Author Biography

Austen Givens teaches graduate courses on terrorism and emergency management at Utica College in Utica, NY. He previously served as director of emergency management at Christopher Newport University (CNU) in Virginia. Givens is a fellow with Virginia Commonwealth University's (VCU) National Homeland Security Project. He holds a master's degree in homeland security and emergency preparedness from VCU, and studied international relations in the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics at the University of Virginia. He has worked with the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon, and the Virginia Fusion Center.



Subject Area Keywords

Counterterrorism, Homeland security, Intelligence studies/education, National security, Security policy


The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 prompted the most comprehensive changes to the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) since its creation via the National Security Act of 1947. Recent structural and organizational reforms, such as efforts to enhance information sharing and recruit speakers of hard-target languages, have also triggered new challenges to successful transformation. In light of the systemic problems facing the IC, this paper argues that systems engineering, a discipline increasingly useful in organizational change, offers a more efficient, holistic approach to the intelligence reform process than the status quo. Systems engineering views the IC as an integrated and interdependent system, whose value is primarily realized through the relationship among its components. The author makes the case that a systems-based approach to intelligence reform can enhance effectiveness while reducing the risk of unintended consequences.