Item description for Seeing the Invisible: National Security Intelligence in an Uncertain Age by Thomas Quiggin...
Intelligence is critical to ensuring national security, especially with asymmetric threats making up most of the new challenges. Knowledge, rather than power, is the only weapon that can prevail in a complex and uncertain environment awash with asymmetric threats, some known, many currently unknown. This book shows how such a changing national security environment has had profound implications for the strategic intelligence requirements of states in the 21st century.The book shows up the fallacy underlying the age-old assumption that intelligence agencies must do a better job of connecting the dots and avoiding future failures. It argues that this cannot and will not happen for a variety of reasons. Instead of seeking to predict discrete future events, the strategic intelligence community must focus rather on risk-based anticipatory warnings concerning the nature and impact of a range of potential threats. In this respect, the book argues for a full and creative exploitation of technology to support - but not supplant - the work of the strategic intelligence community, and illustrates this ideal with reference to Singapore's path-breaking Risk Assessment and Horizon Scanning (RAHS) program.
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Studio: World Scientific Publishing Company
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 6" Height: 9" Weight: 0.84 lbs.
Release Date Feb 14, 2007
Publisher World Scientific Publishing Company
ISBN 9812704825 ISBN13 9789812704825
Reviews - What do customers think about Seeing the Invisible: National Security Intelligence in an Uncertain Age?
on the money Jan 31, 2008
Quiggin's book is a lucid reflexion on strategic intelligence. His thesis is clear: no one can forecast single events in the current complex threat environment. Instead, strategic intelligence should try to map the threat landscape and prepare policy-makers to think about the range of risks the nation is facing. Having centralised bureaucracies filled with rotational staff try to predict future discrete events (where will terrorists strike next?) is a recipy for failure.
Quiggin righfully argues that intelligence is now in the business of knowledge, not secrets. Networks, dialogue, and open-source information are the way of the future.
A very good book, despite some minor flaws (feels at times like advertisement for the Singapore model, some repetitions). Please read along with Clark' Intelligence Analysis: A target-centric approach
Disappointing, Not Original, Not Academically Sound Oct 19, 2007
Whittled down to its substantive portions, this book is about aiming intelligence analysis at subtle indicators and signals of imminent threats and risks. It champions the use of open source intelligence and analysis to do this, and calls for certain aspects of training and in-agency education to promote a mindset for strategic intelligence analysis.
This book should have been published as a journal article or essay. There is too much information included in the chapters that demote the book's target audience to uninformed laymen. The first six of sixteen chapters are the same generic narrative expected from an introductory level book on the same subject: the current state of international affairs, how terrorism changes the intelligence equation etc. With its basic explanations of ideas, and expectations the book reviews and back cover create, the informed reader will flip through predictable pages wondering where the argument is.
There are suspicious relationships surrounding the book which, though circumstantial, seem like a case of academic commandeering by the Singaporean institution, through which the book was published, and advertisement bandwagoning with the consultation company, which was hired by the same. Namely this is Chapter 15, which is a collection of three, shamelessly staged "interviews" of two Secretaries of the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and one of the founder of the consultation company Cognitive Edge which are unreadable, backscratching, and self-absorbed monologues serving the interviewees' respective agendas. These are wholly irrelevant and provide no argumentative support whatsoever. For this alone, to categorize the book as a valid academic work would be circumspect at best, and completely undermines the author's aforementioned intent to target foreign leaders and policymakers (as stated in his preface). There are a few good points made in the book, but there is nothing groundbreaking or original, no new interpretations to contribute, and certainly nothing those whom the author has parroted have not already argued.
The overall impression I got of this book was as if it had begun as an academic essay, but was puffed up and bloated with relevant, but non-cohesive information to achieve book length. For the academic contribution it makes itself out to be, most chapters feel as though they could easily be condensed into shorter, to-the-point sections, as the last sections of each chapter offer the only consistently clear conclusions and arguments. These may be misdirection on the author's part or requirements impressed on the author by the publisher, but either way the contradictions are glaring when the book's title and claimed content advertise a much more advanced and theoretical reading. This could have been a very concise dissertation, but it instead gives the reader the sense it too was weighed down by conflicting agendas and intentions.
Strategic Intelligence Aug 2, 2007
The U.S. Intelligence System is designed to be capable of many things, but it has never been widely considered capable of producing strategic intelligence. Yet this is precisely the type of intelligence needed to support the formulation of a national security strategy for the 21st Century. Such a formulation is needed because the threat environment that the U.S. finds itself in has radically changed since the end of the Cold War.
"Seeing the Invisible", by Thomas Quiggin essentially offers a prescription for creating a strategic intelligence program within the U.S. Intelligence System. In the course of doing this, Quiggin provides a number of really useful concepts and methods, many based on the experiences of the city-state of Singapore. He very importantly draws the distinction between risk and threats, a distinction currently lost on the U.S. National Security Community. He also argues for creating a networked type of intelligence organization in sharp contrast to the current overly centralized, hierarchical organization of U.S. intelligence. He also raises the concept of `faint signal detection' to argue for the development of actual target expertise among intelligence analysts. Perhaps most significantly Quiggin draws heavily on the writings of Robert D. Steele, especially his seminal book, "On Intelligence", which is a brilliant argument for redesigning the U.S. Intelligence System. In one of his most interesting chapters, Quiggin explains the Singapore Risk Assessment and Horizon Event Scanning process. While Quiggin is quick to note that discrete events and occurrences are impossible to predict, he also argues that warning intelligence is still a valid and valuable operation. There is little doubt that this outstanding book provides a new direction that would enable the intelligence profession to cope with the challenges of the 21st Century. This reviewer would suggest that this book should be read in tandem with "On Intelligence" by Robert Steele (2001, this site.com). Together these two books show the way to real transformation of the U.S. Intelligence System.
First Rate Primer for New World of Open Policy-Intel Deliberations Apr 7, 2007
The publisher, who has an office in the US, has very foolishly listed this book as being available only from Singapore, so a $25 book at this time is only available for $60 from the one person willing to claim they can ship it who will in fact buy it only when they are paid double for it. I have encouraged the author to prevail on the publisher to distribute the book from their office in New Jersey, so that well-intentioned Americans who wish to heal their Republic may acquire this excellent work directly from this site.
It was my good fortune to receive a copy of the book in galley form, and below I offer the same remarks that appear on the back of the book. The book describes Singapore's success with the Risk Assessment and Horizon Scanning (RAHS) program. I heard this program briefed in Canada by a Singapore Police Deputy Commissioner, and was enormously impressed. Singapore is doing everything right: emphasis on open sources of information, emphasis on open and inclusive analysis, emphasis on tools for processing instead of wasting billions on secretly collecting the 5% that is relevant, and so on. Here is what I was pleased to provide for the back jacket:
"This is one of the most original, broad-ranging, and indeed exciting books to emerge in the new era that juxtaposes asymmetric and non-traditional threats with distributed and innovative combinations of open sources and methods. Tom Quiggin fully understands that in the age of distributed infromation the concept of 'central intelligence' is not only obsolete, but that effective intelligence cannot be achieved without the full cooperation of all organizations--governmental as well as non-governmental.
"This work is in my view the first major work in the new generation of intelligence and national security studies and will inform those who have to make the decisions and carry out the work, not only in government, but in the private and non-profit sectors where much of the innovation is occurring.
"With the author being most persuasive to the effect that 'connecting the dots' for discrete event predictions is not within the capacity of the existing (secret) strategic intelligence community, anticipatory warning systems such as horizon scanning must not only be implemented for all forms of threat including communicable diseases, but they must be created with the full participations of all elements of society."
The jacket identifies me as CEO of OSS.Net, Inc. but does not mention that I was the senior civilian responsible for creating the Marine Corps Intelligence Command in 1988, and served six tours in the clandestine service of the Central Intelligence Agency, including three overseas tours under cover, and three tours dealing with counterintelligence, advanced information processing, and future imagery and signals collection systems. I mention this because in my view the secret intelligence community as it now exists must be destroyed. We must start over working from outside in and rightside up. Instead of spending 99% of the funds on the 5% we can steal (but not process), we need to take the US intelligence budget of $60 billion a year, and break it into three parts:
1) Free online education in all languages available by the call to the five billion poor, who receive free cell phones as part of the deal.
2) Earth Intelligence Network done right (I have created the non-profit version of this together with Jim Turner's Transpartisan Policy Institute, as a stop gap pending a moral intelligent transpartisan Congress and Executive team being elected in the USA).
3) A mix of cladestine and technical secret intelligence collection, most done in collaboration with host governments and focused strictly on transnational crime including multinational corporate corruption, theft, and money launders, and on terrorism, with half the money spent on properly integrating all known information both open and secret.
The Game is ON. For those who wish to prosper in the newly-appreciated national security environment that this book by Thomas Quiggin addresses, I also recommend the books on Ecological Economics, Natural Capitalism, and Capitalism 3.0. If we all commit to informed democracy and moral capitalism, the future will be bright for all of us, including the five billion poor at the bottom of the pyramid, whom we must empower so that they can create wealth as C. K. Prahalad suggests in "The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid."
Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons (BK Currents) Ecological Economics: Principles And Applications The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid