May 25, 2010

THERE'S WHERE TO START YOUR BUDGET CUTTING:

An Admiral Outmaneuvered (Edward N. Luttwak, 5/24/10, Daily Beast)

Blair’s mistake was that he actually tried to do his job, integrating and upgrading the enormously expensive and stupendously ineffectual “intelligence community,” with its grossly overfunded and mostly uncoordinated bureaucracies. It is not their fault: They grew over the decades of the Cold War to confront the immensity of the Soviet Union, with its tens of thousands of frequently upgraded armored vehicles, thousands of aircraft, hundreds of warships, ballistic missiles out the wazoo, globally active diplomacy, variously loyal communist parties around the world, and formidable espionage service. That called for a vast effort of detection and surveillance with satellite sensors, communication intercepts, open-source collection, and the analysis of the immense amounts of raw data thus gathered.

Now, by contrast, there is only the exceedingly lethargic growth of China’s armed forces (they are deploying 1970s fighters in 2010), the scant Russian effort to slowly rebuild a fraction of Soviet capabilities, the small-time banditry of North Korea, meandering Iran with its disaffected and exceedingly leaky elite—and of course 25,000 ragged Taliban peasants. The vast structures still in place are grossly excessive and ill-focused for today’s threats, while it is simply futile to respond to others: There is simply no way of detecting in time the hitherto quiet-living Muslim who will decide to blow himself up, or to suppress the advocacy of jihadist violence embedded in Islam; though it is true that the pursuit of Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri could be a tad less lackadaisical.


U.S. intelligence has gotten every biog question and most small ones wrong for its 70 years of existence--time to scrap it and start over. Open Source the whole thing.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 25, 2010 6:16 AM
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