Theories of Intelligence

Peter Gill

in The Oxford Handbook of National Security Intelligence

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780195375886
Published online September 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Theories of Intelligence

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The discipline of intelligence studies to date has spent relatively little time on theorizing. In the practice of intelligence, theories are crucial in creating applications that address the agencies's core mandate: the protection of national security. This article discusses theories of intelligence, its structures and process, and its failures and successes. It identifies the key features of the current context for intelligence, determine some of the contributions of theory to the analysis of intelligence and its place within the contemporary government, specifically, what is required if intelligence is to facilitate rather than damage democracy. Apart from providing practical applications for the betterment of safeguarding national security, theories of intelligence have a crucial contribution to public education. There is a danger that people may come to believe that failures are not only inevitable but a permanent condition, hence, there is an indispensable obligation to elucidate complex matters in such a way that reason does not submit to security panics. For most of history, intelligence has been used to oppress, and in many parts of the world, it still is used in this way. Those who live in liberal democratic regimes with advanced intelligence systems, it is their obligation to ensure those systems catch up with the changing face of intelligence governance as well as in informing developments in nonliberal systems so that intelligence will provide security without sacrificing hard-won rights.

Keywords: intelligence studies; theories; theories of intelligence; contributions of theory; analysis of intelligence; intelligence

Article.  7280 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; International Relations

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