The US' Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is embarking on an groundbreaking effort to solicit the collective expertise and intelligence of all stakeholders in the writing of their Homeland Security Review. They have requested all stakeholders to submit views on 5 areas, which includes threats as well as DHS capacity. They are starting off with an email campaign, after which a web-based collaboration tool will be used to harvest thoughts and insights in those identified areas.Although one might have some misgivings about this new venture, I'm very excited about the nexus between intel, decision-making and knowledge management practices.
1) It invites experts and ordinary citizens to become part of the national security of the country. This fosters participation and ownership and opens up intelligence for everyone. The stakeholders include not only federal and local governments, but also academics and the business community.
2) Most of the experts and people with grassroots insight does not work for the intelligence community. This is an opportunity to learn from these people and open oneself up to different, many times contrary viewpoints that will enhance the analysis effort.
In South Africa, there is little, if any public participation in intelligence matters. Could you just imagine if we could harvest the collective intelligence that resides outside the intel community when we draft our annual Intel Estimate? This, together with introducing collaboration tools like Intellipedia and A-space is ringing in a total transformation of the way we do intelligence analysis. Anyone seeing the possibilities here? Are we brave enough to stand up to the challenge?