GEOINT Shield -- Defense and Intelligence
GEOINT Shield -- Defense and Intelligence is a column by Marv Gordner, Program Manager, Intelligence Solutions Division, MorganFranklin. Mr. Gordner is a retired Military Intelligence Officer (Retired Lieutenant Colonel) who shares his knowledge and insights into the Defense and Intelligence side … More »
It’s a Special Forces World Now
April 20th, 2012 by Marv Gordner
It’s no secret that budget cuts will be coming in the near future. For example, the U.S. Army is considering a potential 25% drawdown of its general purpose brigade combat teams. The Army will almost certainly reduce its end strength as well, most likely by tens of thousands of trained soldiers. In response to shrinking budgets and the winding down of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, there will also be a diminished need for intelligence analysts. Meanwhile, U.S. Special Operations Forces have no shortage of meaningful missions, realistic training, and resources.
As a result, intelligence professionals will be facing a world where Special Forces are the main military drivers—and we will all need to be “specialized” in our efforts. Whether concentrating on IT and systems, collection management, or intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), the best intelligence professionals will need to be absolute experts in one or more intelligence disciplines. To remain ahead of the curve, focus on the following:
Holistic approach. Intelligence community leaders must assemble disparate pieces of information from multiple intelligence disciplines into timely, relevant, and well-edited all-source products. Intelligence professionals will need to put all of the pieces together and present them to decision makers—always being sure to answer the question “So what?”
Expertise. Just as the old claim that there are “too many lawyers” does not stand up as long as there are professional opportunities for good attorneys, the same case could be made for intelligence professionals. Those who remain on the cutting edge of technology by staying up to date on relevant tools and earning new certifications and qualifications will continue to be in demand. Opportunities will likely include cybersecurity and training, vendor vetting, counter-improvised explosive device (C-IED) work and, of course, direct support to Special Operations Forces. Those who cross-train in multiple intelligence disciplines, such as counterintelligence experts, and are also trained in GEOINT will find increased opportunities. Additionally, certain federal agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may experience some growth and new opportunities in the months ahead.
Effectiveness (not efficiency). Focus on results. I once worked for a very distinguished U.S. Navy SEAL admiral who would ask, “Did you bring the ship into port?” in response to excuses from briefing officers. His focus was on results only, and being truly effective.
Flexibility. For the best opportunities, intelligence professionals may need to consider relocating or deploying. I highly recommend reading Who Moved My Cheese?, the No. 1 bestseller by Spencer Johnson, M.D., to gain insights on how to deal with these types of organizational changes.
Administrivia. Be diligent in all aspects of life, whether professional or personal. There will be reduced opportunity for intelligence professionals who weed themselves out through loss of security clearance, security violations, bankruptcies, etc.
Without a doubt, our world as intelligence professionals is changing. We must adapt to this change, enhance our skills, hone our abilities, and always remember that we are helping to protect this great nation.
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