Information advantage and defence intelligence
To those in defence and military circles, the conflict has clearly underlined the importance of strong and advanced military capabilities in Western nations to effectively handle conflict.
Conflict has changed dramatically. It has broadened across the globe. Resources needed to address it have been increased and refined. And crucially, it has become a much more blurred concept than it was several decades ago.
In the past, there were states – now there are organisations capable of waging conflict. Historically, conflict occurred in ‘wartime’ now, we are in a constant state of ‘political warfare’ with those looking to undermine the international order.
Most importantly before intelligence and information advantage the success of military operations relied on traditional sources. Now, it is an exponentially growing space – both public and private, open and closed source, which militaries and Defence must wade through to find critical nuggets of information.
This, therefore, outlines the next great challenge for Defence in future military operations; to develop the most effective ways to review and understand reams of information, and to quickly identify what information is crucial to operational success.
This is especially so given the domains conflicts can be fought over, and the sophistication of conflict in each of these domains, has grown creating even greater potential for an information advantage to take shape.
The one positive facing Defence – despite conflict becoming more present, more ambiguous and more complex – is that advances in technology can help level the playing field, and help militaries operate effectively in these new grey zones.
And specifically with intelligence, stronger collaboration between state and industry may well yield the answer. Industry’s natural focus on delivering innovation means it can be the growth partner for Defence in determining how it can truly harness all the information now at its disposal. The Government’s ability to use industry’s innovative streak will be correlative to Government’s success in delivering an operational edge through intelligence.
The above all underlines the timeliness and importance of Paul Rimmer’s paper, Information Advantage and Defence Intelligence. It outlines how industry and Defence can work together to combat this hurdle, and ultimately how UK Defence can harness a huge opportunity in developing a clear strategic advantage for conflicts to come. At a time when conflict has been thrust back to the top of the political agenda in Whitehall and other Governments across the world, the course that Rimmer’s paper sets is more important than ever.