Open source information and indeed intelligence assessments are now widely available through the internet and social media: specialist crowd-sourcing that provides high quality warning and assessment on a global scale are delivering nuanced and contextually valid reports in an extremely responsive manner by using experts and evidence by personnel on the ground. Against this background and alongside the growing requirements for intelligence in very disparate parts of the world, the activities for state agencies and services have arguably become more reactive and their ability to provide strategic warning has been called into question.
Do the Security Service, SIS and GCHQ still provide niche roles within their mandates, and can they continue to provide something different and new against the changes in the information domain and societal changes? Is there now a need for a pan-government structure to concentrate expertise and should that lie solely within government? Is it time for a reassessment of the role of information in provision of security? And what is the balance between human intelligence and technology?
James Arbuthnot MP
Sir Iain Lobban KCMG CB, Former Director of the Government Communications Headquarters
Sir John Scarlett KCMG OBE, Senior Associate Fellow, Royal United Services Institute
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