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Human Intelligence In The Contemporary Era of Irregular Warfare

  • Academic-level:
    Masters
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    Psychology
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Human Intelligence In The Contemporary Era of Irregular Warfare

Abstract

Currently, there is a decrease in emphasis on the collection of intelligence information by the traditional way, as there is difficulty in changing the vector of study of spheres of the country's life by intelligence analysts from the diplomacy of international relations, economic factors, military defense capabilities of the state to study and disclose the terrorist groups involved in religious strife and criminal activity. If we take into account that within the operating environment of irregular warfare the various types of conflicts and threats can simultaneously unfold (e.g. insurgent and terrorist activity), and a lot of internal and external actors can operate in it, the challenges faced by human intelligence and dynamic analysis of its data are becoming increasingly complex. The paper presents the main features and characteristics of human intelligence (HUMIT) in the 21st century.

Introduction

Immediately after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 even the skeptics and skeptical observers have realized that intelligence plays an important role in ensuring the security of each state. However, in the 21st century there is the need for different strategies and tactics in security than, for example, during the Cold War. In those years enemies and threats were clearly defined, the main actors were well known, and the actions were held by the principle of “an eye for an eye” on the international level. And since major changes were not going very quickly, usually there was enough time for analysis and study of all the possible ways of development of the situation. In today's world globalization dominates, which is characterized by lack of time, unreliable databases, complex situations and the presence of “non-state enemies” who are often better equipped and have more accurate information, especially about the situation on the ground, and disoblige rules and laws. Taking into account the multiple complex and controversial new challenges and threats to security, the main issue, in the end, will be the following - whether current thinking and the structure of the intelligence services is too narrow in order to hit the tomorrow target.

It is known that by the means used the following types of intelligence are distinguished: analytical intelligence, human intelligence (HUMINT), imagery intelligence (IMINT), radiofrequency intelligence (SIGINT), electronic intelligence, aerial reconnaissance. Modern technology allows intelligence services around the world to achieve significant success. But the man still remains the most important and valuable resource. A number of serious failures showed that in the “war against terrorism” the intelligence services have no sufficient resources for the collection, processing and analysis of information to track terrorist threats in the international arena; they are too dependent on the technical means of gathering information, paying too little attention to human intelligence[1].

 

General characteristics of modern human intelligence

Irregular warfare certainly will continue to be the most common manifestation of competition in the field of security between countries, regions and individual actors. The strategic objectives in these conditions are to destroy the fighting capacity of the enemy, capture and hold territory, to ensure the political changes in the country - the object of attack, to minimize the interference of the population in the fighting (that is, to prevent the emergence of popular resistance to the aggressor in the form of guerrilla movement)[2]. Irregular war is a war, involving not only the state, but also non-state actors. All these factors significantly change the role and tasks of today human intelligence.

The functions of HUMINT include collection and processing of information by human resources. Human intelligence is the most important source of collecting and providing information, especially after the means of electronic intelligence (SIGINT) largely discredited themselves.

Methods of gathering information have changed in the late 20th century and became more in demand. Receiving images using satellites and the interception of electronic communications is the most obvious proof of this. However, in many new figures, which are not states, there is a lack of large stationary facilities and objects to which power of the technical means of gathering information can be directed[3]. In addition, there are other changes that very complicate and adversely affect the collection of information of specific content, and that intelligence agencies should take into account[4]:

- Technological advances that help intelligence objects to protect their secrets better and to hide their activities, at the same time provided an opportunity for actors and organizations with money to use advanced technologies, providing camouflage, deception and privacy; these technologies have become available on the open market;

- Intelligence efforts should be distributed more evenly over a much larger number of dispersed purposes not often of primary importance. This makes the process of planning and management of the collection of information much harder, requires much more flexibility in gathering information and more precise and continuous control;

- Unexpected attacks occur most often when it is impossible to foresee the unusual combinations of threats. To avoid surprise attacks, intelligence services have to develop a wider network of agents for permanent monitoring of all important countries and topics - not necessarily in order to gather information, but also to “feel the pulse” and identify any changes.

The success of the fight against the enemy in conditions of irregular warfare is extremely dependent on human intelligence, which involves the use of agents to obtain information and, in certain circumstances, on the success of the covert operations.

 

Modern challenges of HUMINT

Human intelligence itself is not expensive, but it requires certain costs to support the powerful ruling groups in a particular country, as well as the costs of the warning of possible opposition to the work of foreign HUMINT. Potential difficulties associated with the disclosure and seizure of the US intelligence men on the territory of another state, and the potential consequences require a separate discussion. Exposing the secret operations conducted abroad may lead to diplomatic problems of the United States with other countries. This problem is particularly significant in the event of such a situation in the countries with which the United States was forming the diplomatic and economic relations for more than one decade[5].

The work of human intelligence to counter terrorism entails requirements for significant changes in the work of theUS intelligence agencies. Terrorist networks cannot be exposed in everyday situations: on pink tea or in the neighborhood of local American businessman. Most often they are involved in criminal activities in the territory of a single US state. Often, the terrorists are from one ethnic or religious group. The activities of terrorist organizations are often accompanied by violations of human rights. Establishing contacts with illegal organizations of this kind is a difficult but necessary task that is put before the US intelligence agencies. This activity requires a long and meticulous preparation and willingness to work in unbearable conditions, interacting with unreliable citizens. In many cases conducting of such operations under the cover of influential political forces or military protection in the United States is not possible. The work of human intelligence requires certain specific in-depth knowledge of the group, to which the “entry” is planned: customs, dialects, typical behavior.

However, the list of groups around the world which may be involved in future terrorist activities of various scale, is constantly increasing. Search and recruitment of agents capable of supplying the United States authorities with necessary and important information about the activities of certain potentially dangerous group, is a complex challenge to the US intelligence community, because in such situations there is a risk of smearing of positive image of the United States on the international political arena when the failure of such operations.

Duyvesteyn and Angstrom fairly write that “The lesson is that if a nation is going to have adequate human intelligence support in a conflict, it needs to build up its human intelligence capabilities long in advance. Unfortunately, at the end of the Cold War the USA largely gutted the human intelligence specialist force. Although the Americans are making progress in rebuilding the human intelligence system, the lack of adequately trained human intelligence specialists remains one of the greatest factors to limit the American employment of force”[6].

Current situation in of the US human intelligence indicates some institutional complexities. In one of the reports of the former CIA officer it was said that “the United States may not have a single qualified Arabic-speaking staff with a good oriental past, which could plausibly play the role of a Muslim fundamentalist fanatic, and who will be called to spend many years of his life in the mountains of Afghanistan”[7].

History shows that the intelligence data of a broad value can be obtained only by means of human intelligence. All outstanding military leaders, whose horizons are not limited to the battlefield but covered the events and circumstances outside of it, used the services of human intelligence. The evolution of human intelligence suggests that it takes increasingly large size and captures the growing field of activity, and hence its value also increases. The last wars, the nature of which (hybrid war) is described above, has shown that, without exaggeration, we can talk about the whole secret invisible armies, and modern tense world situation with its political and economic balance and contradictions, pushing to fight one part of the world community against the other, further confirms this. If open war not yet broke out, there is intense struggle conducted by hidden forces in large scale.

A combination of factors of interaction of human intelligence with the data obtained as a result of joint activities of other intelligence agencies will ensure the continuous development of the US intelligence community over the next few decades, which invariably will affect the US position in the international political arena. Interaction of information and human intelligence is not very costly in terms of budget spending. Despite the complexity and danger of working of agents networks to combat terrorism abroad and in the United States, the cost of creating them is not high; providing of intelligence agencies with the necessary information requites expenses mainly on the technological component. However, the budget allocation between information intelligence and human intelligence still depends on the purpose of a mission or the needs of “intelligence discipline”[8].

 

Frame of human intelligence performance

At the first stage the task of the analyst is to prepare a comprehensive overview, which reflects the history and causes of the conflict; what various private and public documents on key political, socio-economic and other drivers of conflict speaks, what are the key fault lines and other structural characteristics of the conflict[9].

Very important role is played by assessment of military and non-military resources and capacities of stakeholders. Non-military opportunities include, for example, estimations of the size of the group concerned (both in terms of the number of group members, and estimates of the number of people that can be mobilized), political, financial and economic resources and so forth. The assessment of power capacity of stakeholders - military, paramilitary and other methods of violence is a critical part. Evaluation of the power capacity of state actors, in addition to a detailed review of the status and capabilities of the armed forces, should include consideration of the paramilitary (gendarmerie) forces, internal troops and police, border guards and other security forces[10].

Also an assessment of operational capabilities is carried out, such as: doctrine, strategy and tactics, techniques and procedures; manuals and guides; communications, command and control; the possibility of weapons systems available to the actors[11]. Finally, it is important to achieve an understanding of the market and supply chains of weapons armament and military equipment, fighting and other types of support. For the non-state actors parameters such as the number of fighters, organizational and order of battle, combat readiness, discipline, efficiency, corruption, etc. are evaluated[12].

Thus, there is carrying out of description in terms of overlapping and interconnected networks of different scale and scope and the appropriate network analysis. Application of network analysis allows to obtain projections, providing estimations[13]:

- Key leaders and critical relationships between them, as well as sources of power, authority, power and influence of actors, etc.;

- Formal hierarchy, such as political, military, bureaucratic or administrative structure and organization;

- Economic, tribal, religious and sectarian networks;

- Informal networks, such as personal and professional networks, foster relationships or networks of criminal organizations and terrorist networks, etc.;

- Physical and technological networks such as telecommunication networks, command, control, communications and computers, and so forth.

 

Future of Human Intelligence: ways of improvement

To create the most favorable conditions of work of HUMINT in the fight against international terrorism it is necessary to make a number of specific steps aimed at reorganization of human intelligence. First of all, it is necessary to increase the activity of agents in the territory of a foreign state under unofficial cover. This activity is understood that the agents are working in the country for an employer or are business owners, do not officially support cooperation with embassies and consulates of the United States, however, will be useful as a secret intelligence network if necessary.

In such situations intelligence agent must fully devote himself to activities in their local business. Intelligence man in this case there will have no diplomatic immunity, which automatically excludes the possibility of an immediate return to the United States in case of danger. The agent may be subject to arrest, detention, etc. For the intelligence men working in commercial organizations, there is a risk of involvement in illegal activities, which can be a failure of intelligence and discredit the local representation of the United States[14].

Secondly, it is necessary to raise the level of proficiency of foreign languages and local customs by the staff. Only a few of the graduates of American colleges have the necessary knowledge. Recruitment into the ranks of the intelligence communities, which are from the East, ethnically close to members of terrorist groups, may entail the trouble and extra pressure on the new agents due to the possible threat to relatives of the of employee residing in the territory of the country[15].

Third, it should be noted that the process of involving intelligence officers in the US embassies and representative offices in certain countries is complex and costly, especially in countries with complex political situation, such as Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia.

 

Conclusion

Not being a weapon, but making direct impact on the enemy, intelligence, specifically organizing special actions and producing a target date such information that enables commanders in a timely manner to take adequate measures and to effectively apply their strength and resources, could have perhaps a decisive influence on the outcome of the confrontation ( armed or otherwise).

A particularly important role in modern conditions of hybrid warfare, irregular warfare is played by human intelligence. The nature of intelligence activities is changing. In it the role of the military and sabotage operations designed for preventive strikes increases. In the future irregular armies could be even more deadly, if they can get hold of weapons of mass destruction, in particular - the atomic bomb. If this happens, a small terrorist cell of up to platoon can get more powerful means of destruction than the whole army of non-nuclear state. This defines the primary value of human intelligence.

The frame of irregular warfare considered in the paper, can be viewed as such which is providing an analytical protocol for intelligence support of battle in irregular warfare environment, which is used both on the operational and strategic levels of intelligence analysis.

Bibliography

 

Betts Richard K., “Fixing Intelligence”, Foreign Affairs, January/February (2002).

Bobbit Phillip, Terror and Consent: The Wars For the Twenty-First Century (New York: Knopf, 2008).

Cassman Joel F. and Lai David. “American warfare in an era of unconventional threats”, Armed Forces Journal, November (2003): 49-54.

Duke J. Darren, Phillips Rex L. and Conover Christopher J., “Challenges in Coalition Unconventional Warfare”, Joint Forces Quarterly 75, No. 4th Quarter (2014): 129-134.

Duyvesteyn I.and Angstrom J., Modern War and the Utility of Force: Challenges, Methods and Strategy (Routledge, 2010).

Fisher Louis, “Judicial Review of the War Power”, Presidential Studies Quarterly Vol. 35, No. 3 (2005): 466–495.

Kobi Michael, “The Dilemma Behind the Classical Dilemma of Civil Military Relations: The ‘Discourse Space’ Model and the Israeli Case during the Oslo Process”, Armed Forces and Society Vol. 33, No. 4 (2008): 518–522.

Larson Eric V. et al., Understanding Commanders' Information Needs for Influence Operations (MG-656, Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2009).

Lowenthal Mark M., Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy. 5th ed. (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2012).

Margolis Gabriel, “The Lack of HUMINT: A Recurring Intelligence Problem”, Global Security Studies, Spring, Volume 4, Issue 2 (2013).

Maxwell David S., “Do We Really Understand Unconventional Warfare?”, Small Wars Journal October (2014).

McCue Colleen, Data Mining and Predictive Analysis. Intelligence Gathering and Crime Analysis (New York, Elsevier, 2007).

Powers Thomas, Intelligence Wars. American Secret History from Hitler to al-Qaeda (New York, New York Review Books, 2004).

Priest Dana, The Mission: Waging War and Keeping Peace with America's Military (NY: Norton, 2003): 24.

 

 

[1] Bobbit Phillip, Terror and Consent: The Wars For the Twenty-First Century (New York: Knopf, 2008).

[2] Kobi Michael, “The Dilemma Behind the Classical Dilemma of Civil Military Relations: The‘Discourse Space’ Model and the Israeli Case during the Oslo Process”, Armed Forces and Society Vol. 33, No. 4 (2008): 518–522.

[3] Margolis Gabriel, “The Lack of HUMINT: A Recurring Intelligence Problem”, Global Security Studies, Spring, Volume 4, Issue 2 (2013).

[4] McCue Colleen, Data Mining and Predictive Analysis. Intelligence Gathering and Crime Analysis (New York, Elsevier, 2007).

[5] Powers Thomas, Intelligence Wars. American Secret History from Hitler to al-Qaeda (New York, New York Review Books, 2004).

[6] Duke J. Darren, Phillips Rex L. and Conover Christopher J., “Challenges in Coalition Unconventional Warfare”, Joint Forces Quarterly 75, No. 4th Quarter (2014): 129-134.

[7] Bobbit Phillip, Terror and Consent: The Wars For the Twenty-First Century (New York: Knopf, 2008).

[8] Betts Richard K., “Fixing Intelligence”, Foreign Affairs, January/February (2002).

[9] Priest Dana, The Mission: Waging War and Keeping Peace with America's Military (NY: Norton, 2003): 24.

[10] Larson Eric V. et al., Understanding Commanders' Information Needs for Influence Operations (MG-656, Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2009).

[11] Cassman Joel F. and Lai David. “American warfare in an era of unconventional threats”, Armed Forces Journal, November (2003): 49-54.

[12] Fisher Louis, “Judicial Review of the War Power”, Presidential Studies Quarterly Vol. 35, No. 3 (2005): 466–495.

[13] Maxwell David S., “Do We Really Understand Unconventional Warfare?”, Small Wars Journal October (2014).

[14] Lowenthal Mark M., Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy. 5th ed. (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2012).

[15] Bobbit Phillip, Terror and Consent: The Wars For the Twenty-First Century (New York: Knopf, 2008).

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