By Lacy Hebert
Best Defense office of analyzing intelligence analysis
One lesson that Lieutenant
General Mike Flynn, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, says he
takes from his years of experience in the intelligence field is that challenges
can be overcome as long as U.S. intelligence agencies invest, prioritize, and
most importantly, collaborate. "If there's one thing that we know," he says,
"it's that we absolutely can't do any of this alone."
This does not just include
three-letter agencies collaborating and working together, however. Flynn,
speaking at the Brookings Institution recently, said that it is essential that
the United States partner with other countries, with foreign law enforcement,
and with non-governmental organizations to share knowledge and experience. By
contrast, he said, it is the failure to cooperate, the withholding of
knowledge, the going it alone, that results in gaps in our intelligence and
makes us vulnerable.
For example, said Flynn, a
former director of intelligence for U.S. Central Command, al
Qaeda in Syria is a serious problem for
not just the region, but for the international community as a whole. Foreign
elements fighting there will improve and develop
their skills and then are likely to bring those skills back to their home
countries or elsewhere. One side effect of the Syrian civil war is that the
international community has begun talking about this, he said.