2012 Robert Steele: Addressing the Seven Sins of Foreign Policy — Why Defense, Not State, Is the Linch Pin for Global Engagement
Short Persistent URL: http://tinyurl.com/Kerry-Flournoy
I wrote this with John Kerry and Michele Flourney in mind, but regardless of who is eventually made Secretary of Defense, the core concept remains: the center of gravity for massive change in the US Government and in the nature of how the US Government ineracts with the rest of the world, lies within the Department of Defense, not the Department of State.
John Kerry, Global Engagement, and National Integrity
It troubles me that John Kerry is resisting going to Defense when he can do a thousand times more good there instead of sitting at State being, as Madeline Albright so famously put it, a “gerbil on a wheel.” Defense is the center of gravity for the second Obama Administration, and the one place where John Kerry can truly make a difference. Appoint Michele Flournoy as Deputy and his obvious replacement down the road, and you have an almost instant substantive make-over of Defense. Regardless of who ends up being confirmed, what follows is a gameplan for moving DoD away from decades of doing the wrong things righter, and toward a future of doing the right things affordably, scalably, and admirably.
ROBERT STEELE: The IC, DoD, and oversight agencies such as OMB and GAO have not sought to audit government spending on OSINT and probably could not do so effectively with the combination of ignorance on the part of the auditors and recalcitrance on the part of those who should be audited. The closest anyone came to setting the stage for this was in 2000 when Sean O’Keefe, DD/OMB, established code M320 to tag all spending by the US Government on contractor provision of Open Source Intelligence (OSINT). When O’Keffe moved to NASA, the impetus for getting OSINT right died. More recently, Joe Markowitz and Robert Steele met with senior civil servants at OMB and got a second approval for the Open Source Agency (OSA) contingent on a Cabinet secretary asking for it. There was universal agreement the OSA should not be under secret community management but rather under diplomatic and/or commercial agency auspices. Joe Markowitz and Robert Steele continue to favor Markowitz’s original idea, that the OSA be a sister-agency to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). It would of course provide near-real-time feed of all OSINT to the high side, the secret side, but all OSINT would remain outside the wire for liberal sharing with any other actor US or foreign.
What is known is that DoD treats OSINT as a technical processing challenge (this is ineffective since 80% or more of OSINT is not published, not digital, and not online); that ABLE DANGER was a very expensive program that included both digital OSINT and the digitization of visa application; that Document Exploitation (DOCEX) has received a great deal of investment within DIA, to the point that seriously silly claims have been made to justify new SES/DISL positions, e.g. that DOCEX is its “own” discipline. The two largest contracts in OSINT, both hosed by the client with the contractors going along, are the L-3 provision of OSINT technical and subject matter support to the CIA’s Open Source Center (the latter is NOT, by any stretch of the imagination, a national capability, just an over-hyped internal capability whose budget has been cut in half since the conversation from being the Foreign Broadcast Information Service) and the SOS International contract with USSTRATCOM to provide butts in seats that pretend to do IO/online OSINT monitoring (more idiocy).
Over-all, including classified projects, including DARPA and IARPA and hidden relationships with Google, Facebook, and Twitter, among others, and including non-secret non-national security element spending on open sources and what pass for methods, is no less than one billion a year, probably around three billion a year, and when counting all the buried pieces (e.g. contractors doing Mission X and creating their own OSINT support that is still not available for the CIA OSC), perhaps as much as five billion a year. All out of control, lacking any combination of intelligence and integrity, as much if not more of a waste than the $80 billion plus spent on technical collection that is not processed, with little regard for human intelligence and advanced analytics, all to provide “at best” 4% of what the President or a major commander requires to make good decisions.
I have begun drafting my portion of the new Handbook of Intelligence Studies (Routledge, 2013), it is a chapter early on entitled “The Craft of Intelligence.” I pick up where Allen Dulles and Sherman Kent left off. My graphic on Intelligence Maturity captures the essence of my thinking at the strategic level, but of course there is more to come, including the desperate need to restore integrity to all that we do.
In 1988 I ghost-wrote for the Commandant of the Marine Corps an article that he enhanced and signed, “Global Intelligence Challenges in the 1990’s.” At that time my focus was on the difference between the conventional threat and the emerging unconventional threat.
Now my focus is on the purpose and process of intelligence as decision-support. We must — we will — move from secret intelligence for the few to open intelligence for the many; from expensive centralized largely worthless intelligence to free and low-cost distributed intelligence relevant to every person at every level on every issue; from intelligence as window-dressing for channeling $80 billion a year to banks and corporations, to intelligence as an integral element of every aspect of a Smart Nation.
Today Owl sent me a link to an article, Philip E. Tetlock and Barabara A Mellers, “Intelligent Management of Intelligence Agencies,” American Psychologist, 2011, pp. 1-12. I respect Owl, so I printed it and read it twice.
This article is completely out of touch with reality and the authors have not bothered to familiarize themselves with the literatures pertinent to their endeavor. Out of 89 cited sources 12 are non-intelligence-related prior publications of the lead author, 1 is a prior publication of the second author, and 11 are ostensibly about intelligence but truly marginal selections. So 12% sources on the subject, 13% self-citation, and 75% escoteric psycho-babble irrelevant to the actual challenge. As an intelligence professional, I am offended that two ostensibly erudite individuals would dare to publish this trype without even a semblance of understanding of the subject under discussion.
Here are a few comments and additional links: