Intelligence reform is something I have been working on since at least 1988.
Security sector reform and advancement begins in the mind. In the 21st Century, raw information and tailored intelligence (decision support) are fundamental to progress at the strategic, operational, tactical, and technical levels.
If we are to properly address intelligence governance from a comparative and international perspective rooted in an appreciation for the rule of law – appreciating the purpose and obligations of government, intelligence, and the law, we must begin with definitions.
What is intelligence? Is it anything that is secret and controlled by the government? Or is it decision-support? What is the purpose of intelligence? Is it to nurture a military-industrial complex that thrives on war while eliminating all prospects for peace? Or is it to nurture smart nations and a world brain network that create a prosperous world at peace?
What is governance? Is it a nominally-elected government controlled by banks and serving the 1%? Or is it an open, engaged, and informed hybrid network that harvests the best available knowledge from all sector, applied in the public interest, on behalf of the 99%?
What is the threat? Is it a fictional panorama whose primary purpose is to cow society into acquiescence in the face of persistent social atrocities? Or is it, as the UN High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change has defined, ten very specific threats, the top three of which are poverty, infectious disease, and environmental degradation?
What is the legal mandate, and the organizational design? Is this really to be the right to lie to the court, as the Department of Justice has claimed, and the right to keep secret multi-level atrocities including rendition, torture, and a drone assassination program with a 2% success rate? Or is it to assemble the best truths in support of political deliberations striving to meet the needs of the greatest number? Is it a top-down mass surveillance network, or a bottom-up community-based collective intelligence network?
What are the safeguards? Are we to rely on a tiny elite who benefit financially from the intelligence-industrial complex or should all elements of the national intelligence program be subject to audit and persistent scrutiny? What individual, organizational, and national rights are to be upheld in the face of technical advance and moral retardation? Is the CIA to be allowed to wage acts of war with armed drones, and not held accountable? Are corporations to be held blameless for collaborating with a state and violating all expectations of their customers?
In conclusion, we must ask: have the home country intelligence agencies and the US intelligence agencies corrupting them with off-budget funding both reached their pinnacle of inefficiency replete with atrocities unencumbered by law? Has the time come for the public to demand not only a recasting of national intelligence, but of governance itself?
Below are two links. The first is my general statement with a list and links to my works on on this topic. The second is an intergrated list of selected works on the topic in the past decade.
The mistake most make is in assuming that intelligence reform pertains to the secret world only, and particularly to the especially disgraceful behavior of NSA (mass surveillance combined with financial and political subversion of European intelligence agencies) and CIA (rendition, torture, and assassination by drone). I address seven false premises in my article, Steele, Robert. Rethinking Intelligence — Seven False Premises Blocking Intelligence Reform (Reality Sandwich).
With best wishes,