Open Source Intelligences Term Paper

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Open Source Intelligences

Robert M. Clark's Target-Centric intelligence model utilizes what is known as the intelligence cycle. Originally, the intelligence cycle was designed to create a complete set of data by breaking into stages the process of collecting the data. Each stage has a specific purpose, and when data collectors complete their task, the cycle can continue. Based on this model, data analysts do not have the opportunity to ask questions of or provide feedback for other analysts. Without the ability for analysts to ask questions of each other and provide feedback for each other, the flow of information can be limited. In the end, it is possible to have an intelligence report that appears to have accurate information, but is not as effective as it could be because the decision-maker does not know for certain if the information source was good, or the method the analyst used to draw a particular conclusion (Clark).

Does this process fit Clark's Target-Centric model? How?

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The OSINT exercise that was undertaken fits Clark's Target-Centric intelligence model in a number of ways. For this exercise, it was the responsibility of five different groups to each research one aspect of Iranian nuclear weapons capability: Group one researched the historical context of Iran's military targets; group two reported on Iran's economic conditions; group three examined Iran's governmental and civil status; group four gave an account of Iran's military capability; and group five predicted the probability that Iran would develop nuclear weapons in the near future.

Term Paper on Open Source Intelligences Assignment

The work of these five groups was combined into a report that concluded with an answer to a straightforward question: Does Iran have nuclear weapons. The report concluded that Iran does not currently have nuclear weapons, but they do possess the technology and resources to obtain a nuclear weapon in the immediate future. The estimate was offered that Iran is capable of obtaining a nuclear weapon by some time in 2011. The best monitor of Iranian military activity, according to the report, is the United States military base in Iraq, which is fully equipped with a wide array of fighter planes that are capable of destroying nuclear weapons and the bunkers in which they may be built.

This exercise fits Clark's Target-Centric model because all five groups worked independently of each other to produce one conglomerate report. This process reveals one major weakness of Clark's mode: accountability. With the five groups working separately, no one group is held responsible for the overall quality of the final product. The model of the traditional intelligence cycle separates collectors, processors, and analysts; sometimes results are even separated from each other (Clark). This can be a problem because of the human tendency toward self-preservation. If one person or group makes a detrimental mistake, it is possible that the person or group will simply fail to notify the others involved in the process. The mistake will be revealed, but the perpetrator may not. If each person or group were held directly responsible for the information presented, it would lessen the likelihood of this taking place.

The OSINT final report also fits Clark's model. The report is a large accumulation of information about various aspects of one nation in particular. Because of the lack of communication between groups compiling the report, there is some repetition. In this report, group one revealed that Iran's position on nuclear weapons was one of denial. They denounce their need for nuclear weapons openly, and deny they are in pursuit of one. Later in the report, group three reported essentially the same thing, going as far as to quote the same source. However, group three gave an opposing view that demonstrates this claim from the Iranians may be falsified. The repetition of information can certainly be a useful result of the model for this very reason. While two groups did report the same thing, the second group gave a better context through which to interpret the information. In using such a cyclical model, some crossover is inevitable; however, as it relates to security agencies being fully informed, some crossover is useful, perhaps even necessary.

Respond to Grabo's 5 guidelines for assessing the meaning of evidence

In her book Anticipating Surprise: analysis for strategic warning, Cynthia Grabo provides guidelines for overcoming some of the disadvantages or limitations of probability assessments for warning. She suggested guidelines for assessing the meaning of evidence in a warning situation. Each of her five guidelines will be developed in light of the final OSINT report.

1. Is the national leadership committed to the achievement of the objective in question?

In light of the gravity of the situation being discussed, nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran, the commitment of the leadership of one country is not an adequate barometer of commitment. Since this is a worldwide issue, the commitment of international organizations must be evaluated in the stead of any national leadership.

According to the final report, international leadership is committed to the achievement of the objective in question, which is preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has lobbied several sanctions against Iran in an effort to get the country to comply with requirements put in place by the United Nations (UN). In December 2006, the Security Council of the UN imposed Resolution 1737 on Iran, but simply ignored this action and did not abandon its nuclear program (Berman, 2007).

Iran is supposed to be governed by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which it signed with six other countries. This treaty dictates that any nuclear activity be reported six months prior to introducing nuclear material of any kind into one of its facilities, as well as before constructing any new facilities. Iran has violated the terms of this treaty by failing to make any such reports, yet the UN and the IAEA have very little recourse since they are non-military organizations. They seem committed to the cause, but there seems to be little else they can do to coerce Iran into cooperation.

2. Is the objective potentially obtainable, or the situation potentially soluble, by military means?

The object of ending Iran's nuclear aspirations is one that is not soluble by military means. Iran has state-of-the-art missile guidance systems that were developed with support from Russia, China, and North Korea. The Shahab-5 missile and the Shahab-6 missile have sufficient range to strike the eastern coast of the United States. An attempt to resolve this issue by military means would likely result in full-scale retaliation by Iran and its allies.

Israel has issued threats against Iran, stating that they will take action against Iran if the international community does not stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Iran responded to the threat by indicating that they will use all lawful means available to it to defend its sovereignty. A military act on the part of Israel would certainly result in military retaliation by Iran. The United States would likely come to the defense of its Israeli allies, which would bring further support from Iran from its allies. Before long, a large number of countries could get involved in the altercation, resulting in World War III. Because avoiding World War III is in everyone's best interest, this objective is not attainable by military means.

3. Does the military capability exist, and/or does the scale of the military buildup meet doctrinal criteria for offensive action?

In this case, the military buildup does not meet doctrinal criteria for offensive action. According to the report, Iran does not currently have nuclear weapons. To initiate an offensive strike at this point would be premature, since it is not clear that Iran is in pursuit of nuclear weapons, nor is it clear what their intentions are if and when they were to obtain nuclear weapons. Iran does have fighter aircraft capable of deliver nuclear payloads in the Middle East, should those nuclear devices be obtained. These fighters include the F-4 and the F-14, which are able to attack from 2500 kilometers and refuel in-flight. Iran also continues to support Hamas and Hezbollah. The president of Iran will continue to do this until Israel is wiped out. Despite these facts, however, the military buildup does not meet doctrinal criteria for offensive action because Iran still does not have nuclear weapons and that is the primary focus.

The military capability does exist for offensive action against Iran. The U.S. has an air base in Iraq by the name of Balad Airbase. Currently stationed at this airbase are troops from all branches of the U.S. military, totaling around 25,000 soldiers. The Air Force's 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing is currently stationed at Balad Airbase. This unit is made up of several aircraft capable of delivering warheads to Iranian nuclear weapon development sites. The aircrafts stationed at Balad Airbase include: F-16s, A-10s, and MQ-1A (Predators). The Predators are likely the greatest threat to Iranian nuclear sites because they are nearly undetectable on radar, and they are capable of carrying laser guided missiles such as the AGM-114… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Open Source Intelligences" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Open Source Intelligences.  (2010, March 29).  Retrieved May 28, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Open Source Intelligences."  29 March 2010.  Web.  28 May 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Open Source Intelligences."  March 29, 2010.  Accessed May 28, 2020.