Fit to fight or unfit for the purpose? : a review of the effectiveness of the Intelligence Cycle in UK counter-terrorism, 2003-2013

Burke, Paul (2014) Fit to fight or unfit for the purpose? : a review of the effectiveness of the Intelligence Cycle in UK counter-terrorism, 2003-2013. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.

BurkePaul_FitToFightOrUnfitForPurpose.pdf - Published Version

Download (6MB) | Preview

Abstract / Description

The Intelligence process has increasingly found itself in the public eye in modern times. The Al Qa’eda attacks against the USA in September 2001 led to a rapid spread of other international terrorist attacks. The invasion of Afghanistan occurred soon afterwards, followed by the invasion of Iraq in 2003. All of this resulted in the Intelligence community and their processes being pushed into the spotlight of the global media. Central to all Intelligence work is the Intelligence cycle, in whatever form it might take.

This thesis investigates the effectiveness of the UK’s 6-stage Intelligence cycle in counter-terrorism work. Definitions of two key terms, Intelligence and terrorism are dissected at length, and the merits and shortcomings are outlined. Accusations of Intelligence failure have been levelled at both the UK government and at the country’s law enforcement, Intelligence and security agencies. Intelligence gaps and Intelligence failures will be described, and the differences between these key terms highlighted.

All counter-terrorism work in the UK takes place within the environment of the government’s counter-terror strategy called CONTEST. The six pillars of the strategy are explained, and examples are used to show where Intelligence fits into it. Two UK-based case studies (Operation CREVICE and Operation RHYME) are used to highlight how Intelligence is used to protect the public from terrorist attacks.

A thorough examination of the Intelligence cycle is conducted and some of the common difficulties and challenges encountered in the cycle are presented. It shows what can, and sometimes does, go wrong in the Intelligence cycle, and why this happens. Various models of the Intelligence cycle are compared and their intrinsic components discussed.

The thesis benefits from a unique collection of personal insights from a number of serving and retired Intelligence specialist, all with personal experience of working in counter-terrorism. This adds valuable material to the considerations of the strengths and weaknesses of the model. The conclusion provides some recommendations for the enhancement and strengthening of the Intelligence cycle, resulting in a more robust and applicable model for the UK’s counter-terrorism work.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Intelligence and security; Terrorism -- Prevention -- Great Britain; National security -- Great Britain; War on Terrorism, 2001-2009; Terrorism -- Prevention -- Law and legislation -- Great Britain
Subjects: 300 Social sciences > 320 Political science
Department: School of Social Sciences (to June 2021)
School of Social Sciences and Professions
Depositing User: Mary Burslem
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2016 09:02
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2021 16:04


Downloads per month over past year

Downloads each year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item