OSC (CIA Open Source Center) does not do Open Source Intelligence (OSINT). It does OSIF (Open Source Information) and then compounds that inadequacy by classifying what it does produce. Its outreach, as with outreach across the US national security archipelago, is trivial to the point of being unprofessional. To better understand the persistent inadequacies of the OSC (that also destroyed the perfectly good, even stellar, Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) valued by academics world-wide), see: 2004 Modern History of Public Intelligence and the Opposition.
To understand how the OSC (and NATO) have completely neglected OSINT in favor of OSIF, see this commentary from the father of OSINT for NATO:
A partial excuse for OSC’s incapacity is the internal fractionalism within CIA — the Directorate of Operations (DO), traditionally focused on clandestine human intelligence (HUMINT) and overt debriefings of legal travelers in the USA, refused to let OSC do overt human exploitation that is easily 80% if not more of the total open source information terrain. Beyond that OSC suffers the same culture, history, and language short-falls as any US organization that insists its employees all have secret clearances, and lacking indigenous human access, cannot overcome their myopic perspective.
There are only three people associated with CIA that we consider respectably informed about OSINT as it could be but it not: Joe Markowitz, Carol Dumaine, and Kevin Sheid.
Everything published in the past 20 years on OSINT in CIA’s house journal, Studies in Intelligence is mediocre. For two books that grasp the larger picture and that we strongly recommend, see:
For informed views from over 250 international experts who actually know something about OSINT, see:
Here are some of the OSINT overviews we consider useful:
2008 Open Source Intelligence (Strategic) 2.0 [Full Text Online]
The best historical interview with Robert Steele about OSINT:
The latest interviews with Robert Steele about OSINT:
Here is the latest OSINT Search summary at Phi Beta Iota:
Beyond OSINT — OSE/M4IS2
The pioneers — inspired in part by Col Jan-Inge Svensson, Land Forces SE (Ret) as well as by the rapid emergence of so many other opens that are now converging — are now far beyond OSINT, and neither the CIA OSC or any other element of the US Government is going to catch up anytime soon, between the sequester, the mind-block, and the general lack of intelligence with integrity in government — public intelligence (truth) that can be shared is the worst nightmare for those who thrive on corruption, and the real reason OSINT has been so effectively marginalized in the US system. If and when we have a restored Constitutional democracy in the USA, below is what we should be building to do Whole of Government and Whole Earth ethical evidence-based decision-support:
The action today is in OSC (technical) and M4IS2 (human). The potential pioneering organizations are the EU, NATO/PfP/MD, White SOF, the BRICS, and the three major regional associations (AF, CELAC, and the Asian RCEP). The UN is in grid-lock and cannot even staff paper to the Secretary General, who is kept persistently uninformed.
For the big picture on the future of intelligence as it evolves away from secret government and illegal corporate endeavors, see:
AU: African Union
BRICS: Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa
CELAC: Community of Latin American and Caribbean Nations
EU: European Union
M4IS2: Multinational, Multiagency, Multinational, Multidomain Information-Sharing & Sense-Making
MD: Mediterranean Dialog (North Africa)
NATO: North Atlantic Treaty Organization
PfP: Partnership for Peace (Eastern Europe)
RCEP: Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (Asia)
SOF: Special Operations Forces
UN: United Nations