Author Biography

The author, a member since 2005 of the graduate faculty of the National Intelligence University in Washington, D.C., previously served as Director of Analysis for Europe, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, U.S. Department of State, 1987-2005. Earlier he dealt with counterintelligence and terrorism issues as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policy of the National Intelligence University, Department of Defense or its components, the Intelligence Community or the United States Government.



Subject Area Keywords

Intelligence analysis, Intelligence studies/education, Threat assessment, Weapons of mass destruction


One of the challenges the United States and its intelligence community confronts today, if not the foremost challenge, is the girth of its national security problem set. The array of threat types, as well as the potential sources of those threats, is unprecedented and growing. The burdensome task for intelligence at all times, but especially given the present rate of change and the increasing porosity of borders, is to try to cope with an escalating mix of challenges and rising expectations of what intelligence can provide. Existing tasks persist; they are not replaced. The number and types of potentially threatening actors have exploded. Nation-states are now joined by countless ethno-religious groupings, terrorists, criminals of all stripes, drug cartels, transnational movements and issue groups, and malevolent and delinquent individuals. Threats come from all quarters and in all sizes these days, and the mission of intelligence, i.e., to track indicators to provide warning and to reduce uncertainty for decision-makers, is monumental.