92451 - Strategic Intelligence And Political Decision Making

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course aims at making students reflect on the presumption that intelligence and foreign policy-making are interwoven with each other. At the end of the course, students will be able to evaluate the role of intelligence in the strategic decision-making process and foreign policy formulation of major powers (USA, Western Democracies, Russia, China and leading Middle Eastern powers) and to analyze complex relations within the triangle: intelligence community – national security planning bodies – top political leadership. At the end of the course, students will also be able to: understand the major traditions in intelligence analysis; analyze the links between intelligence and the decision-making process in different contexts; assess the different sources of intelligence reports.

Course contents

92451 - STRATEGIC INTELLIGENCE AND POLITICAL DECISION MAKING

ANNO ACCADEMICO 2021/2022 Conoscenze e abilita da conseguire

The course is based on the presumption that intelligence and foreign policy- making are interwoven with each other. It evaluates the role of intelligence in the strategic decision-making process and foreign policy formulation of major powers (USA, Western Democracies, Russia, China and leading Middle Eastern powers) and is focused on the analysis of complex relations within the triangle: intelligence community – national security planning bodies – top political leadership. Upon the completion of the course, students are expected to understand and assess the main security threats in the early 21 century and the role of intelligence in thwarting them, and be able to: assess and evaluate disparate sources of often conflicting intelligence information, understand the major techniques and trends in intelligence analysis; analyze the links between intelligence and the decision-making process in different contexts; obtain familiarity with main intelligence products.

Contenuti

Course contents
Prof. Albert Bininachvili
92451 Strategic Intelligence and Political Decision-Making Dear Colleagues,

Thanks for the interest in the Strategic Intelligence and National Security issues and welcome to the fascinating world of intelligence. Although some of you may be disappointed by the fact that the course is not expected to have much to do with James Bond and the dazzling glamorous world of Ian Fleming’s characters, there is a pretty high level of certainty that most of you will find it useful and interesting.

Traditionally, universities, especially in continental Europe, have not paid substantial attention to intelligence issues. For understandable reasons this situation was negatively affecting the educational process in the field of security studies and international relations, depriving it from necessary entirety and integrity. In the words of one of the scholars, “intelligence studies” used to present a “missing dimension” of international security studies.

The wide-ranging consequences of intelligence failures such as 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq sparked an increased research interest in intelligence as an important and yet underappreciated factor in national decision-making. Since then, the intelligence has established itself as an accepted sub-discipline of security studies, at least in the USA and the UK. This process of incorporation of intelligence studies into the core curricula of international relations and political

science programs of the leading universities was reflecting the widespread recognition of the fact that well functioning intelligence and security machinery is an essential component of good modern governance.

Italy, like majority of continental European nations, so far had offered practically no dedicated program in the field in its public universities, apart of a program at the university of Calabria designed for law enforcement practitioners.

Therefore, it has been a matter of sincere personal gratification to inaugurate the Strategic Intelligence and Political Decision Making course on the premises of the oldest European university in an attempt to fill in this gap and help the students to elaborate holistic vision of national security issues.

In 2016/17 and 2017/18 by invitation of Professor Filippo Andreatta, and thanks to his support and vision, this course was launched by Professor Bininachvili on the platform of the Forli’ campus and in 2019/20 brought to the Bologna main campus further strengthening undisputable reputation of Alma Mater Studiorum as a recognized forefront center of innovative research and education in the field of international relations and security studies.

The course, which is to be presented in 2021/22 and which many of you may select as part of your study plan, represents a “europeanized” version of the self- titled course Professor Albert Bininachvili have initiated and taught at Columbia university for almost two decades. Suffice it to say that it has become one of the first specialized intelligence courses offered by the Ivy League universities.

This innovative interdisciplinary Master’s course focuses on the dominant trends that determine role of intelligence in current and future geostrategic developments covering wide array of intelligence disciplines and geographic areas.

It is based on the presumption that intelligence and foreign policy- making are interwoven with each other. Intelligence is analyzed either as a governmental institution or a form of activity, with emphasis on complex relations within the triangle: intelligence community – national security planning bodies - top political leadership. The course examines the role of intelligence in the strategic decision-making process and formulation of foreign policy in the USA, Western democracies, Russia, China and leading Middle Eastern powers.

Students are expected to obtain awareness of the theory and practice of strategic intelligence in combination with an in-depth understanding of the multiple ways in which intelligence issues manifest themselves in international relations. Students acquire an understanding of the practical dimensions of intelligence, including the intelligence cycle, the intelligence disciplines, problems of intelligence collection and analysis, covert action, and the intelligence-national security policy nexus.

Topics include among others:
Comparative study of the organization and operational practices of the world’s

leading intelligence services: CIA, SVR, MI6, Mossad, MSS, EU INTCEN

Political leadership and intelligence task setting
Overt and covert sources of information and their correlation

Collection Assets and Capabilities Data collection techniques:

Clandestine Human intelligence (HUMINT). Signals intelligence (SIGINT).

Geospatial intelligence (GEOINT).
Measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT).

Open-source intelligence (OSINT).

Intelligence Analysis and Estimates Analytic Methods

Warning intelligence and the issue of strategic surprise;

Covert action and strategic disinformation;

Introduction to Denial and Deception: Tools and Methodology.

Art of Counter-Intelligence and Statecraft.
FBI, DHS, FSB, MI5, Shabak: History, organization, operational methods.

Intelligence and revolution in information technologies. Cyber security and intelligence in the cyberspace.

Information Operations and Cyber Intelligence Propaganda, Persuasion, and Influence

Role of intelligence in international treaties’ verification and sanctions regimes enforcement;

Scientific and technical intelligence
Economic and financial intelligence
Oversight and control over intelligence practices in the US and other nations; Coordination and bureaucratic competition within intelligence community; Globalization and the changing intelligence landscape

Intelligence vis-a-vis current and future transnational challenges:

Terrorism: Origins and Methodologies WMD Proliferation
Illegal migration and human trafficking

Narcotics Trafficking.
Environmental degradation and conflict over natural resources, water and energy

And, of course, many more inspired by the vibrant students’ class participation.

Testi/Bibliografia

Readings/Bibliography Required reading:

Abram Shulsky and Gary Schmitt ,
Silent Warfare: Understanding the World of Intelligence. Third Edition

Loch Johnson,
National Security Intelligence: Secret Operations in Defense of the Democracies. Second Edition

Additional readings will be added to the announced workload as necessary.

Metodi didattici

Teaching methods:
Traditional lecture.
Analysis of case studies integrated as appropriate.

Modalità di verifica e valutazione dell'apprendimento
Assessment methods
COURSE REQUIREMENTS:

Substantial, but concise paper (10-12 pages) and final oral exam.

The final grade will be based on the combined assessment of the constructive class participation, oral exam and the essay.
Topics must be chosen in consultation with the instructor prior to the beginning of the fourth week of class. The readings are expected to be completed before each class session (starting second week of classes), to enable students to contribute constructively to the discussion.

Strumenti a supporto della didattica

Teaching tools: Human brains.

Orario di ricevimento

By appointment

Readings/Bibliography

Testi/Bibliografia

Readings/Bibliography Required reading:

Abram Shulsky and Gary Schmitt ,
Silent Warfare: Understanding the World of Intelligence. Third Edition

Loch Johnson,
National Security Intelligence: Secret Operations in Defense of the Democracies. Second Edition

Additional readings will be added to the announced workload as necessary.

Teaching methods

Traditional lecture.
Analysis of case studies integrated as appropriate.

Assessment methods

COURSE REQUIREMENTS:

Substantial, but concise paper (10-12 pages) and final oral exam.

The final grade will be based on the combined assessment of the constructive class participation, oral exam and the essay.
Topics must be chosen in consultation with the instructor prior to the beginning of the fourth week of class. The readings are expected to be completed before each class session (starting second week of classes), to enable students to contribute constructively to the discussion.

Teaching tools

Human brains.

Office hours

See the website of Albert Bininachvili