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 "...Careers in Strategic Intelligence" 
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Post "...Careers in Strategic Intelligence"
Career Spotlight: Intelligence Careers in Strategic Intelligence
by: Dan Sommer

An individual's intelligence career can take many different paths as the intelligence cycle includes numerous types of collection and forms of intelligence products. One can focus his or her career in open source intelligence (OSINT), signals intelligence (SIGINT), human intelligence (HUMINT), measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT), and imagery analysis (IMINT) among other areas. Furthermore, the industry as a whole can be broken down into a number of disciplines, including long-term or strategic intelligence, operational intelligence, and tactical or current intelligence. Each of these disciplines utilizes all types of intelligence gathering to draw conclusions and observations about threats to the U.S. In this essay, I'd like to draw attention to one discipline for those interested in intelligence careers - strategic intelligence and what type of skills are necessary to create effective strategic intelligence.

What is strategic intelligence?

Strategic intelligence is generally related to national-level policy and security concerns and is carried out in concert by one of the members of the Intelligence Community. Strategic intelligence encompasses a wide-spectrum of intelligence related activities including intelligence analysis, collection, and counterintelligence. The Pentagon defines strategic intelligence as "intelligence that is required for the formulation of strategy, policy, and military plans and operations at national and theater levels." Others define strategic intelligence as the intelligence required to establish and initiate a grand or "national" strategy. A grand plan or strategy, however, is really the logic behind a plan and not necessarily the detailed plan itself. A grand strategy thus relies upon and is informed by the synthesis of insight and analysis of "deep" experts in a wide variety of specific fields.

Purpose of Strategic Intelligence

Much of today's intelligence is tactical and thus only loosely tied to a master national strategy. The current security environment of the United States, however, requires forward thinking strategic intelligence. Strategic intelligence entails the synthesis of in-depth expertise in a wide variety of areas including foreign governments and non-state actors (such as terrorist groups) so that policy-makers can have an accurate picture of the strategic environment and thus make knowledgeable and effective policy choices. The CIA and other intelligence agencies do provide deep research in specific areas. Specific analysts in these organizations focus their intelligence careers on providing detailed research and assessments on issues ranging from mineral and energy resources to weapons of mass destruction and remote tribal demographics. The analysts that compile and process these reports have honed their analytical skills in order to be able to provide comprehensive overviews of what many construe to be disparate events in order to provide a meaningful analysis of the current security situation. Accordingly, national intelligence professionals must learn how to effectively manage teams of intelligence analysts and collectors from different disciplines and across agencies. Higher-level strategic intelligence professionals must also be able to understand and apply issues of policy, reform, and intelligence ethics not only within their immediate area of responsibility, but also community-wide and internationally as well.


Giving the present day global situation that includes a combination of state and non-state actor threats, it is all the more important to have educated, capable analysts who focus their intelligence careers on conducting strategic intelligence and contributing to a grander strategic plan in combating these threats. Policymakers need to have a deep and solid understanding of a multitude of areas as security concerns pervade many subject areas. Intelligence agencies must therefore employ subject matter experts in a multitude of areas, as well as analysts who are able to pull together all of this intelligence and research into a detailed briefing which will help policy-makers do their job.

About The Author
Dan Sommer works for Henley-Putnam University, a leading educational institution in the field of Strategic Security. For more info on Henley-Putnam University, intelligence careers, strategic intelligence, call 888-852-8746 or visit us online at
The author invites you to visit:

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[Note: Due to a size limitation, the title, above, had to be abbreviated. Apologies to the author and - Admin]
This article was posted by permission.

Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:47 pm
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