On Uncertainty and the Limits of Intelligence

Peter Jackson

in The Oxford Handbook of National Security Intelligence

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks

On Uncertainty and the Limits of Intelligence

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This article discusses the uncertainty and the limits of intelligence. Despite revolutionary changes in the practice of intelligence, the nature and the essence of intelligence work has not changed even in the most fundamental sense. Uncertainty and limits still dominate the intelligence system. Among the “enemies” and limitations of intelligence are: time and space constraints; organization boundaries; politicization; and cognitive limits and ideological preconceptions. Careful consideration of these issues point to the conclusion that not only will decision makers and policy formulators continue to operate in an environment of uncertainty, but also that levels of uncertainty are liable to increase in direct relation to the importance of the issues at stake.

Keywords: intelligence system; time constraints; space constraints; organization boundaries; politicization; cognitive limits; ideological preconceptions; limitations

Article.  9708 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; International Relations

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