Comments on: US intelligence spending – value for money? http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2010/07/16/us-intelligence-spending-value-for-money/ Thu, 21 Jul 2016 07:57:19 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 By: ERhoades http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2010/07/16/us-intelligence-spending-value-for-money/#comment-31099 Mon, 19 Jul 2010 01:52:58 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=7488#comment-31099 In terms of terrorist threats I think it is fair to say that intelligence is our only front line hope to success, it is quite clear from Afghanistan, Hamas, Yemen, Pakistan, etc. that armed confrontations cannot remove these threats. Really we are better off spending the money we do on intelligence than on the regular military.

As far as whether or not the money spent yields the results it should we must recognize a couple things, first the difficulty of dealing with the sheer amount of information our services need to deal with, and secondly how daunting it is to really reform entrenched bureaucratic interests. The first issue makes it clear how important the second issue is. By creating the Department of Homeland Security we had hoped to solve a lot of the problems we have in duplication of efforts and sharing of information between departments. It is clear that effort at reform fell short and that we need to revisit that.

It isn’t the money we spend, it is what we get in return for it.

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By: jalsck http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2010/07/16/us-intelligence-spending-value-for-money/#comment-31094 Sun, 18 Jul 2010 13:09:20 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=7488#comment-31094 “clear evidence of a system drowning in its own information”

Maybe more money should be spent designing and developing systems for analyzing the data. I imagine this would be a substantial challenge.

Regards,

James

http://www.adaptivetradingsystems.com

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By: schmetterling http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2010/07/16/us-intelligence-spending-value-for-money/#comment-31092 Sun, 18 Jul 2010 03:51:14 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=7488#comment-31092 That number is absolutely staggering! but not surprising. This mentality has it’s roots in evil and world dominance, we are the “thought” police of the world and need to know every conversation or crime committed, whowever small. We encourage the US way of life and will stop at nothing to enforce our positions on others. To think we have only 5% of the worlds population, yet spend more than the whole world does on intelligence gathering, is just frightening! Our society has transitioned to service driven over the years becuase its more important for us to have strong laws that imprison citizens for small petty petty things. This drives the need for more police, more lawyers, and more jails that we cannot afford. We are huge promoters of punishment, rather than peace but our main objective is dominance at any cost! This is not the same country i remember growing up!

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By: CDNrebel http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2010/07/16/us-intelligence-spending-value-for-money/#comment-31088 Sat, 17 Jul 2010 23:42:36 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=7488#comment-31088 I would have to agree with LucidOne, American’s are too in love with tech solutions and have backed off nearly completely from human solutions. The Israeli spy network is generally considered the best in the world with no spy satellites or any such thing, just highly trained (and motivated) agents on the ground. I think that – as may be evidenced in the way America prosecutes wars now – that the American (para)military are too scared of having their own casualties and it prevents them from doing what needs to be done. Think that all started in 1945 with the bomb…!

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By: HBC http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2010/07/16/us-intelligence-spending-value-for-money/#comment-31087 Sat, 17 Jul 2010 22:46:42 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=7488#comment-31087 It’s a bit of a stretch for anyone to call the disinformation America chiefly invests in, “Intelligence”. Seems more like institutional stupidity to me. Unless, of course the point of it all is to keep the Western world embroiled in a state of constant war. In which case, it’s crossed the line between stupidity and criminal insanity.

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By: oldyeller http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2010/07/16/us-intelligence-spending-value-for-money/#comment-31077 Fri, 16 Jul 2010 22:13:22 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=7488#comment-31077 $75 billion a year would buy a lot of honey. I would like to know how much bang intelligence agencies get for their honey money buck compared with their tough love buck.

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By: SADSACK http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2010/07/16/us-intelligence-spending-value-for-money/#comment-31074 Fri, 16 Jul 2010 20:47:42 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=7488#comment-31074 The USA spends twice as much on its spies as China spends on its entire military yet China has not been at war since 1955 while we have not had a day of peace since 1942. I would think we could do better.

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By: LucidOne http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2010/07/16/us-intelligence-spending-value-for-money/#comment-31073 Fri, 16 Jul 2010 20:42:37 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=7488#comment-31073 I wonder as to what percentage of that total goes to “informants”, “double-agents”, and other foreign human assets. I have a feeling that while it may be a small percentage, it is numerically, a very high number, probably in the billions. Of course, much of that money is being wasted, and may even be used against us. See Afghanistan.

On the flip side, while electronic surveillance has become a cornerstone of our intelligence strategy, it is abhorrently expensive. One spy satellite and associated systems and analysts could easily cost 1billion or more per year. Still, satellites & electronic surveillance did not reveal the the impending dissolution of the USSR. Yet, a carefully cultivated spy network would have known that it was all smoke and mirrors.

Ironically, the Soviets were often considered to have the best human based intelligence network in the world. That is despite our large expenditures on surveillance technology. Israel is another example where the careful cultivation and usage of human assets is critical to intelligence gathering and analysis. Technology is important, however it has clearly led to an information overload.

The goal should not be “more intelligence” it should be “quality intelligence”. I would take an effective covert spy network over spy satellites any day. Satellites can only do so much. If they were so effective, then why do we know so little about the inner workings of North Korea?

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By: redcell http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2010/07/16/us-intelligence-spending-value-for-money/#comment-31072 Fri, 16 Jul 2010 20:25:56 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=7488#comment-31072 75B would not include the black budget.Say…100B total.Then put the total national security budget at 1 trillion per yearI was.This is close.I was blackballed from the Political Science Dept. at U.F. in 1982 for making the case that gross overestimates of Soviet intentions and capabilities were being made by those members of the academic community who were also pentagon consultants.

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By: drewbie http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2010/07/16/us-intelligence-spending-value-for-money/#comment-31071 Fri, 16 Jul 2010 20:23:45 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/?p=7488#comment-31071 The catch is that spies and other intellegence gatherers have an option value. If one is in the right place at the right time, an attack can be prevented and the investment was worth it. If one is never in the right place, then maybe it wasn’t.

Trying to estimate the (potential) value of knowledge is a fool’s game. It’s only in retrospect that a spy’s true worth is known.

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