SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS Process improvement efforts have had limited success within the intelligence service. Many people attribute this failure to cultural resistance — the belief that government bureaucracies insulate themselves from the consequences of poor management. Certainly, the Intelligence Community is susceptible to this charge: it restricts information flow with stringent security compartmentation, lacks pressure from stockholders and competition, and fails to provide meaningful incentives for conscientious resource management. In addition, intelligence products are not commodities that can be objectively weighed and measured for quality or value. Many managers of intelligence activities consider the judgment of quality is simply beyond their control, having learned to accept that there will be as many measures of quality as there are customers. The goal of this paper has been to demonstrate that it is possible to define an unambiguous, logical model for intelligence provision, and that such a model, or doctrine, would sharpen our focus on what our customers value. Our customers’ values must be our values; doctrine built on these values provides the basis of principled leadership and service. The systematic value-based focus, with the help of a simple process-to-principle framework, should help us identify and overcome specific preventable weaknesses in intelligence support. The illustrative performance standards identified in this paper encompass the vast breadth of activities needed to conduct an intelligence support service. The benefits of a doctrinal framework for performance standards would be magnified greatly if intelligence providers tailor the standards in the framework to the responsibilities and goals of their own offices. In this manner, doctrine becomes a managerial tool relevant for day-to-day use and a systematic path for process improvement initiatives. 76
OPENING WINDOWS OF OPPORTUNITY: THE NEED FOR OPPORTUNITY-BASED WARNING Stewart C. Eales (Originally published in Jan Goldman’s compiled JMIC Occasional Paper Number Eight, Dangerous Assumption: Preparing the U.S. Intelligence Warning System for the New Millennium June 2000.) The young woman gazed attentively across the table at the old lady hovering over a crystal ball. The elderly gypsy looked up slowly and in a hushed, mysterious, tone said, you will meet a tall, dark stranger who will change your life. The young woman, a member of the U.S. warning community, instantly perceived a potential threat and decided she would purchase a gun. 77 —Anonymous DoD employee The U.S. strategic warning community concentrates its efforts entirely on threat-based warnings, and ignores the more positive form of the process: opportunity-based warning. Living with the legacy of Pearl Harbor, the community dedicates extensive collection and analytical resources to the identification of potential enemies who demonstrate the capability and intent to harm American citizens or interests. This tendency to focus entirely on the dangers of the world warps the way in which warning analysts evaluate the future. Their preconception with the U.S. as a victim shapes their warnings to evoke a deterrent response, thus condemning decisionmakers to a reactive policymaking process. The consequences of this mentality are manifest in the likely reaction of the woman in the story to any encounter with a tall, dark man. Because she is primed by her perceptions to see only the potential threat, and fails to recognize an opportunity which may change her life for the better, she will probably greet the man with a gun in her hand. If the U.S. warning community is to remain relevant in a rapidly changing world it must pursue a more balanced approach to warning analysis, expanding its efforts to include responsible strategic warning of opportunity. Warning, as it is employed today, is a negatively oriented process practiced within a system populated by cynics. It is defined as “a process of communicating judgments about threats to U.S. security or policy interests to decisionmakers.” 107 The objectives of the warning process, as implied by this definition, are (1) to prevent strategic surprise and (2) to insure timely, accurate action by decisionmakers which facilitates the “deterrence, avoidance, or containment of harm.” 108 A review of the terminology used in these and other professional commentaries on the subject — words like “threat,” “danger,” “harm,” 107 Mary McCarthy, “The National Warning System: Striving for an Elusive Goal,” Defense Intelligence Journal 3, no. 1 (Spring1994): 5. 108 John F. McCreary, “Warning Cycles,” Studies in Intelligence 27, no. 3 (Fall 1983): 7.