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Relevant Information:
A New Approach To
Collection, Sharing And Analysis
Robert D. Steele,

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Doctrinal Fit
About the Author
Acknowledgement of Contributing Authorities
General Problem Description
General Challenges
Specific Assumptions
Source DeficienciesDeficiencies
Staff Functionality Deficiencies
Emerging SolutionsSolutions
Implementation Issues


The purpose of this White Paper is to bring forward for discussion four major gaps in our present approach to the substance of Information Superiority and to present several emerging solutions and related implementation issues. The paper concludes with recommendations for action to include changes to joint doctrine.

Doctrinal Fit

Existing doctrine identifies Information Superiority as a key element of success. Information Superiority is comprised of Information Operations (active measures to affect adversary information while protecting one's own), Relevant Information, and Information Systems. The doctrinal definition of information fusion acknowledges that no one capability exists to meet the commander's needs for fusion, while the doctrinal definitions of information gathering and information requirements acknowledge the value of information acquired from international and non-governmental organizations while not addressing the existence of commercial fee-for-service sources. Intelligence doctrine includes open source intelligence1 as one of seven types of intelligence, but does not acknowledge the nature and value of fee-for-service commercial open sources. This paper proposes enhancements to existing doctrine in order to provide for information collection, sharing and analysis capabilities that are needed but do not exist.


Today's decision-maker, from the President and the Secretary of Defense down to the most junior commander, lacks both a focused collection capability for obtaining all Relevant Information, and a reliable "all-source" analysis system able to fuse secret and non-secret sources into distilled, reliable and timely "intelligence."2 The current staff process for any decision-maker relies almost completely on a stream of "free" inputs received from counter-part bureaucracies, international organizations, and private sector parties pursuing their own agendas. At the same time, the narrowly focused secret or restricted steam of information is often afforded direct access to the decision-maker without being subject to in-depth staff scrutiny and proper integration with unclassified official and external information. Functionally today's staff process lacks the organization, knowledge and funding necessary to methodically obtain information from specific international and other non-governmental organizations or to manage the collection of original information from external sources. Over-arching both these limitations, there is no top-level Relevant Information analysis staff organization that is able to provide the decision-maker with filtered, fused and analyzed "all-source" decision-support. Three distinct communities are developing partial solutions for each of three major problem areas: the International Organization/Non-Governmental Organization community; the private sector; and the U.S. military. Although now in isolation for one another, there is an immediate and low-cost opportunity for bringing the pieces together in order to create an integrated concept, doctrine and organization for managing the collection, sharing and analysis of Relevant Information.

About the Author

Mr. Robert D. Steele, is CEO of OSS Inc., founded in 1992. Since then, he has managed open source intelligence training events for over 5,000 officers from over 40 countries. In the course of a twenty-year national and defense intelligence career, Mr. Steele has fulfilled infantry command & staff, clandestine, covert action and technical collection duties, been responsible for programming funds for overhead reconnaissance capabilities, managed an offensive counterintelligence program, initiated an advanced information technology project and been the senior civilian responsible for founding a new national intelligence production facility. Mr. Steele has been twice named to the Microtimes 100 list of "industry leaders and unsung heroes who...helped create the future" and is featured in the chapter on "The Future of the Spy" in Alvin and Heidi Toffler's WAR AND ANTI-WAR: Survival at the Dawn of the 21st Century, among other publications.

Acknowledgement of Contributing Authorities

Dr. Mich E. Kabay, CISSP is Director of Education for ICSA, Inc., the Security Assurance firm that certifies security systems such as anti-virus tools, firewalls, commercial cryptography and biometric authentication. He has been a programmer since 1965 and involved in information security since 1980.

Dr. Mark M. Lowenthal, is President of OSS USA and Director of Production for all OSS Groups. Dr. Lowenthal is the former Staff Director of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (104th Congress), a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence (Functional Analysis), and former Senior Specialist in U.S. Foreign Policy in the Congressional Research Service.

Col Earl L. Madison, III serves as the Joint Analysis Support Program Manager on the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (J-8). He has commanded the 10th Signal Battalion; served as a Military Satellite Communications staff officer in J-6S on the Joint Staff; been Operations Officer and then Executive Officer of the 4th Infantry Division's 124th Signal Battalion; served as a military advisor in El Salvador; instructed at the Army Logistics Management College; commanded C Company, 9th Signal Battalion while assigned to the 9th Infantry Division; and held various other command and staff assignments. He is a graduate of West Point, the Naval Postgraduate School, and the Air War College.

LtCol Ian Wing is currently the Chief of the Defence Force Scholarship Fellow at the Australian Defence Studies Centre in Canberra. His previous postings have included the 3rd Battalion (Parachute) Royal Australian Regiment, the Joint Intelligence Organisation, the US Army Intelligence Center, Headquarters 6th Brigade, the Special Air Service Regiment, the Directorate of Officer Career Management and the Defence Intelligence Organisation. His most recent appointment was Acting Director of the Joint Intelligence Staff during which time he represented Defence Intelligence on the Olympic Games Intelligence Working Group. He is completing his Ph.D. in advanced concepts of war.

The author is also indebted to Mr. Steve Barneyback for his precision-targeted guidance on getting it right in terms of existing doctrinal art, and to the individual participants in PacIntel '99 whose accomplishments made this paper possible. The electronic version of the Proceedings for PacIntel '99 is available at

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