The Importance Of Intelligence StudiesThe Importance Of Intelligence Studies

Intelligence support can be a valuable tool to assist law enforcement agencies in the performance of their daily duties. It's especially relevant in counterterrorism investigations and operations. To effectively support leaders and decision makers, security professionals need to be well-versed in intelligence studies. There are numerous masters in intelligence studies programs that offer both classroom and online education programs geared toward analysts and those who collect and disseminate all types of intelligence.

Why are Studies in Intelligence Important?
Intelligence work is a discipline in and of itself, just like police work, and carries its own language, rules, and culture. Intelligence encompasses a broad range of disciplines and jobs including those that work in national security, law enforcement, and corporate security to name a few. State and local governments also have needs for certain types of intelligence. Those in academia research and teach fundamental courses in intelligence studies. Studies in intelligence are undertaken by think-tanks to support the views of special interests and to influence policymakers. Whether protecting American citizens and our way of life or preventing a corporate competitor from stealing secrets, intelligence plays a pivotal role across the public and private sectors.

The Intelligence Collection Cycle
Masters in intelligence studies programs provide students and practitioners with an understanding that intelligence is a process that is designed to support a person or organization. Intelligence provides assistance to decision makers, planners, operators and sometimes other intelligence organizations. Intelligence is useless if it's inaccurate, or if it is presented in an unusable format when needed. It's imperative that intelligence professionals have a clear understanding of the tasking being levied. Tasking is the first step in the intelligence cycle.

•Tasking: The tasking should originate with the person or organization being supported. The more involved the customer gets in tasking, and the more detailed that tasking is, the better the final product becomes. This tasking is referred to as a requirement, and it drives the rest of the collection cycle.

•Collection: This is the actual gathering of raw information. It can take the form of imagery, a communications signal intercept, or a report from a person.

•Processing: This is the stage where raw data is converted to a useable format. Documents may be translated, human generated reports are formatted and source information added, and other inputs are converted to customer specifications.

•Exploitation: Intelligence analysts analyze incoming information to determine its significance. The final product is created according to the customer's requirement at this stage.

•Dissemination: The finished intelligence product is delivered according to the customer's requirement.

Fortunately, you don't need to be an expert on the capabilities of each intelligence discipline. In national security, the intelligence process is overseen by a collection manager (CM) who is an intelligence professional usually experienced in a single intelligence discipline that helps the customer craft their requirement. The CM then determines the most effective intelligence discipline to satisfy the requirement, prioritizes it against other requirements, and tasks an intelligence resource to achieve the collection. A CM follows the requirement through the collection cycle, acting as an advocate for the customer.

Intelligence, Terrorism, and Law Enforcement
Intelligence support can be a valuable tool to assist law enforcement agencies in the performance of their daily duties. It's especially relevant in counter-terrorism investigations and operations. Terrorist organizations rely heavily on secrecy and anonymity to carry out their religious and politically driven agendas, and intelligence gathering and exploitation is best suited to stripping away this critical layer of protection and making them more vulnerable to infiltration, investigation and arrest.

As terrorism continues to plague the world through the global Salafi jihad movement, the United States will forever serve as a critical target for various organizations who seek to spread "pure" Islam. Through patience and vigilance, our enemies continue to further their cause through the understanding of our society. Thus, it becomes imperative we do the same. It is imperative we continue to learn about those who choose to attack our freedoms and way of life, and our law enforcement agencies will have to take the lead in this ongoing war. Indeed, the law enforcement community must develop transparent communication and intelligence links.

While the days of fighting conventional crime are still at the forefront, our modern foes have defiantly presented us with a challenge that must be met with extreme prejudice if we are to successfully protect our nation and its citizens. The collection of intelligence will prove invaluable in this success, but we must learn to properly use this important tool at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels and it starts with training and utilizing every facet of our law enforcement agencies as they continue to patrol and protect our neighborhoods.
by Henley Putnam University
References and Bibliography
Henley-Putnam University is a leading educational institution in the field of Strategic Security. For more info on Henley-Putnam University, intelligence studies, studies in intelligence, or masters in intelligence studies, call 888-852-8746 or visit us online at
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