Picking the Brains of Strangers….[$507 Billion Dollar Prize (at least)] had three keys to its success:
- Use of human analysts
- Common access to data and prior efforts
- Reuse of prior efforts by human analysts
Intelligence analysts spend their days with snippets and bits of data, trying to wring sense out of it, only to pigeon hold their results in silos.
Other analysts have to know about data to even request it. Or analysts with information must understand their information will help others with their own sensemaking.
All contrary to the results in Picking the Brains of Strangers….
What information will result in sensemaking for one or more analysts is unknown. And cannot be known.
Every firewall, every silo, every compartment, every clearance level, makes every intelligence agency and the overall intelligence community dumber.
Until now, the intelligence community has chosen to be dumber and more secure.
In a time of budget cuts and calls for efficiency in government, it is time for more effective intelligence work, even if less secure.
Take the leak of the diplomatic cables. The only people unaware of the general nature of the cables were the public and perhaps the intelligence agency of Zambia. All other intelligence agencies probably had them or their own version, pigeon holed in their own systems.
With robust intelligence sharing, the NSA could do all the signal capture and expense it out to other agencies. Rather than having duplicate systems by various agencies.
And perhaps a public data flow of analysis for foreign news sources in their original languages. They may not have clearance but they may have insights into cultures and languages that are rare in intelligence agencies.
But that presumes an interest in smarter intelligence systems, not dumber ones by design.