The Intelligence Community Meets the Twenty-First Century: Evolution, Not Revolution

An essay in The Future of Intelligence: A Forum on the US Intelligence Community in Honor of Robert Jervis

In this essay, part of the Robert Jervis International Security Studies Forum (RJISSF) Policy Roundtable III-1, The Future of Intelligence, Thomas Fingar discusses the US Intelligence Community's (IC) need to adapt to a new environment punctuated by information overload, especially but not exclusively that generated by Artificial Intelligence. This condition will require its interfacing with an array of non-governmental entities, its development of deeper and broader expertise, and its exploitation of new tools and techniques.

But Fingar cautions against exaggerating the consequences of this brave new world. The core mission of the IC will not change, and machines can never replace analysts in terms of the analysis they produce and their relationships with the “customers” (whether policymakers, war-fighters, or law enforcers) they support. Fingers counsels that the effectiveness of the IC’s support will depend on how well it strikes a balance between competition, integration, and collaboration.