Archive, September 27, 2017, Italy no place for intelligence innovation
Research and innovation in intelligence have dual significance: the first one is part of the context where the intelligence analysis cycle is applied.
Whether the perimeter is delineated by the individual socioeconomic actor operating in a specific sectoral niche or from what falls under the broad umbrella of the national interest does not make a difference : research and innovation are two elements which cannot be ignored in action to preserve and increase competitiveness and, therefore, must be the subject of specific intelligence action by the decision-maker.
At the private level, the choice to devote some of the intelligence resources to research and innovation depends on the analysis of competitive risk and the strategy adopted. Not at the gov level: research and consequent innovation are everywhere recognised as a strategic relevance; they must therefore be at least preserved in their competitiveness (if not supported).
This is what happens in countries that are most evolved from the side of the innovative economic interest : it is not in Italy where, notoriously and with broad literature and media references about the issue, uniqueness is that to be enable to research and innovation (in most cases) it is necessary to move abroad. If that is the solution then the result intelligence problem does not exist cause there is nothing to apply to it. This unless a hypothetical strategy of return home of the ‘bests’ (become ‘best’ at the others home and with the others money), process that is not likely to appear on the horizon at the present time.
The second significance stems from the fact that intelligence is discipline itself, which is the subject of research and innovation : the decision-maker responsible for an actor (or a function in an organisation), whether large or small, dedicated to intelligence must be concerned with research and innovation if it is intended to be and remain competitive.
The counter-intelligence is a perfect synthesis of this necessity, because even if you are working on proactive and early methods, the rule is, always and anyway, supposing that you are a step backwards from the antagonistic stakeholder. To do intelligence without realizing how much research results can help, especially those obtained from others, that doesn’t make sense.
The United States has understood the whole thing for a number of years and in 2006 IARPA, the government agency responsible for coordinating the research for all US intelligence agencies, is born. It was created in order to address the research, in a synergistic manner, according to what policy-makers expect to be the strategic needs not current but in the future. Other things the United States has understood is that the public alone cannot cover all the knowable in which the research can be articulated. For that the model chosen to structure IARPA was DARPA, the military agency initiated at the end of the ‘50s by the Pentagon for research and development purposes. The model provides for periodic and structured competition at several levels where researchers, institutions, companies and start ups can participate, so to take advantage of the work of private for the agency purposes and, at the same time, support them when the purposes are the same. Support for innovative initiatives deemed strategic, not exclusively for intelligence, also takes place through funding : CIA has for seventeen years its own investment fund, IN-Q-TEL, where there is also a predictive sectorial lab with national security purpose.
France and the United Kingdom, although with special characteristics, are very similar to each other : in both countries, management turnover between the public and private sectors is good practice for growth and vocational training ; this is also the case of intelligence and its research, so as to create a common and high level of experience which has helped to consolidate a common substrate of expertise, knowledge and collaboration from which the different actors draw on and to which are referred to. In addition, France, in its recently renewed dirigistic national economic intelligence architecture, has introduced central and peripheral structures specifically concerned with research and innovation, coordinating with the territorially relevant privates.
Finally, Israel. The country has done of research and innovation the engine of its industrial policy for nearly thirty years. This is not only within national borders but also in all countries with which it maintains relations, through a dense cross-country network of foreign competition from which it draw on finance and to bring home innovative projects. The intelligence sector is not foreign to the general framework, which is also subject to the same managerial turnover seen for France and the United Kingdom. Another key factor is compulsory military, so that boys and girl with attitudes are included in the specialised department, involved in research and development projects and, once removed, many times supported to develop initiatives (the genesis of Waze is emblematic); second, they remain part of the reserve and therefore, in addition to the specific biennial calls, regular relationships strengthen the common competences. On the funding side there are initiatives that, through their activities, make the idea of private public collaboration better than any word, and, in the spring of this year, Mossad has started its own fund.
With regard to Italy, a few words : it is embarrassing to turn over the (very few) events, including training, dedicated to the intelligence in which they are present (among other things) components that, by their nature, should be dedicated to research and to see the results of the innovative and predictive blindness. It would be enough to have an observatory but, for the daily scenarios, it is still in a science fiction hypothesis.
This post was originally published on September 27, 2017, in Italian version on www.thescanner.info .This is adaptation of a neuronal Italian/English AI translation by IBM Watson.