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Introduction to Intelligence Studies

Introduction to Intelligence Studies. By Carl J. Jen­sen, David H. McElreath, and Melissa Graves. CRC Press;; 374 pages; $79.95; also available as e-book.

While no single definition of intelligence exists, its common purpose is to collect information that can be analyzed to make decisions that impact national security. Introduction to Intelligence Studies has been written for the student who has an interest in gaining a basic understanding of the way intelligence delivers a decision advantage in a rapidly evolving world.

The authors, all proven educators on national security issues, have effectively delivered on their objective to blend classroom and intelligence community together to provide experience in a text for the undergraduate student.

The book’s material is well organized, providing a balanced treatment of various functions in the intelligence world including collection, analysis, counterintelligence, covert operations, and information management. Of specific value and interest to the reader are various case studies provided throughout the text. Far more than simply defining terms or issues, these relevant and timely examples further unpack the complexity of intelligence. In addition, key terms are identified at the end of each chapter along with discussion questions. The layout is easy to read and understand, making for a solid platform for undergraduate instruction on this subject.

The text provides an extensive discussion of the historical and legal foundations of the intelligence community in the United States. An overview of the executive, legislative, and judicial roles demonstrates the government’s leadership in making decisions that affect the country’s security. In a post 9-11 world, participants in the national security arena have expanded their influence through increased involvement across federal, state, and local agencies. The book explores the different aspects of this expansion relative to infrastructure protection and response. As an example, the authors provide an in-depth discussion of criminal intelligence and crime analysis as it relates to local law enforcement—the real eyes and ears of intelligence gathering on the domestic front. The final two chapters of the book explore several current issues of importance, including cybersecurity, intellectual property theft, weap­ons trafficking, and domestic terrorism.

Threats and challenges to national security emerge and evolve daily requiring a response that is collaborative, agile, and forward thinking. The authors state in their concluding chapter, “the history being written today is creating intelligence for the world tomorrow.” Introduction to Intelligence Studies provides the student a clear understanding of the complexity of intelligence gathering and analysis.

Reviewer: Deborah Russell Collins, executive vice president of the National Security Training Institute (NSTI), is a member of the ASIS International Defense and Intelligence Council.