Enabling security for the 21st century : intelligence & strategic foresight and warning
Date of Issue2010
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
This article addresses a very specific challenge the world and security institutions, notably those having as mission to provide intelligence, must currently face: their adaptation to a present and future conceptualized differently from the old Cold War worldview or from the following “Davos paradigm” and incorporating real life threats and dangers perceived as new. It will show that such notions as energy, food, health, mineral resources, or ecosystem and environmental changes need to be reincorporated within the primary mission of intelligence, besides more traditional issues, not just because one needs to change but because those dangers and threats do belong to the very idea of security, and that to be able to do that in a timely fashion strategic foresight and warning must be fully integrated within intelligence. The first section of the article will set the general stage, going back to the basics of what security is, starting with its most straightforward definition and then showing consequences in terms of political organization. The second section will emphasize the unbreakable relationship between security and intelligence, and revisit from this perspective existing definitions and characteristics of intelligence. Finally, building upon the two previous sections, the last part will focus on the integration of strategic foresight and warning within an intelligence function seen as the understanding capability of political authorities that needs to be implemented or reinforced to face the challenges of the present and future.
RSIS Working Paper ; 207/10