The Case for Open Source Intelligence

Cipher Brief Expert View

British Air Vice-Marshal Sean Corbett CB MBE MA RAF retired from the Royal Air Force in September 2018 after a 30-year career as a professional intelligence officer. His last appointment in the military was spent in Washington DC as the first non-US Deputy Director of a major US Intelligence Agency.  His primary role was to optimise intelligence sharing with US allies by developing and implementing a transformational change programme throughout the US intelligence community.   

OPINION — The contemporary security environment is arguably the most complex and diverse ever faced by the free world.  The ‘return’ of the nation state adversary in the form of the Russian Federation, with a renewed appetite for global power projection and seemingly a budget to match has required a recharacterization of the cold war dynamic with a hybrid warfare twist.  The perennial rogue states of Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that remain immune to international norms, diplomatic and financial pressure are inching towards true nuclear power status.  Violent extremism has not gone away and will continue to re-emerge and evolve in ungoverned spaces wherever the conditions allow.  China has finally shown its hand and seeks to become a global hegemon through its belt and road initiative, combining an overtly aggressive economic posture with a parallel and equally ambitious military-industrial programme.  The list goes on.

The Cipher Brief has become the most popular outlet for former intelligence officers; no media outlet is even a close second to The Cipher Brief in terms of the number of articles published by formers.” —Sept. 2018, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 62

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