Book Review: Intelligence and the State: Analysts and Decision Makers
Intelligence and the State: Analysts and Decision Makers. By Jonathan M. House. U.S. Naval Institute Press; https://www.usni.org/; 248 pages; $40.
The world of intelligence generally focuses on state-related events, with intelligence professionals responsible for gathering evidence and presenting this to policymakers in a constructive manner meant to evoke an appropriate response. Intelligence and the State: Analysts and Decision Makers utilizes a historical approach to analyze and emphasize the good and the ugly of intelligence work.
In this work, author Jonathan M. House makes use of the U.S. intelligence bureaucracy as a sounding board. He examines the development of the emerging profession of military and security intelligence, as well as their relationships to political customers managing states (state here means nations). The author does an amazing job of explaining this complex topic in an easy-to-understand and organized way.
This book discusses intelligence analysts who process and try to make sense of intelligence for decision makers to act on at the highest levels of the government. The overwhelming strength of this work is how House presents ordinary terms without skirting the issues.
Intelligence and the State is an unparalleled assessment of the current state of national intelligence. The author is a career intelligence professional who has worked within the community at various levels.
The knowledge that the author shares with the reader is quite impressive and much appreciated. It’s a great read on the current state of affairs relating to U.S. intelligence, identification of past and current problems, and suggestions for improvement. House is an outstanding intelligence source writer, and Intelligence and the State is a superb reference for those current analysts and collection managers or students of intelligence.
Overall, the book achieves its purpose of showing the huge gap in understanding about what intelligence as a profession brings to the table. This text should be a very good lesson for security professionals with a threat intelligence group to learn—analysts are not invested in a particular policy, nor do they need be loyal to the boss when presenting their analysis. Finally, this complex topic is presented in clear, concise language and an extensive set of resources are provided in full support of the text.
Reviewer: Dr. Mark H. Beaudry, CPP, is an assistant professor at Worcester State University in the Department of Criminal Justice. He is a USMC (ret.) intelligence chief and anti-terrorism instructor. He is a member of the 2023-2024 ASIS Professional Standards Board and a frequent contributor to Security Management, book reviews, the Protection of Assets manuals, and many guidelines and standards. He has written four books and contributed chapters for 16 books. Beaudry also serves as an advisor for publishers to review book proposals and revisions, and peer review journals: Journal of Applied Security Research, Security Journal, and the International Journal of Cybersecurity Intelligence and Cybercrime. Beaudry is also co-chair for Cyber Career Pathways working group of NICE (National Initiative for Cyber Education).