significance. That was a little better until it was just a matter of finding a willing analyst. Then it was the number of recruited sources that can be written up in the most sexy and overinflated manner. That was similar to CIA's scalp count. The trick is to move the measure of effectiveness away from immediate metrics to something that accepts delayed gratification as well as the acceptance of the risk and hard work in going after the hard stuff. I wonder if recruiting potential case officers from the Special Forces community would help?


If that numerical nonesense metric was (is) actually the way the CIA analytical side judged effectiveness, then we are in worse shape than I could have imagined. The same is happening at universities. Here in Texas, as well as other places, the Regents seemingly want to do something similar: how effective is a professor or a department? Measure how many majors get jobs within a certain period of graduation - and at what pay. Yes, this is the truth.

Frankly, insanity of this type defies reasoned explanations. A potent virus of the encephalitis variety seems more likely.

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