The Importance Of Studies In Intelligence And Need For Partnership With Intelligence SchoolsThe Importance Of Studies In Intelligence And Need For Partnership With Intelligence Schools

The House Intelligence Committee recently held a hearing on why the Intelligence Community was not able to provide more accurate and timely information on the political situation in Egypt. The Intelligence Community provided over 400 reports which documented instability within this region yet at least to the American public, it appears that the Intelligence Community was caught off guard when President Mubarak actually stepped down from power. Committee members did correctly note that intelligence professionals cannot predict the future, but the magnitude of these events suggests that intelligence analysts must utilize all tools and information at their disposal to truly focus on threat assessments. For this reason, one could suggest that new analysts and even seasoned veterans should continue their education and studies in intelligence through in house intelligence schools or other institutions which provide intelligence training. This essay provides background on the recent intelligence shortcomings and then provides rationale for the importance of continued studies in intelligence and the development of strong intelligence schools.

During this recent hearing, Director of Central Intelligence Leon Panetta mentioned that many triggers can lead to regional instability and eventual upheaval, including high unemployment among jobless yet well-educated youth, regressive regimes, and economic instability among other triggers. James Clapper, U.S. director of national intelligence, noted that "specific triggers for how and when instability would lead to the collapse of various regimes cannot always be known or predicted. What intelligence can do in most cases is reduce the uncertainty for decision makers, but not necessarily eliminate it." Panetta also noted that perhaps the loyalty of the military is a new factor which U.S. intelligence agencies need to consider. The point of this hearing was not necessarily to criticize the Intelligence Community as a whole but rather serves as an example of why analysts must be constantly challenged and trained to be forward-thinking, so that they can look ahead to possible factors which might lead to regional instability rather than simply relying upon "tried and true" factors.

For this reason, the Intelligence Community members must continue to focus on employing individuals with in depth training and focused studies in intelligence as well as beefing up their own in house intelligence schools and courses either through developing their own program or partnering with institutions that provide intelligence degrees. Intelligence analysts require a number of skills and abilities, including mental acuity, knowledge of complex subject matter, whether regional or thematic, as well as keen perception and observation skills. Studies in intelligence provide new analysts as well as seasoned veterans with the analytical and problem-solving skills to look for new ways to analyze situations and make decisions. Intelligence schools teach analysts how to examine and sort relevant information, how to establish its validity and credibility, and what information could be most valuable and relevant to a particular situation.

While it is impossible to predict with 100% accuracy what could have truly triggered the collapse of the Mubarak regime in Egypt, members of the Intelligence Community must continue to refine their analytical tools. By focusing on providing strong studies in intelligence programs, as well as through partnering with organizations such as non-governmental intelligence schools, the Intelligence Community as a whole will be better prepared to predict future regional instability and provide policy makers with valuable intelligence.
by Daniel Sommer
References and Bibliography
Dan Sommer works for Henley-Putnam University, a leading educational institution in the field of Strategic Security. For more info on Henley-Putnam University, studies in intelligence, intelligence school, call 888-852-8746 or visit us online at
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