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Book Review: Strategic Intelligence Management

?Butterworth-Heinemann;; 330 pages; $79.95.

Security professionals who are interested in some light reading that provides straightforward guidance within narrow applications would be well advised not to crack the cover of Strategic Intelligence Management. This seriously impressive collection of works ambitiously examines contemporary threats in a vastly changed and dynamic global environment where communications technology and the rapidly expanding flow of information provide both unprecedented opportunities and risks.�

Forty-four contributing authors, primarily British scholars, present ideas and anecdotes from the viewpoints of security practitioners, law enforcement and policy officials, academia, and private sector experts to provoke thought among those with an interest in national security matters. Editors Babak Akhgar and Simeon Yates, both professors at Sheffield-Hallow University (Yorkshire, England), also contribute to several chapters in the book.

Defining �strategic intelligence� as a set of multifaceted processes to acquire and analyze information for the purpose of formulating a national strategy, the authors elaborate on the complexities of an interconnected world where threats, vulnerabilities and courses of action have�more than ever before�become a shared challenge. Much of the section on national security strategy initially focuses on the American perspective but subsequently leads to an expanded examination of strategy in the United Kingdom, other European countries, and Canada post 9-11. Broadening the scope from a predominant emphasis on counterterrorism to an all-hazards approach through the National Security Risk Assessment (NSRA) process, a formal recognition of the importance to protect networks and cyberspace has emerged, underscoring the need for collaboration and partnering with allies. The explosion of technological advances throughout the world (Internet, mobile communications, cloud computing, Big Data) has created worrisome new targets, but also has provided opportunities for resiliency, redundancy, and an improved ability to recover from damage or compromise. �

Readers may be particularly interested in the book�s coverage of the insider threat, where a review of the literature, contemporary research, and a synopsis of several case studies provide insights into the diverse motivations, characteristics, behaviors, and actions taken by perpetrators who are inside an organization and known to others. Futility of profiling, inherent tendencies of individuals and organizations to trust others in their immediate surroundings, and reluctance to report concerns to authorities have combined to make early detection and intervention an elusive challenge. �

Globalization, port and border security, CBRN threats, and the emergence of asymmetric warfare involving low-tech and unconventional methods of attack are covered through case studies to illustrate theoretical concepts and strategies. Availability of multiple forms of communications, to include the leveraging of social media as a useful tool during crises, is also discussed at length, as is the dichotomy and tension between information sharing and information protection. The book examines the dilemma that exists between technological capabilities to conduct intelligence surveillance and rising concerns over human rights violations and sustainment of reasonable privacy. It is noted that the authors grapple with the same questions government leaders, NGOs, and the public have been trying to address.�

The final chapters are devoted to cybersecurity. They include a significant amount of technical detail and highlight our universal reliance on globally networked IT infrastructures. The authors describe specific types of threats and potential consequences if a determined adversary is successful in exploiting vulnerabilities. Separate chapters are devoted to theoretical models and countermeasures to defeat cybercrime and cyber terrorism. The inescapable conclusion is that any strategy to respond to digital threats must be transnational in nature, and responsibilities for security in a networked world must be shared among nations. �

Strategic Intelligence Management is an important work and should be of interest to public officials, executives in the private sector, and others who have a serious appetite for a broader and deeper understanding of the security challenges we are all facing. It brings together a diverse collection of expert thoughts on a wide array of topics that are extremely relevant to the development and execution of security strategies to address evolving 21st century threats. � �


Reviewer: Richard Weaver is the chief security officer for the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and a member of the ASIS Defense and Intelligence Council. �He retired after 31 years of service with the U.S. Department of Defense as a member of the Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service.�