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Al-Qaeda Paper

Al-Qaeda

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Al-Qaeda

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Data Collection Programs That Can Best Be Utilized

Currently, everything across the whole globe is changing including how war is fought as well as the strategies needed to combat terrorism in the future. The advancement in technology has made it possible for people including terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda to communicate across the whole world. This can be of immense help to their operations. However, the same technology is capable of numbing the terrorists since communication such as through the internet and other wireless networks can tell where the person communicating is located. In realization of this disadvantage, terrorists have reduced their reliance technology for communication to avoid getting caught as well as providing important information to their enemies. Therefore, it is crucial for data collection methods on Al-Qaeda to be reviewed and improved in order to enhance the collection of intelligence.

Electronic Surveillance

Several programs are applied in order to get information about the organization. One of them was that united states used is wire tapping to monitor the movement and communication between people or the organization. This involves monitoring of telephone calls and e-mails some of the American citizens as well as other individuals that were suspected without any warrant. When information from the electronic surveillance is collected, it is submitted to some of the Intelligence Community members such as the National Intelligence Service for analysis and comparison with other information coming from different intelligent community members. This enables the agencies to find out any correlation of the conversations to terrorism or whether the monitored individuals have any connection with the Al-Qaeda.[1]

Spies

The art of spying has reached highly sophisticated levels where even remote controlled airplanes, drones, are used for spying on the terrorist grounds. These are highly sophisticated flying machines that are equipped with scanning abilities, as well as capability of firing missiles. Additionally, human spies or officers working undercover are used to collect information. These are trained people working with the local communities and blend in with them in order to find out what they know.

Social network analysis

Another most important program is social network analysis, SNA, where both connection and relationship are based on individual nodes where it can be through people as well as events depending on the network. “These networks are ubiquitous, with an underlying order and simple laws. Networks form the structural basis of many natural events, organizations, and social processes.”[2] The strategy assumes that terrorists like any other social networking groups are connected through complex relationships that form their network.

The social network analysis focuses on the connections between people within a network. Here, the weak ties within that network can lead to a wider source of information, as opposed to tight ties between close members.[3] The analysis finds that social network analysis can help in reaching a stranger in the world through the connections. Therefore, social network analysis is capable of providing crucial information concerning the character of Al-Qaeda and activities such as their recruitment, evolution of their network as well as how radical ideologies are diffused. The use of social network analysis provides the homeland security with an understanding of Al-Qaeda’s network and helps in forming policies on counter measures.

IC members that would be best collectors of data

Information about Al-Qaeda comes from many sources.[4] However, not all can be reliable, and there is a need for professional bodies to collect and analyze information coming from all the sources since none can be ignored. Several IC members are available such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Army Intelligence, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Energy, Air Force Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency amongst others. All these are members of the intelligence community, served with the responsibility of collecting and analyzing intelligence for policy making purposes within their jurisdiction. Each of the intelligence community members has a jurisdiction, which defines their area of operation. Thus, the jurisdiction determines the suitability of the member in collecting information on Al-Qaeda. For instance, the department of energy is served with the responsibility of collecting information on issues such as nuclear energy and weapons. Therefore, within terrorism, it would be served with collecting information of such weapons that could be used for terrorist operations if it fell to the wrong hands. Among the mentioned members, not all are best suited when it comes to collecting information on Al-Qaeda. Some of the best suited are discussed below.

Central Intelligence Agency

The CIA is the biggest producer of intelligence to the policy makers within united states. It was created in 1947 after the signing of the national security act by Harry Truman. It is also an independent agency served with the responsibility of developing technology that enables better collection of intelligence in foreign countries through undercover operations.[5] It is an international agency that has many intelligent officers over many countries including middle east countries. This allows the agency to collect information from many countries through the undercover officers. Therefore, when collecting information on Al-Qaeda, the CIA comes in handy considering it has officers at the ground who interact with the local people of the area. This enables first hand information for policymakers especially troops on the ground such as where to hit and important operations taking place.

Federal Bureau of Investigation

The other IC member that is well suited for collecting information on the Al-Qaeda is the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that is served with the responsibility of protecting the interests of the nation. Its main purpose is providing a link between collection of intelligence and enforcement of the law. It is a component or part of the justice department with its top priority being to protect united states against attacks from terrorists, espionage and foreign intelligence and against cyber attacks as well as hi-tech crimes.[6] With this mandate, the FBI is quite suited for collecting information about Al-Qaeda members who might be within the united states borders. Further, it helps with protecting the country against terrorist attacks within its borders, which it does through collecting intelligence on the suspected members of the organization.

Army Intelligence

The Army Intelligence is yet another suitable member of the IC in collecting information about Al-Qaeda. The Army Intelligence was established in 1962 with the main purpose of providing intelligent information to the army as well as the joint commanders in order to facilitate informed decision-making. Considering the army is responsible for fighting the organization, having intelligence of its own would be necessary in order to carry out their operations with more information for accuracy, as well as effectiveness. Moreover, the Army Intelligence has increased its human intelligence capacity as well as army’s cyberspace operations.[7]

National Geospatial-intelligence Agency

Although there are many intelligence community members served with the responsibility of collecting intelligent information, it is worth looking at the National Geospatial-intelligence Agency. It was formerly known as the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, and it is one of the four main intelligence agencies and a part of the Department of Defense. Its purpose is provision of accurate, timely as well as relevant geospatial intelligence to support national security. It collects information on maps, charts and disseminates it to provide intelligent information. This helps in telling the army or troops below as well as the air force where to strike. Although much of its work is concerned with defense, it also provides information on humanitarian issues such as floods and other disasters. These IC members are best suited for collecting information on Al-Qaeda in order to help the policy makers in making an informed decision concerning their plans of counter measures.

Best Suited Intelligence Analysis Strategies

Intelligent information comes to the intelligence agencies through many means as well as sources. “These sources include the reports from other U.S. government agencies such as the State Department, from counterparts in foreign security agencies, from human agents, from signals intelligence such as communications, from imagery, and from open sources like foreign newspapers.”[8] After such collection of data, it is not important until it is analyzed in order to come up with full conclusions or assertions to make the information valuable. The analysis should be more than a report. Rather, it should involve studying of a case about an individual or group to derive information that can guide operations. It should look beyond the information in order to identify patterns, notice existing gaps, and “assemble a larger picture on a wider timeframe to guide the development of national policy.”[9] Therefore, analysis strategies that achieve these goals should be adopted in order to derive meaning and value for the intelligence collected.

Analysis of the Competing Hypothesis

One of the best suited strategies for analyzing the intelligence is conducting an analysis of the competing hypothesis (ACH). It requires the analysts to identify all possible hypotheses, identify evidence supporting each hypothesis, use the evidence against the hypothesis in order to disapprove as much of them as possible and review the findings to identify any gaps.[10] After this, the analysts can seek to derive any inconsistency by drawing some tentative conclusions and then tests it. Finally, the analyst provides a conclusion to the person responsible for making decisions. What makes it suited for analyzing data on Al-Qaeda is that it is easy even for beginners and can produce good estimates. Additionally, it is fast and can produce good results when there is little time for analysis. It helps in overcoming cognitive biases considering every hypothesis has to be supported by evidence.

Opportunity analysis

The other analysis strategy that can be suited for this organization is opportunity analysis where the analysts identify vulnerabilities of the target group or individual, in this case the Al-Qaeda. It also allows the analysts to analyze the danger that could exist when tackling such opportunities. In order to get the best out of it, one has set some flexible objectives and then examines the personality or characteristics of the organization to find out, and common interest to exploit. This is suitable since it allows the analysts to identify some of the opportunities, as well as vulnerabilities of the enemy that could be exploited. It is also fast in deriving results and conclusions that can be used for planning attacks on the Al-Qaeda.

Bibliography

Central Intelligence Agency, “Chapter 8: Analysis of Competing Hypotheses,” cia.gov, accessed April 18, 2013 https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/psychology-of-intelligence-analysis/art11.html

Richelson Jeffrey & Blanton Thomas, “Electronic Surveillance From the Cold War to Al-Qaeda,” gwu.edu, accessed April 18, 2013, http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB178/

Resler Steve, “Social Network Analysis as an Approach to Combat Terrorism: Past, Present, and Future Research,” The Journal of the naval postgraduate school center for homeland defense and security, 2 (2006): 2.

Scott Allen, “The 16 Members of the U.S. Intelligence Community,” mentalfloss.com, accessed April 18, 2013, http://mentalfloss.com/article/22076/16-members-us-intelligence-community

“The Performance of the Intelligence Community,” govinfo.library.unt.edu, accessed April 18, 2013 http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/staff_statements/staff_statement_11.pdf

[1] Jeffrey Richelson & Thomas Blanton, “Electronic Surveillance From the Cold War to Al-Qaeda,” gwu.edu, accessed April 18, 2013, http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB178/

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