Lec # Topics


This session provides a brief overview of the course. After introducing some key concepts and debates, it asks how political science can contribute to the study of intelligence.


Origins, Structure, and Functions of the Intelligence Community

This session will examine the current organization and functions of the various members of the intelligence community and the role of the DCI. It will also introduce elements of the intelligence reform debate such as centralization vs. decentralization.



This session will discuss the various collection functions and the relative merits of human and technical collection, including various proposals for change. It will also look at the use of open source material and discuss classification issues. Finally, it will address the debate about if there is too much collection and not enough analysis and the need for greater interaction between collectors and analysts on relative priorities.



This session will examine how the community interacts in theory and practice, the different types of intelligence, especially current and estimative, and the difference between puzzles and mysteries. It will also look at the role of the National Intelligence Council in producing joint products and the issue of dissent, with the Iraq WMD estimate as a case study.


Intelligence and National Policy

This session considers the relationship between policymakers and their intelligence advisers. Recent events have rekindled fears that intelligence has become “politicized.” What does this mean? What other problems are common to intelligence-policy relations? Are these problems manageable? The war in Iraq will serve as a case study.


Surprise Attack and Strategic Warning

This session will examine the role of strategic warning. It will discuss different approaches to warning and the problem of credibility. It will examine the current warning process, how warning priorities are determined, the difference between capabilities and intentions, and the role of denial and deception. Can surprise be avoided or is it a permanent feature of the practice of intelligence? Various case studies will be discussed, including the Indian nuclear test and 9/11, along with the debate about policy successes and warning failures.


Military Intelligence

This session focuses on the use of intelligence for military purposes. It asks whether wartime intelligence is unique, and to what extent intelligence contributes to military success. It also examines the increasing use of national intelligence assets for military operations. Finally, it looks at the use of intelligence in net assessment, operational planning, and targeting.

8 ASW Case Study


This session will discuss the continued importance role of asymmetric warfare and the role of intelligence in counterinsurgency and low intensity conflict. Vietnam and the lessons learned will be applied to more recent counterinsurgency efforts.


Covert Action

This session will focus on the CIA’s role in executing foreign policy through the conduct of covert action. Special emphasis will be placed on the activities during the Reagan administration and post-9/11 efforts.



The focus in this session will be on the role of intelligence in counterterrorism and the requirements for both tactical and strategic analysis. It will also examine the role of centers in the intelligence community, especially the Counterterrorism Center. Finally it will look at the historical separation between domestic and foreign intelligence, the different roles of intelligence and law enforcement, and what this means for the future.


WMD and Nonproliferation

This session will examine the role of intelligence in support of counter-proliferation and the special problems of denial and deception. It will focus on countries of key proliferation concern, including North Korea, Iran, Iraq, and Libya, and the growing threat of acquisition of WMD by terrorist groups.


Intelligence and Democracy

This session will address various issues related to intelligence oversight and accountability, the problems of secrecy in an open society, and ethical and moral questions about fundamental values.


Future Threats and Intelligence Reform

This final session will look at potential future challenges to U.S. national security, and examine whether the various intelligence reforms efforts will enable the intelligence community to meet the challenge.

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