Limits of Open Source Intelligence
Washington, DC. Mar. 27th, 2006 ---- There are volumes being written about Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) and how it will revolutionize the world. Most writers are pontificating to sell books or to ensure they are on the media radar by weekly pronouncements. Few are actually doing anything to achieve a workable OSINT Center especially for civilian and non classified useage to preserve America's Competitiveness. No on the current trail OSINT will be created as another toy for the military to play with. But military is a cost center, and industry is a profit center. Even America has to start making something else to export other than tanks, bombs and missiles.
Some vocal advocates of OSINT offer "All information, from every country, and every language, dialect, from billions of people around the world" as the only way to go. OK Show me!
In the years ahead if the US were to go down that road this multi-trillion dollar OSINT Farm covering what used to be called California will be able to listen to the whispers in gibberish from a dyslexic Goat Herders third cousin behind a rock in Outer Mongolia. He wants to buy medicine, and maybe clothes, and the valuable tidbit is that that the brown Goat has Diarrhea. But on the current course we are travelling we will not be able to supply him with US made clothing, or medicine as we would have have spent all of our wealth on the mighty military machine needed to strike Shock and Awe in the Goat Herders village.
Realism is not a commodity in plentiful supply in the US Military, present or past. The Bush Administration has given thousands of frustrated ex-military types their last Ho-rah by using over 100,000 Mercenaries in one form or another. Unfortunately for them the party will end in two years time, when the Bush Administration goes into retirement, is arrested or committed. The next Administration, and the ones that follow will have to decimate the military, and the military supply machine to try and pay the debts incurred in invading Iraq and Afghanistan. In other words the OSINT Centers being created today will have to deliver economic miracles to a very angry American public in the very near future. Economic Intelligence, not Military, or Terrorism Intelligence will be King.
How will the Top Secret, Compartmentalized OSCINT Centers being created today handle the task. They will fail, as they have in the past, and Congress will have hearings on more spectacular Intelligence Failures, as we have had since 1941, and if truth is known even before that.
Intelligence that prevents a simple attack, except a thermo-nuclear attack, is miniscule compared to intelligence that prevents an entire industry collapsing, and devastates entire regions of the country. It is not as dramatic, nor news worthy, but hundreds of thousands of people suffering unemployment, no medical coverage, or losing their homes should be recognized as a major traumatic injury to the nation. Suicides and crime escalation should be reported just as much as roadside bombs in Iraq.
America is facing severe internal problems, and as we look towards the Streets of Baghdad we forget that the Streets of Los Angeles, Miami or New York are becoming just as bad, if not worse.
But the remedy in Baghdad is to send in the troops and kill a few gang members, calling them "Insurgents". The remedy in Los Angeles has to be different. For the gang members or "Insurgents" killing innocent bystanders have to be stopped by creating jobs, and getting them off the streets.
But if all our OSINT and HUMINT resources are looking for suspected terrorists for the military, then nothing will be left for looking for economic opportunities to create jobs for home grown "Insurgents". For our US problem is many times greater than the military problem in Iraq. Al Qaeda isn't sending millions of unemployed immigrants over the Mexican border every year. Without jobs, affordable housing and healthcare, many of these young "Illegal Immigrants" can quickly become "Insurgents".
Bush's Brain, which can only handle one concept at a time, is fixed on "Terrorism" and really can't handle that and Economic Prosperity at the same time. But without the latter there can be no resources to fight the former, and borrowing from China will only fool the US public for so long, or until the debt is due for repayment, long after Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld are out of office.
So we have to develop OSINT Centers for the long term, and not just to listen to every language in every country, from billions of irrelevant peasants hoping to acquire targeting information for a hungry military machine seeking to impose "Shock and Awe" on every village East of the Pentagon. That means realistic global aspirations, targeting the major economic and military threats. We have to develop a network that will serve the American people, not just a handful of Ho-rah Grunts who want to relive their youth in the military.