Book Decision advantage : intelligence in international politics from the Spanish Armada to cyberwar / Jennifer E. Sims.
Publication year: 
Call Number JZ1253 .S56 2022
Media class: Book
Publisher: New York, NY : Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780197508046 0197508049
Extent: xvii, 603 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
"The argument of this book is that intelligence, or "competitive learning" is a measurable, buildable form of power that makes a predictable difference to outcomes in international politics. Employing skills in information engineering, its practitioners start with natural advantages and disadvantages in "knowing." This "terrain of uncertainty" is simply the distribution of advantageous knowledge, including innovation, education, science and the arts. Sound intelligence strategy entails mapping the terrain of uncertainty, and then employing intelligence systems, including platforms, sensors, communications, and analysis, to learn and decide more quickly and usefully than one's opponent does. An intelligence "opponent" is any competitor who threatens to defeat you by outwitting you, rendering you more ignorant, or deceiving you. Such a competitor may even be an ally whose intelligence is so flawed that he fails to understand that his best interests are coincident with your own. Intelligence power or "readiness" has four parts: the number, coherence, flexibility of collection systems; the capacity to deploy those systems against policy-irrelevant unknowns (the anticipation function, or finding black swans); the capacity to deploy them against policy-relevant ones (the "transmission" function that supports current strategy and operations); and the capacity for selective secrecy (the timely keeping and releasing of secrets). States maximizing these capacities will be better prepared for gaining decision-advantages than others, but whether this power is used correctly in any given moment depends on how the power is employed in service to decision-making. Of course, such is the case for all forms of power. Done well, intelligence has systemic effects because it contributes to the competitive unveiling of international politics--a form of transparency based less on good will than self-interest. Counterintelligence (CI), which uses the same instruments as positive
intelligence but for the purpose of manipulating the learning of others (denial, influence or deception), may darken international politics from time to time, but it cannot in theory outpace competitive learning because it needs the latter in order to succeed. Counterintelligence cannot work--indeed creates dangerous vulnerabilities for the user--when the user's positive intelligence is weak. So, as all states compete to improve their intelligence capabilities, the capacity to achieve advantages through manipulation often lags behind, and over time will tend to decline"--
Intelligence and decision advantage in international politics -- The Spanish Armada -- Gaining decision advantage in the Anglo-Spanish War -- Intelligence lessons from the Spanish Armada -- Battlefield intelligence : the battles of First Manassas and Chancellorsville during the US Civil War -- Gaining advantage : First Manassas and Chancellorsville -- Intelligence lessons from the battlefield -- Intelligence for the chase : the hunt for President Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth -- Intelligence support to diplomacy -- Knowledge and diplomacy in the era of total war -- Gaining diplomatic advantages before World War I -- Intelligence and decision in 1938 -- A theory of intelligence in international politics -- The twenty-first-century terrain of uncertainty -- Appendix 1. Report by Nuño de Silva, Portuguese pilot captured by Francis Drake, 19 January, 1578 -- Appendix 2. Excerpt from Nuño de Silva's "Memory from Northern Costa Rica" -- Appendix 3. Propositions about intelligence power.