Episode 58 of the Irregular Warfare Podcast focuses on the US intelligence community and its role in supporting the spectrum of national security missions, from the heavy counterterrorism focus of the post-9/11 era to today’s environment of strategic competition.
Our guests begin by establishing the evolution and characteristics of the post-9/11 intelligence community that enabled it to effectively support the range of counterterrorism missions around the globe. They then evaluate the factors that have challenged the community in recent years, from the increasing influence of technology and cyberspace to the nature of supporting operations in novel and nonpermissive environments worldwide. They conclude by reflecting on ways in which the intelligence community might continue to adapt and retain its competitive advantage while the United States continues to face a multitude of threats and missions across all domains of warfare.
Dr. Amy Zegart is the Cox senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and professor of political science, by courtesy, at Stanford University. She specializes in US intelligence, emerging technologies and national security, grand strategy, and global political risk management, and has served in a number of advisory capacities for the US government. Dr. Zegart’s most recent book, Spies, Lies, and Algorithms: The History and Future of American Intelligence, serves as the foundation for this discussion.
The Honorable Susan Gordon served as the fifth principal deputy director of national intelligence at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence from August 2017 to August 2019. In this role, Ms. Gordon was a key advisor to the president and National Security Council and led the seventeen-member intelligence community, a role that was the culmination of over three decades of government service. Ms. Gordon currently serves as a fellow at Duke and Harvard Universities, as well as on numerous boards of organizations focused on the development of national security capability and competitiveness.
Shawna Sinnott and Laura Jones are the hosts for Episode 58. Please reach out to Shawna and Laura with any questions about this episode or the Irregular Warfare Podcast.
The Irregular Warfare Podcast is a production of the Irregular Warfare Initiative (IWI). We are a team of volunteers dedicated to bridging the gap between scholars and practitioners in the field of irregular warfare. IWI generates written and audio content, coordinates events for the IW community, and hosts critical thinkers in the field of irregular warfare as IWI fellows. You can follow and engage with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or LinkedIn.
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Image credit: Famartin
From the introduction to our podcast above:
"Episode 58 of the Irregular Warfare Podcast focuses on the US intelligence community and its role in supporting the spectrum of national security missions, from the heavy counterterrorism focus of the post-9/11 era to today’s environment of strategic competition."
To better understand the challenges that the U.S./the West's intelligence communities face today, might we need to better describe:
a. A conflict environment in which (a) both great powers and small opponents now stand against the U.S./the West, (b) both state and non-state actor opponents now stand against the U.S./the West and (c) both here at home (in the U.S./the West) and there abroad/elsewhere opponents now stand against the U.S./the West?. And which describes:
b. Why this such diverse group of opponents now stand against the U.S./the West?
A New/Reverse Cold War understanding/thesis might accomplish this task; this, given that — in the Old Cold War of yesterday — this exact same grouping of opponents (great power and small opponents, state and non-state actor opponents, at home [in the communist countries in that case] and abroad opponents) stood against the Soviets/the communists back then.
In the Old Cold War of yesterday, what seems to have caused the Soviets/the communists' such "grouping of opponents," this would seem to be THEIR effort to achieve "revolutionary change" (in the name of communism back then) both at home and abroad.
In the New/Reverse Cold War of today, what seems to have caused the U.S./the West's such — similar — "grouping of opponents," this would seem to be OUR effort to achieve "revolutionary change" (in the name of capitalism, globalization and the global economy) both here at home and there abroad/elsewhere now.
Bottom Line Thought — Based on the Above:
Based on the information that I have provided above, should the U.S./the West's intelligence communities — in order to better deal with the challenges that they face today — study and/or otherwise consider how the Soviets/the communists' intelligence communities dealt with the challenges that they (the Soviets/the communists) faced — back in Old Cold War days?