learning with professionals - Higgins Counterterrorism Research ...


learning with professionals - Higgins Counterterrorism Research ...

eliminate a threat or exploit an opportunity. Its ability to serve both warning functions is

what makes it an essential component of battlespace dominance, enabling the field commander

to seize the initiative, manage the action, and retain the advantage in a conflict.

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are using a different approach to balanced

warning analysis to determine where their efforts can be most productive. This is particularly

useful in any region where there is, or may soon be, a serious conflict. Beyond measuring

the cost of operations and threat to staff in the field, an NGO must measure the

opportunities which a conflict may afford. As Hugo Slim, Director of the Complex Emergencies

Program at Oxford Brookes University, observed:

There may not be many, but the ones there are may surprise NGOs and give

them a useful starting point for an emergency programme. For example, some

conflicts create new levels of purpose and social cohesion in particular

groups. Conflict can bring people together as well as divide them, accelerating

certain social and economic activities by mobilizing society in a common

cause. Such impetus can be good for relief and development programming. 121

Such a process can be good for American interests as well. A warning system which

anticipates the potentially positive elements in a conflict will make it easier for leaders to

focus military and diplomatic efforts to influence that conflict. Such an effort could isolate

the conflict or, at least, focus it in such a way as to eventually build a stronger society and

increase long-term stability. Attempting to apply processes like IPB or the NGO model at

the strategic level would be much more complex given the wider range of variables and

broader field of engagement in the national policy arena. It would involve the construction

of very detailed scenarios using extensive intelligence from a variety of databases. The

challenge associated with this type of effort goes beyond the conceptual transition from

threat-based to opportunity-based warning. It involves a fundamental change in the structure

of the warning system.

The current warning system is dedicated to defending political and military interests.

Even if it was already capable of producing opportunity-based warning it would only do

so for a narrow field of expertise. Because there is great flexibility in the way any opportunity

can be approached, there is a corresponding requirement for a broader array of specialized

intelligence to support such a decision. Unfortunately, many elements of national

policy (economics, the environment, and domestic interests) are not addressed by the current


An expanded network of warning specialists with technical expertise in areas such as

trade, finance, economics, the environment, and education will have to be developed.

These technical warning professionals would represent their respective agencies and

departments in an expanded National Intelligence Warning System. Once in place, this

121 Hugo Slim, “Planning Between Danger and Opportunity: NGO Situation Analysis in Conflict Related

Emergencies,” training presentations given at two NGO seminars in March and November 1995, posted on the

Internet 2 May 1996, URL: , accessed 27 February 1997.


More magazines by this user
Similar magazines