September 23, 2017

Double-Edged Sword: Vigilantes in African Counter-Insurgencies

7 Sep 2017

According to this report, African states confronting insurgent groups face a dilemma when civilians mobilize and take up arms to protect their local communities. Such vigilante forces can provide effective support in enhancing local security, but they also carry inherent risks, including the potential to transform into insurgent forces themselves. So how should African states make use of such vigilante groups? To help answer this question, the text’s authors examine four illustrative cases from Sierra Leone, Uganda’s Teso region, South Sudan’s former Western Equatoria State and Nigeria’s north east.

English (PDF, 43 pages, 1.16 MB)

Author International Crisis Group (ICG)
Series Crisis Group Africa ReportsIssue251PublisherInternational Crisis Group (ICG)Copyright© 2017 International Crisis Group (ICG)

The Maple Leaf Mujahideen: The Rise of the Canadian Jihadi Movement

22/09/2017 Nate Kennedy Security

Image courtesy of Urban Seed Education/Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

This article was originally published by the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) on 1 September 2017.

Though seldom mentioned in the same breath as prolific Western jihadi producers such as France, Germany, and Belgium, Canada has a long and often overlooked history of producing jihadists. From the “Millennium Bomber” and the “Toronto 18” to the “Ottawa 3” and the “Calgary cluster,” jihadis have organized on Canadian soil to carry out attacks, both in-country and around the world. While Canadians have fought on jihadi battlefields as far flung as Afghanistan and Syria, their government has failed to implement comprehensive counterterrorism and deradicalization measures. Lagging far behind its Western allies, Canada implemented its first counterterrorism strategy in 2012 and has yet to create a desperately needed nationwide deradicalization program. The rise of ISIS and lone wolf attacks has increased the need for these reforms.

Though the United States has a Muslim population over triple the size of that of its northern neighbor, the two countries have seen an approximately equal number of their citizens join the Islamic State (see Graph 1 below). Canada is more similar to Italy and Switzerland—European countries far closer to the Islamic State—in terms of fighters sent in relation to its Muslim/overall population than to the equidistant United States (see Graphs 2 and 3 below). The defeat of the territorially based Islamic State will surely herald an influx of Canadian jihadists to their home country. However, the provisions introduced in the Combating Terrorism Act of 2012 and strengthened in the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2015, which prescribe lengthy prison sentences for any citizen “knowingly participating in or contributing to any activity of a terrorist group for the purpose of enhancing the ability of any terrorist group to commit a terrorist activity,” will do a great deal to mitigate the risks from this group. The greater threat to Canada lies in the radicals who never travelled to the Islamic State, thereby making themselves known to Canadian intelligence services, but instead remain embedded amongst the Canadian population. While there are a number of potential policies that Canada could implement to help combat homegrown jihadism, this analysis posits that a more comprehensive and reformed implementation of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act (CMA) and the creation of a national deradicalization program offer the two most pragmatic solutions to mitigate the threat posed by Canadian jihadis to Canada.

Graph 1

Graph 2

Graph 3[1]

Case Studies

Although Canada has produced hundreds of jihadis since the 1980s, this analysis will focus on six specific individuals/groups that epitomize the evolution of the jihadi movement in Canada over the last two decades and the Canadian legislation that failed to adapt to this evolution.

Ahmed Said Khadr: The Dawn of the Canadian Jihadi Movement

While thousands of “Arab Afghan” foreign fighters waged jihad against the invading Soviets during the Soviet-Afghan War, two Canadians, Egyptian-Canadian Ahmed Said Khadr and Algerian-Canadian Fateh Kamal, came to fill prominent roles in the fledgling mujahideen and the jihadi movement that emerged as its derivative long after the Soviets withdrew. Though not a fighter himself, Khadr played a crucial role in funneling desperately needed funds—some of which were provided by the taxpayers of Canada through the Canadian International Development Organization—to the mujahideen through his Pakistan-based charity networks beginning in 1985.[2] A close friend to Osama bin Laden, Khadr and his family became thoroughly enmeshed in the web of global jihad. After Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien personally intervened in 1995 to have Khadr released from prison in Pakistan—a sentence he was serving on the charge that he plotted to bomb the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad—Khadr and his sons continued to work with bin Laden and other “Arab Afghans” who had stayed in country after the Soviet-Afghan War ended in 1989.[3] Though the man known as “al-Kanadi” would be killed in a gun battle with the Pakistani military in 2004, his son Omar continued his father’s jihadi legacy, eventually being detained in Guantanamo for killing an American serviceman in 2005 before being released on bail in 2015. While the Soviet-Afghan War ended in 1989, many of the “Arab Afghans” would travel to wage jihad in Bosnia three years later.

Fateh Kamel: An Example of Canadian Negligence

Although Fateh Kamel fought the Soviets in Afghanistan, he only rose to prominence later as a leader of the jihad in Bosnia beginning in 1995. In the last years of the Soviet-Afghan War, Kamel moved to Canada, where despite being a veteran jihadi he was able to obtain citizenship after marrying a teacher. A member of the al-Qaeda aligned Armed Islamic Group (GIA)—a group to which Ahmed Ressam was also a member—Kamel became known as a dashing and efficient operator. After organizing charity work in Canada aimed at filling the coffers of the GIA in Bosnia, Kamel travelled to Europe himself.

Despite coming to the attention of the Italian authorities for his fiery recruitment speeches in support of the Bosnian jihad at Anwar Shaaban’s Islamic Cultural Institute in Milan, Kamel was able to travel to Bosnia, where he served as the third in command of Shaaban’s El-Mudzahedin unit. During this time, Kamel was also responsible for coordinating a series of brazen bombing attacks on Paris’ metro stations in 1995 with the GIA, which had gained such a reputation for ruthlessness that even al-Qaeda attempted to disassociate itself from the group.[4] In 1999, Kamel was arrested in Jordan and extradited to France, where he was sentenced to eight years in prison. After serving six years of his sentence, Kamel was released on good behavior whereupon he moved to Canada. Though he has repeatedly applied for a passport, Kamel has not been allowed to leave Canada since returning as the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) still considers him a threat. Kamel’s experiences as a foreign fighter reflect the changing realities of an increasingly potent jihadi movement.

Ahmed Ressam: Canada Wakes Up

An Algerian by birth, Ahmed “the Millennium Bomber” Ressam radicalized long before moving to Canada and applying for political asylum there in 1994. Despite the fact that the French had informed CSIS of Ressam’s radicalism, he was never apprehended and eventually traveled from Canada to Afghanistan to join al-Qaeda in 1998. After receiving extensive training, Ressam was sent to carry out an attack in the United States on bin Laden’s orders. Ressam was specifically chosen because of his previous residency in Canada. Though Ressam was apprehended before carrying out his planned attack in the United States by Canadian border authorities in 1999, he was able to create explosive devices, meet with fellow jihadis, and plan attacks on America all while being wanted for terrorism-related charges by CSIS. He is representative of the honeymoon period before 9/11 where Canada, like most other countries in the West, did not take the threat posed by jihadis seriously. Ressam’s plot, along with 9/11, showed the Canadian legislature and public the need for expanded counterterrorism measures.

The Toronto 18: Bringing the Jihadi Threat Home

The 2006 Ontario attack, an attack which never came to fruition, would have been the largest in North America since 9/11. Planned by a group of jihadis commonly referred to as the “Toronto 18,” the attack targeted numerous high profile targets such as the Canadian Parliament, the headquarters of CSIS, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Canadian police, in coordination with the country’s intelligence services, penetrated the Toronto 18 and successfully arrested all members. While this operation represented a tremendous success for Canadian counterterrorism agencies, it also reflected a total failure with regard to radicalization prevention and deradicalization on the part of these same authorities.

While the individuals who composed the Toronto 18 had disparate backgrounds, they were all homegrownjihadis in the sense that each was either born in or had lived in Canada for a protracted period of time. Yet, they planned to attack targets that were both embodiments of their native or adopted home country and would have resulted in mass casualties amongst their fellow Canadians. Although Canadians knew that the United States was the chief target for many jihadis, the domestic focus of the Toronto 18’s plot sparked fear of homegrown terrorism with “real consequences for Canadians” in a way that the Millennium Bomber plot never could.[5] While the Toronto 18 formed as a result of pre-existing social networks among its members, the discovery of the group’s 2006 Ontario plot coincides with the beginning of a broader trend in jihadi movements throughout the West away from larger centralized groupings of jihadis and towards more “devolved” formations centered around small groups or individuals.[6] These devolved jihadi formations were far harder for CSIS to monitor, which would come to be especially important with the advent of the Islamic State.

The Calgary Cluster: Exposing CSIS’ Deficiencies

Though Canada enacted its first comprehensive counterterrorism legislation in 2012—legislation which gave CSIS the power to seize the passports of prospective jihadis and detain them for up to three days—it did little to prevent scores of Canadian jihadis from leaving to fight elsewhere. Of the roughly 130Canadians who left their homeland to wage jihad in Syria, six were members of the “Calgary cluster.” This group reflects both the diversity of the Canadian jihadi movement and the failure of Canada’s counterterrorism policy. Three of the members were Canadian converts, while the other three were from Canada’s Somali, Palestinian, and Pakistani communities.

Though the men did not travel to Syria together, they often worshipped collectively at Calgary’s 8th and 8thMosque and lived in the same apartment building. After member Damian Clairmont departed for Syria in 2012, many of the other members came under suspicion by Canadian intelligence of planning future trips to Syria; some were even put on the Canadian no-fly list. Despite the suspicions of Canadian law enforcement, however, not a single member of the Calgary jihadi cluster was apprehended before leaving Canada to wage jihad. While many of the jihadis used fake papers, the fact that all were able to travel abroad after being labelled jihadists (with the exception of Clairmont who was unknown to intelligence services at the time of his departure) illustrates how inept CSIS was in handling this case. None of the cluster members have returned to Canada, and five are confirmed to have been killed in action.

Martin Couture-Rouleau: The Rise of Lone Wolf Attacks

As a self-radicalized lone wolf, Martin Couture-Rouleau epitomizes the Canadian jihadist that Canada (and the West as a whole) should fear most. A convert to Islam, Couture-Rouleau gained notoriety after killing a Canadian soldier and wounding another in what has come to be known as the 2014 Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu ramming attack. Before the attack, Couture-Rouleau had been known to CSIS; its agents even confiscated his passport in order to prevent him from leaving Canada to join ISIS. The attack Couture-Rouleau carried out is representative of the larger devolution of jihadism in Canada.

A regular mosque attendant, Couture-Rouleau was not associated with a jihadi cluster. Even though he was inspired by ISIS, Couture-Rouleau was not a member of that group and had not travelled to the Islamic State. Furthermore, the attack itself involved Couture-Rouleau using his car to ram two Canadian soldiers, which demonstrates the logistical simplicity of the lone wolf. Couture-Rouleau, a Euro-Canadian convert to Islam, is not reflective of the failings of Canada’s implementation of the CMA. However, he does illustrate the larger deficiencies of Canada’s counterterrorism and deradicalization policies.

As of 2012, Canada had become aware of and taken steps to prevent its citizens from traveling abroad to wage jihad, yet it failed to understand the danger posed by these aspiring foreign fighters to its domestic security. While CSIS considered Couture-Rouleau so committed to waging jihad that they confiscated his passport, the lack of any accompanying measures allowed him to commit an act of terrorism inside Canada. Attendance at a deradicalization program would have been an invaluable accompanying measure to taking the passport of the young Salafi convert—a group which makes up a disproportionate number of Canadian jihadis relative to their proportion of the Canadian Muslim population—yet none were available in his hometown of Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu.[7]

The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2015, partially catalyzed by Couture-Rouleau’s attack, strengthened Canada’s legislation on counter terrorism. The law notably enhanced CSIS’ power to make preventive arrests in cases where jihadis are suspected of planning to leave the country by changing the “tripwire” for preventative arrests from will carry out an attack to may carry out an attack. It also expanded the number of days a suspected jihadi can be detained from three to seven.

Policy Recommendations

Canada is held up by many scholars as an outstanding example of multiculturalism and selective immigration, which is to a great extent accurate. Despite this image, Canadian attitudes are not tolerant towards Muslims: in 2016, only 43 percent of Canadians have a net positive opinion of Muslims in contrast to 61 percentwho have a net positive opinion of immigrants; and Muslims perceive discrimination at a higher rate than any other group in Canada, with 51 percent stating that they are discriminated against often and 36 percentsaying that they are discriminated against occasionally in 2017. The spread of intolerance in Canada partially reflects the country’s failure to effectively implement the CMA.

There has been a serious performance gap between the tenets laid out in the CMA and its actual implementation. While the CMA should “encourage and promote exchanges and cooperation among the diverse communities of Canada” as the legislation states, the reality is that implementation of the CMA and this tenet in particular often falls short of its stated objectives. This deficiency has enabled the spread of “groupism,” whereby Canadian immigrants have gravitated to and formed communities centered around shared ethnicity and cultural traditions.[8]Groupism can contribute to “us vs them” dichotomies and lead to feelings of resentment and alienation amongst members of immigrant communities. This, in turn, can hinder the efforts of Canadian intelligence and law enforcement to gain the trust of these communities. Some immigrant groups have been more affected than others.[9] Many Somali-Canadians, for example, live in communities so segregated and impoverished that prominent Canadian counterterrorism scholar Lorne Dawson describes them as “Ghettoized.”[10] As a result, though Somalis represent a miniscule five percent of Canada’s Muslim population, they have produced a disproportionate number of Canada’s jihadis.

While feelings of alienation and isolation have catalyzed the growth of jihadism among immigrant communities, positive interactions between radicals and non-radicals have proven to be crucial in preventing radicals from perpetrating violence. This relationship is illustrated in an interview conducted by Gaetano Ilardi with a former Canadian jihadi and Pakistani immigrant, who stated that moving to Canada made him “re-consider his extreme beliefs as a result of his daily contact with regular Canadians.”[11]Thus, positive interactions between Canadians from different backgrounds as advocated by the CMA offer an avenue towards preventing acts of jihadi violence against Canada. Interactions that foster cross-cultural exchange should, however, go beyond tokenistic “multicultural education that focuses only on the superficial celebration of culture through festivals, cultural days, and ethnic costumes.”[12] Rather, they should be centered around the positive day-to-day interactions promoted by diverse schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces. While Canada is far better than most Western countries in creating these spaces, it is by no means perfect. Non-white Canadians are twice as likely as their white counterparts to “experience low-income rates.” Although socio-economics is not the primary motivator for radicalization in the vast majority of cases, it can contribute to isolating minorities and keeping them from interacting with Canadians of other backgrounds, allowing feelings of alienation and embitterment against Canadian society as a whole to take root.[13]

There are a variety of ways that Canada can go about better implementing the CMA. Firstly, recent immigrants, especially those who have not come to Canada as a result of selective immigration policies, should be given greater levels of post-immigration support. This support could entail a variety of initiatives ranging from increased language courses for those not already proficient in English or French to assistance in finding permanent—rather than simply temporary as it currently does—housing and job placement, which could help decrease the problem of underemployment that costs immigrants “over 4 billion in lost earnings annually.” Secondly, Canada’s government should take steps to “de-mystify” Islam for its populace. This initiative could utilize a wide variety of platforms such as the education system and social media to address common misperceptions of Islam, which could partially alleviate the sense among the majority of Canadian Muslims that discrimination against them is on the rise.[14] It would be beneficial to both Muslims and non-Muslims alike because many Canadian former-radicals have stated that their lack of basic knowledge of Islam contributed to their radicalization.[15] Together, post-immigration support and a program to demystify Islam as a whole offer two of the most workable reforms to the implementation of the CMA.

A national program that deals with deradicalization and radicalization prevention would complement a reform of the implementation of Canada’s multiculturalism policy and mitigate the threat posed by Canadian jihadis to Canada. Contrary to what some scholars argue, radicalization in Canada is conducted entirely online in very few cases.[16] Rather, as evidenced by studies conducted by Sam Mullins and Gaetano Ilardi, social interaction is still instrumental in the radicalization of Canadians. Radicals can still be identified by family, friends, and faith leaders, instead of exclusively by intelligence services as is the case with many of those who radicalize entirely online. Under Canada’s current counterterrorism policy, however, there is an intervention gap as very little can be done for identified radicals aside from preemptive detention by law enforcement in the most serious instances. Calgary’s ReDirect deradicalization and radicalization prevention program offers a template that could be reproduced on a national scale. ReDirect has been described as “an education, awareness and prevention program aimed at stopping the radicalization of young people toward violent extremism.”[17] While ReDirect is in its early stages, the program is already proving successful as a result of its strong partnership between local police, community leaders, and experts on radicalization. It allows those close to radicals and potential radicals a support system mandated to intervene independently of more heavy-handed intelligence organizations like CSIS. ReDirect epitomizes how partnering with the local Muslim community is imperative for any successful deradicalization effort in order to dispel the clash of civilizations narrative favored by radicals.

There are, however, limits to the effectiveness of community policing. ReDirect’s success is in part due to the Calgary Police Service’s overwhelming favorability with city residents.[18] This stands in stark contrast to the other two deradicalization programs that currently exist in Canada—Toronto’s Focus Rexdale and Montreal’s Center for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence—which have both been hindered by unpopular police departments, local bureaucracies, and distrust from community members.[19] A national agency dedicated to deradicalization and radicalization prevention would complement local programs and become more involved in areas where community policing proves ineffective.

The expansion of programs to cover towns and midsize cities would be particularly useful given the increasing dispersion of jihadi recruitment to locales other than Canada’s major cities. This expansion would be facilitated by revamping Canada’s Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSET), which are currently mandated to promote Canadian national security through interagency cooperation and information sharing amongst Canada’s various national, provincial, and municipal agencies such as CSIS, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada Border Services Agency, and the police. In addition to expanding this program to cover areas beyond Canada’s major cities, INSET offers an existing platform which could be coopted to coordinate between a new national deradicalization agency and INSET’s current participating agencies. The creation of a Canadian national deradicalization program that integrates existing infrastructure like INSET and community policing models like ReDirect is crucial to stymying radicalization and securing Canadian national security.

Securing Canada Will Help to Secure America and the World

While the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2015 and the decline of ISIS have resulted in a significant decrease in Canadian radicals travelling to the Islamic State to wage jihad, these two factors have also sequestered jihadis on Canadian soil with few accompanying measures to keep them from committing attacks in their homeland. In addition to its own domestic stability, Canada’s dearth of policy on combating jihadism and radicalization poses a threat to American national security. While scholars such as Phil Gurski argue that the threat posed by Canadian jihadists to the United States is often exaggerated, they concede that this threat remains plausible.[20] Utilizing the expansive and porous Canadian-American border, Canadian jihadists have attempted and carried out attacks on American soil.[21] In addition to Ahmed Ressam—who was apprehended before he could carry out his attack—Amor Ftouhi stabbed an American police officer in a deliberate act of jihadi violence in a June 2017 attack at Bishop International Airport, illustrating how Canadian jihadis continue to pose a tangible threat to the American homeland. Ultimately, the measures posited in this analysis offer pragmatic reforms to Canada’s current counterterrorism and deradicalization policies that should be implemented in order to stop the growth of the Canadian jihadi movement and mitigate the danger its poses to Canada, America, and the world.


[1] For Graphs 1, 2 & 3, for numbers on state population and Muslim populations per state as of 2016, see: CIA World Factbook, accessed June 20, 2017,; for numbers of foreign fighters per state as of December 2015, see: “Foreign Fighters,” The Soufan Group, last modified December 2015, accessed May 27, 2017,

[2] Barry Cooper, “Exposing Canada’s complicity in the export of terrorism,” Calgary Herald, April 28, 2004.

[3] “Khadr’s Father met Osama bin Laden in Pakistan during Soviet War,” National Post Canada, July 16, 2008.

[4] Cooper, “Exposing Canada’s complicity in the export of terrorism,” Calgary Herald, April 28, 2004.

[5] Lorne Dawson, “Trying to Make Sense of Homegrown Radicalization: The Case of Toronto 18,” in Religious Radicalization in Canada and Beyond, eds, Paul Bramadat and Lorne Dawson (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014), 64.

[6] Michael G. Zekulin, Canada’s New Challenges Facing Terrorism at Home (Calgary: Canadian Defense and Foreign Affairs Institute, 2014), accessed June 20, 2017,

[7] Gaetano Joe Ilardi, “Interviews with Canadian Radicals,” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 36 (2013), 716.

[8] Michael Zekulin, “Terrorism in Canada,” Journal of Military and Strategic Studies 13, no. 3 (2011), accessed June 20, 2017, .

[9] Phil Gurski, The Threat From Within (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2016), 111-112.

[10] Dawson, “Trying to Make Sense of Homegrown Radicalization,” 70.

[11] Ilardi, “Interviews with Canadian Radicals,” 721.

[12] Miriam Chiasson, “A clarification of terms: Canadian multiculturalism and Quebec interculturalism,” [Report prepared for David Howes and the Centaur Jurisprudence Project, Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism] McGill University, 2012, Accessed July 17, 2017,

[13] Sam Mullins, “Global Jihad: The Canadian Experience,” Terrorism and Political Violence 25, no. 5 (2013): 31-32, accessed June 19, 2017,; Also, see Ilardi, Interviews with Canadian Radicals,” 720.

[14] Uzma Jamil, “Trying to Make Sense of Homegrown Radicalization: The Case of Toronto 18,” in Religious Radicalization in Canada and Beyond, eds. Paul Bramadat and Lorne Dawson (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014), 148.

[15] Ilardi, “Interviews with Canadian Radicals,” 724-725.

[16] Mullins, “Global Jihad: The Canadian Experience,” 20.

[17] Peter Ottis, “The Promises and Limitations of Using Municipal Community Policing Programs to Counter Violent Extremism: Calgary’s Re-Direct as a Case Study,” Master’s Thesis, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, December 2016, 36, Accessed June 20, 2017,

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Gurski, The Threat From Within, 123-124.

[21] Canadian jihadis who have attacked or attempted to commit attacks on American soil include Ahmed Ressam and Amor Ftouhi. For information on Ressam see: “Ahmed Ressam’s Millennium Plot,” PBS Frontline, last modified  2014, accessed June 26, 2017,  For information on Ftouhi see: Jeff Karoub and Mike Householder, “Canadian Charged in US Airport Attack Investigated as Terror,”, last modified June 21, 2017, accessed July 8, 2017,

About the Author

Nate Kennedy an intern at FPRI and a senior at Haverford College

Trust (in) NATO: The Future of Intelligence Sharing within the Alliance

22 Sep 2017

By Jan Ballast for NATO Defense College (NDC)

On 21 October 2016, NATO appointed its first Assistant Secretary General for Intelligence and Security with the aim of improving intelligence collaboration within the Alliance. So, what will the new Assistant Secretary General need to focus on to succeed in this task? To answer this question, Jan Ballast examines 1) the difficulties involved in sharing secrets within a multinational organization; 2) NATO’s existing intelligence cooperation structure; 3) past proposals to improve this system, and more.

This article was originally published by the NATO Defense College in September 2017.1


On 21 October 2016, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) appointed its first Assistant Secretary General for Intelligence and Security (ASG-I&S), Dr. Arndt Freiherr Freytag von Loringhoven.2 His appointment was the result of a meeting of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) on 8-9 July 2016 in Warsaw, where the Heads of State and Government stated the requirement to strengthen intelligence within NATO.3In doing so, the Alliance underlined that improved cooperation on intelligence would increase early warning, force protection and general resilience.4

Freytag von Loringhoven is popularly called the first intelligence chief of NATO. The former German ambassador and Deputy Director of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) is responsible for setting up a new joint intelligence and security division at HQ level. This will merge both military and civilian intelligence pillars, providing intelligence support to the NAC, NATO’s senior political decision-making body, and the Military Committee (MC), the Alliance’s senior military authority. It will also advise the Secretary General (SG) on intelligence and security matters.5

At a special meeting of NATO Heads of State and Government on 25 May 2017 in Brussels, where an action plan to do more in the fight against terrorism was agreed on, it was decided to expand the new division with the establishment of a terrorism intelligence cell. According to the SG this, “[is to] improve the sharing of information among Allies, including on the threat of foreign fighters.”6 With military operations like enhanced Forward Presence on its Eastern Flank and Sea Guardian in its southern waters – confronted with old hybrid adversaries and new asymmetrical wicked problems – bolstering intelligence cooperation within the Alliance clearly answers a genuine concern.

This paper assesses the future of intelligence sharing within NATO following the appointment of the ASG-I&S. It outlines the views of different experts on intelligence cooperation and what sharing of secrets within a multinational organization means. Then it will analyze NATO’s intelligence structure, including previous proposals meant to improve intelligence collaboration. The paper continues by identifying the more challenging aspects of intelligence cooperation facing the ASG-I&S, and his do’s and don’ts concerning structure, sharing and content are discussed. Based on theory, practice and insider knowledge, nine recommendations will be made with the aim of offering Freytag von Loringhoven and his joint division a proposal to enhance intelligence as the first line of defense of the Alliance, with obvious benefits in terms of resilience.

Sharing secrets

To outsiders (counter)intelligence – the (often covert) collection, analysis, sharing and operationalization of sensitive information of military or political value – is shrouded in mystery.7 Non-intelligence personnel always find it hard to fathom why joint operations, return on investment and comprehensive approach leave their intelligence colleagues with eyes glazed over. They are ignorant of intelligence’s obscure characteristics such as trust, risk mitigation, national interest, deception and quid pro quo. For instance, intelligence is a trade-off between trusting a partner enough to share information that could endanger one’s own source, against the benefits of doing so. In the protection of national interest allies are deceived and intelligence cooperation is carefully weighed even with partners (quid pro quo, meaning ‘tit for tat’). This section of the paper outlines why reluctant attitudes to multilateral exchange will remain pivotal in intelligence.

Intelligence is, as a rule, executed by national (civilian, military and hybrid) intelligence and security services that use a combination of intelligence sources to answer Priority Intelligence Requirements (PIRs) of national operational commanders and other decision-making authorities. In the collection process, open sources set the information stage, whereas secret intelligence tends to explain the behavior of the main actors.8 States and their national services are reluctant to share sensitive, classified information with international organizations and favor cooperation on a more controllable, bilateral, case-by-case basis.9In fact, intelligence is shared only when there is a common threat perception, mutual trust, a demonstrable added value, the right type of diplomatic relationships or a combination of incentives.10 The most successful bilateral secret intelligence collaboration is the Anglo-American UKUSA Agreement, originally signed in 1946, which evolved into the exclusive multilateral so-called ‘Five Eyes’ cooperation.11

Examples of beneficial intelligence cooperation by states within international organizations, such as NATO, are much harder to find. Friedrich Korkisch noted that during the last decades of the twentieth century, intelligence within the Alliance was “the result of the early years of NATO, when it was assumed that all NATO forces would remain under national command, and strategic intelligence would be mainly national intelligence.”12 From the outset Member States shared secret information bilaterally on political and military issues with NATO; however, major countries within the Alliance, afraid of the non-secure Brussels apparatus, kept intelligence from other Members.13 Chris Clough warned that, “within recent military coalitions, intelligence-contributing nations have been mindful of the dangers of compromise by less security-conscious partners, while knowing that a degree of sharing is essential.”14Some argue that international institutions like NATO play a major role in encouraging and facilitating intelligence sharing among their member states.15Although, “even in the UN intelligence is no longer a dirty word,”16 others remain of the opinion that nations are unable to overcome mistrust, making them reluctant to engage in multilateral intelligence cooperation.17

The focus of the intelligence world changed profoundly following 9/11 with the emergence of counterterrorism (CT) and non-state actors as dominating global themes.18 Nations witnessed the introduction of collection coordinating mechanisms, such as the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) in the United States,19 and target-oriented intelligence fusion centers, such as the Joint Terrorism Analysis Center (JTAC) in the UK.20 Due to the perceived common threat, bilateral exchange of intelligence intensified and alignments were formed even with non-traditional partners. Although this new collaboration with states in Africa and the Near, Middle and Far East resulted in challenges in the realms of oversight and human rights, access to raw data and insights on CT was deemed too relevant not to engage – ‘gains’ outweighed ‘risks’.21 Following the terrorist attacks on major European cities, cooperation between the security services deepened and nations realized that solidarity as well as sharing intelligence on CT should be the norm.22

On a multilateral level, NATO, lacking its own sources by design, responded by introducing intelligence liaison and fusion elements and reaffirmed its commitment to intelligence sharing.23 However, different languages, cultures, capabilities and infrastructures proved to be structural constraints.24Unlike the Alliance, the leadership of the European Union (EU) claimed a coordinating role in support of all state-level courses of action on CT through a combination of its law enforcement agency Europol, judicial cooperation agency Eurojust and border management agency Frontex.25 The EU, not questioning state actors as first responders to terrorism and its related criminal networks, strengthened its intelligence structure and joint multilateral intelligence collaboration was suggested.26 John Nomikos noted that “while Belgium, [The Netherlands] and Austria demanded a CIA-style EU agency, powerful member states including Britain, Germany, France, Spain and Italy showed a reluctance to share intelligence.”27Following the Paris 2015 attacks, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière shattered Belgian, Dutch and Austrian dreams; “We should not focus our efforts on creating a new European intelligence service now. I cannot imagine we will be willing to give up our national sovereignty.”28

Intelligence within the Alliance

This section discusses intelligence structures within NATO pre-2016 and previous attempts to improve its intelligence cooperation. Prior to 9/11, intelligence originating from UKUSA/’Five Eyes’, was dominant within the Alliance and other Member States relied on it in times of trouble. This information would not automatically be shared, however, due to mistrust of new Allies and insecure dissemination and storage facilities.29 The United States, primus inter pares within the ‘Five Eyes’ community, was instrumental in establishing common procedures and terms which facilitated intelligence sharing,30 but, as Jennifer Sims pointed out, ”the quality of the exchange will generally be determined by the least trusted (most suspected) member of the group.”31 As a result of politicization, decentralization and a lack of common culture and trust, the Americans – and British – never truly believed in the Alliance as a multinational intelligence cooperation platform.32 Moreover, the United States, reassured by its experiences during the 1999 Kosovo Crisis, saw no need to strengthen NATO’s intelligence structures. According to Wesley Curtis, “thanks in large part to its satellites, superior UAVs [Unmanned Aerial Vehicle] and reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft, the United States met approximately 95 [percent] of NATO intelligence requirements [on Kosovo].”33

Strategic level

Until the appointment of the ASG-I&S in October 2016, political-strategic intelligence in NATO HQ was divided between civilian and military pillars, despite the Alliance already agreeing in 2004 in Istanbul to “a review of current intelligence structures.”34 Not only the official NATO structures, but also the intelligence and security services of the Member States, acting as independent bodies, were from the outset organized accordingly. For the civilian side, national security and hybrid services joined together in the Civilian Intelligence Committee (CIC, with the NATO Special Committee as its forerunner), whereas the national military intelligence and hybrid services made the Military Intelligence Committee (MIC, formerly known as the NATO Intelligence Board) their platform. Consequently, the informal yearly Joint CIC/MIC November Plenary brought almost eighty representatives to the table. What is more, according to a senior staff member, there were several instances where the CIC and MIC representatives from the same Member State openly disagreed at the table.35 This did not improve intelligence sharing substantially, maybe even hindered it.

On the civilian side, the International Staff (IS) in Brussels accommodated the Intelligence Unit (IU), founded in 2011 following a request from the SG. In principle, IU reported to the NAC and in copy to CIC. CIC, chaired by the nations on an annual rotating basis was responsible for matters of espionage and terrorist or related threats. In its day-to- day work, it was supported by the NATO Office of Security (NOS),36 IS’ counterintelligence agency, which advised the SG and the Security Committee (SC) on security concerns and policy matters.37 The Intelligence Division (INT) of the International Military Staff (IMS), known as IMS-INT, reported to the MC and in copy to MIC. The civilian IU and the military IMS-INT would both draft non-agreed intelligence reports on a daily basis, including strategic foresight, and provide intelligence support to all NATO HQ elements, NATO Member States and NATO Commands. IMS-INT also exclusively provided NATO-agreed strategic early warning – the so-called NATO Intelligence Warning System (NIWS) – and situational awareness – General Intelligence Estimate (NSIE) or MC-161 series – to all NATO HQ entities and nations.38 Finally, the Situation Center (SITCEN), embedded in IMS at HQ level, provided 24/7 current intelligence from open sources and spot reports.

The global terrorist threat and the Alliance’s engagement in CT-inspired military missions resulted in the growing importance within NATO of intelligence sharing on terrorism. As a consequence, in 2003 the Terrorist Threat Intelligence Unit (TTIU) was created at HQ,39 followed by the joint IS/IMS Intelligence Liaison Unit (ILU) for the exchange of information with non-NATO partners.40 In 2010, the NAC agreed to establish the Emerging Security Challenges Division (ESCD); ESCD was intended to address a growing range of non-traditional risks and challenges, focusing on CT, cyber defense, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and energy security.41 In the process, ESCD’s Strategic Analysis Capability (SAC), drafting reports based on open source, diplomatic reports and intelligence, evolved into another HQ assessment asset. SAC, with cyber and so-called science-for-peace as its main priorities, also risked overlap with IMS-INT’s NIWS, NATO’s early warning tool for (un)known unknowns.

Figure 1. NATO HQ intelligence pre-2016

NATO’s Brussels-based political-strategic agencies are connected to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), located in Mons, Belgium. SHAPE is the military-strategic level HQ of Allied Command Operations (ACO) and responsible for the planning and execution of all NATO operations.42Consequently, Mons provides guidance to its subordinate organizations, including its Joint Force Commands (JFC) and multinational units on NATO’s Eastern Flank.43 The J2 Division of SHAPE, reporting to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Intelligence (DCOS OPI), is tasked with operational intelligence production and contributing to the development of ACO’s intelligence policy, as well as providing (counter)intelligence and security advice to its overall commander, SACEUR.44 The intelligence division became an integral part of the Comprehensive Crisis and Operations Management Centre (CCOMC), which SHAPE in 2012 decided to create to analyze developing crisis situations and be ‘NATO’s Military Eye’ on the world.45 As such, J2 Division contributes to the comprehensive assessments for strategic awareness provided by CCOMC, SHAPE’s innovative fusion center conceived to break down stovepipes. In Mons, the 650th US Military Intelligence Group/Allied Counterintelligence Activity deals with day-to-day counterintelligence, which includes counterespionage and the protection of SHAPE’s key personnel, resources and critical infrastructure.46

Operational level

Aiming to correct mistakes during the Balkan Wars and in support of ongoing operations in Afghanistan, Allied Command Transformation (ACT) determined that NATO should adapt in order to meet future operational (and tactical) intelligence needs.47 Based on the commitment displayed during the Prague Summit of 2002, the NATO Intelligence Fusion Center (NIFC) was created in Molesworth, UK, in 2006, allowing Member States to jointly develop, fuse and share information.48 For the United States, as framework nation and main provider of both classified and the best available open source information, NIFC served to invest in non-US personnel, incorporate intelligence input from Member States and produce non-agreed all-source intelligence.49 The driving force behind NIFC was Gen James Jones (SACEUR 2003-2006), who acknowledged that the agency, under the auspices of DCOS OPI, remained outside national and international command structures, while at the same time supporting SHAPE’s J2 Division and CCOMC.50As such, (elements of) NIFC could be forward deployed or provide reach-back for deployed NATO forces, while at the same time producing draft intelligence reports for NATO and the nations.

At the Chicago Summit of 2012, the Alliance launched the Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JISR) initiative. Four years later in Warsaw, NATO leaders expressed their intention to promote intelligence sharing beyond JISR, by using and optimizing NATO and other multinational platforms and networks.51 In June 2016, a rewarding JISR exercise was conducted with 400 participants from seventeen Member States, working from ten different locations. It was concluded that the 2016 edition of Unified Vision, managed by ACT and NATO HQ, had improved the Alliance’s ability to share and process complex operational intelligence aimed at supporting commanders of multinational units.52Although the exercise included the use of valuable national assets such as UAVs, whether Member States in future will share critical national information or are prepared to provide insight into their national modus operandi is yet to be determined.

Mission commanders and intelligence experts have concluded that the intelligence provided during recent NATO operations lacked the strategic dimension. Maj Gen Michael Flynn experienced the inability to include cultural, social and demographical aspects to combat the Taliban in Afghanistan.53 He quoted Gen Stanley McChrystal, stating that “the conflict will be won by persuading the population, not by destroying the enemy.”54 US Army Lt Gen Mark Hertling (ret) judged the information on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) too narrow and target-oriented, whereas ‘big-picture’ intelligence on how to tackle ISIL and understanding its global impact was equally important.55 This is even more so following the warning by Gen John Allen, the former US Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, that ISIL views the coalition (including NATO) as an “existential threat” and Europe as the battleground for its counterattack.56 Concerning Libya, Adam Svendsen noted the deployment of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) tools alongside prioritized target acquisition, to provide “effective situational and battlespace awareness concerning Gadaffi’s forces.”57 However, the slow release of actionable intelligence during the air campaign in Libya created mistrust between France and the United States, once more underlining NATO’s problematic intelligence sharing apparatus.58

The agreement at the Warsaw Summit in 2016 to create the position of the ASG-I&S was the fulfillment of a long-cherished American wish.59 Based on best practices from recent military missions, coordination in (and from) Brussels was thought to be instrumental in synchronizing NATO’s strategic and operational intelligence structures. First and foremost, however, it served to address the United States’ annoyance with the many different and inefficient intelligence agencies within the Alliance. Although the appointment of the new intelligence chief by no means implied the start of unrestricted American information sharing with NATO, it was argued that the ASG-I&S, owing to his level and mandate, would put earlier coordination efforts in the shade and surely improve the cooperation between the civilian and military intelligence pillars in HQ. This section deals with the ASG-I&S’ priorities, the positioning of his new unit, and his “do’s” and “don’t’s.”

NATO’s intelligence future

On 12 April 2017, the importance of the new position of the ASG-I&S was illustrated when Freytag von Loringhoven was the only ASG to join the SG on his first visit to US President Donald Trump. However, although NATO’s intelligence chief is an influential person within the Alliance, his Deputy, US Brig Gen Paul Nelson, told him upon arrival at the end of 2016 that he would have access to NATO releasable information only and not to all US intelligence.60Intelligence is the first line of defense and therefore instrumental in making the Alliance and its Member States more resilient. The ASG-I&S will need to address the future structure, sharing procedures and content of NATO intelligence.


Inspired by interviews with (American ex-) senior staff members of the Alliance, Brian Foster in 2013 pleaded for enhanced efficiency and improved quality of NATO’s intelligence. He suggested the creation of an Assistant Secretary General for Intelligence (ASG-I) who should be tasked with overseeing and ultimately merging IU, IMS-INT and SAC, thus putting an end to duplication, over-tasking and competition in Brussels.61 Foster claimed that, “[IMS-INT, IU and SAC] work on 75 [percent] of the same topics with only slight variations of focus.”62 Others also stressed the need to change NATO’s intelligence structure, arguing that enhanced coordination would lead to more timely and accurate information.63 Thus – maybe except for some intelligence bureaucrats in Brussels who may have hoped the intentions of the Istanbul 2004 Communiqué would have been forgotten – the appointment of Freytag von Loringhoven in 2016 as the first ASG-I&S was welcomed across the board.

The ASG-I&S has already started to transform NATO’s HQ intelligence structure into the new Joint Intelligence and Security Division (JISD). In April 2017, the Assistant Secretary General on Emerging Security Challenges (ASG-ESC), Amb Sorin Ducaru, applauded the ASG-I&S for merging military and civilian intelligence into JISD. While the implementation of the new unit is still a work in progress, he observed that IU and IMS-INT no longer distributed the same reports, but that fused intelligence was now being received. Ducaru added that to avoid duplication, programs and themes were being closely coordinated between ESCD/SAC and JISD and that from his perspective as a consumer, positive results were visible.64 However, the incorporation of SAC into JISD remains a logical next step, as this would enrich the ASG-I&S’ intelligence and early warning products, as well as further excluding duplication of activities. Ducaru predicted that “a merger of [the military] MIC and [civilian] CIC is possible, [but] closer cooperation with SHAPE is more difficult, due to different cultures.”65

Within the JISD the merger has resulted in a clash between the civilian and military intelligence pillars.66Although this is a normal reaction to an interagency fusion process due to cultural differences, a fundamental discussion about security continues to challenge the ASG-I&S. The bottom line is that concepts like ‘domestic, security, risk’ can be used to typecast CIC/IU, and its representatives adhere to the ‘need to know’ principle, whereas the culture of MIC/ IMS-INT is characterized by ‘foreign, intelligence, gain’ while its exponents favor the ‘need to share’ approach. “It is confidence building between two entities that have different strings of DNA,” according to a senior staff member.67 Some of CIC’s national civilian services find it unacceptable that the military are sharing intelligence on the Baltic region with non-NATO members Sweden and Finland, whereas the military from an operational perspective view this cooperation as justified and necessary. Furthermore, the Romanians in CIC lead the move to shelve the allegedly unsafe Battlefield Information Collection and Exploitation System (BICES), NATO’s basic military intelligence sharing technology.

Unlike the uncontroversial absorption of HQ’s small partner liaison element ILU, some services within CIC are not convinced that the temporary integration of the counterintelligence agency into JISD should obtain permanent status; it is contended that its unique features would not be sufficiently preserved and thus NOS should once more be independent and report to CIC. The tasking of the terrorism cell in JISD could add fuel to this fire, for the issue of foreign fighters is controversial to national civilian and military services. Domestic civilian security services claim responsibility because of the threat returning foreign fighters pose to their home countries, whereas military foreign intelligence services argue for a lead role due to the risk for national forces deployed in mission areas. This controversy does not bode well for the positioning of the terrorism cell within JISD. However, if NATO should focus on foreign fighters and terrorism as a threat to deployed forces in theaters of operation and leave homegrown terrorism and domestic threats to state actors and the EU, the preparedness to share intelligence within the Alliance might increase.

Figure 2. NATO HQ intelligence post-2016

Besides different cultures, NATO HQ and SHAPE have different mandates that make a merger of both intelligence structures less desirable. A more centralized entity at HQ level should not evolve into a bureaucratic directorate jeopardizing military interests at strategic and operational level. Military experts seem especially reticent about too radical changes to NATO’s intelligence structure. According to a German staff officer, an intelligence merger should not endanger military priorities and the MC and its Chairman as an independent tasking authority; “Germany prefers getting better access to already existing information. We do not need a large central staff or regional intelligence centers. [NIFC at] Molesworth can collect and provide.”68 The ASG-I& S should settle for investing in permanent liaison officers between his JISD and SHAPE’s J2 Division to stimulate transparency. As such, he would create good insight into what Mons is doing and vice versa. Finally, Freytag von Loringhoven should coordinate the activities of HQ and SHAPE with DCOS OPI, making sure that JISD principally deals with political-strategic intelligence and J2 Division exclusively with military-strategic intelligence. General information should be shared simultaneously between both agencies, including NIFC, without reservations.

The ASG-I&S’ first priority, therefore, should be the implementation of the merger of all intelligence elements at HQ level into an effective JISD. Freytag von Loringhoven could accomplish this in his talks with the chair of CIC and MIC, who as a trio recently started meeting on an almost regular basis.69 In order to be efficient, the ASG-I&S should be given the mandate to coordinate all intelligence activities at HQ level to avoid duplication of NATO’s scarce capacity. Currently, at least three agencies at NATO HQ are more or less involved in strategic foresight, and the same three also deal with aspects of strategic early warning. As discussed earlier, a merger of JISD, NOS and ESCD/SAC, the three duplicating agencies identified, not only seems a logical one but should be implemented without further delay. The less preferred option is the continuation of SAC as an analysis entity without the use of intelligence – making it a paper tiger – whereas the renewed separation of NOS would resurrect the two intelligence pillars and breed discord.


To be successful, the ASG-I&S should not try to convince Member States to start sharing sensitive, classified intelligence. Being himself a former Deputy of the BND, he will know that Member States and their national intelligence and security services are by nature reluctant to share secrets within NATO. Jennifer Sims already predicted the outcome of such pressure; “If “jointness” [in intelligence] is driven more by political necessity than collection requirements, liaison will tend to be heavily defensive in posture, implicitly adversarial, and therefore hollow, despite political and military leaders’ contrary expectations.”70For instance, although France is likely to cooperate on intelligence if strategic interest is shared and if mutual boots are on the ground,71 it remains unsympathetic to integration and cooperation within any multilateral environment. A senior official of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained that France would always want to preserve its strategic autonomy.72 In sum, the second priority for the ASG-I&S should be accepting the continuation of bilateral arrangements between NATO and its Member States.

Notwithstanding the prominent position of major European nations, the ASG-I&S as his third priority should acknowledge a dominant role for the United States. The United States is not only the Member with the most (operational) intelligence to share, but it will also be crucial in facilitating (future) technological infrastructure to enable the exchange process. If the United States does not bridge the technological gap within the Alliance, NATO’s interconnectivity and interoperability will be at risk.73 Air operations and Joint Special Operations (JSO) especially require the right infrastructure to achieve effective sharing and dissemination of actionable and time-sensitive intelligence to maintain information dominance.74Meanwhile, the ASG-I&S should invest in and expand existing enablers such as the underused BICES,75 in close cooperation with SHAPE/NIFC, embracing best practices from missions like joint databases and the Afghan Mission Network (AMN).76 In the process, he should safeguard reciprocity and intervene if information is one-way, as is the case with CT – namely to and not from the United States.77

Should Freytag von Loringhoven want to address other constraints of multilateral intelligence sharing such as over-classification, disclosure and oversight as his fourth priority, he needs to get the United States on board to solve. In 2011, the Inspector General of the US Department of Defense recommended an update of the US disclosure policy and procedures concerning sharing of intelligence in a coalition environment.78 At the same time, the ASG-I&S should insist, regardless of CIC/NOS, that SC tackles over-classification as per NATO’s security policy and strives for the widest dissemination possible. As Adriana Seagle observed, “Though a necessary security capability in the 21st century networked world, the shift from “need to know” to “need to share” has not been smooth.”79 Besides consensus on internal sharing, the United States and other Member States will also need to consider the usefulness of increased intelligence cooperation with the EU. Finally, NATO’s role in the growing international intelligence exchange raises the question of democratic accountability and calls for multinational (administrative) oversight.80 It would appear that the ASG-I&S, on behalf of the Member States, is the best alternative for addressing this liability within the Alliance.

As his fifth priority, the ASG-I&S should develop sharing as a process, slowly bridging the gap between bilateral, case-by-case liaison and structured multilateral intelligence sharing. As already discussed above, he should continue to accept existing bilateral and multilateral cooperation within the Alliance. Coalitions of the willing, able, likeminded and trusted should be allowed, based on NATO’s core tasks, to form communities of interest – already technically facilitated by BICES – and start an association process respecting ‘need to know, need to share’ and excluding ‘nice to know’. Chris Clough warned, “Alliances and coalitions have traditionally been weak in terms of intelligence: as the number of partners increases, so the level of guaranteed security decreases.”81 Although these topic- and mission-oriented coalitions would still depend on the willingness of individual Member States to share intelligence,82 the chances of successful cooperation would increase because it is easier for a few Allies to collaborate and find common ground than for NATO as a whole. Examples of such ad hoc alliances did materialize in Afghanistan and the Middle East, with secure communication and information systems as a key enabler. Preferably, JISD or SHAPE J2 Division/NIFC could take on a coordinating role in such future communities of interest.


The fact that NATO has no consensus definition of its threat environment, nor a ranking list of its priorities, complicates the ASG-I&S’ task. Earlier, terrorism, mission support, counterespionage and Russian hybrid warfare activities were identified as his main areas of concern.83 More recently, the foreign fighters’ threat was specifically added.84 However, even on agreed threats there are fundamental differences of opinion within the Alliance. Adriana Seagle acknowledges that “whereas the United States and UK deal with terrorism in the military realm, allies belonging to the EU address terrorism in the domain of law and crime prevention.”85 Conflicting interests of Member States imply that the ASG-I& S, as his sixth priority, should balance intelligence on all the three core tasks of NATO. In the realm of collective defense, Russia and its hybrid (cyber inclusive) warfare remains his main intelligence focus, whereas in the domain of cooperative security, military support to countering terrorist threats is his central theme. Concerning crisis management, the ASG-I&S has to concentrate on (potential) military missions abroad preventing or fighting terrorism and operations mitigating or in assistance of refugee and migration (humanitarian) crises.

Absence of a clear and present danger results in national secrets not being shared with NATO, while a rapidly changing world with wicked and immediate problems necessitates improved early warning to enhance resilience. Confronted with non-state actors and (un)known unknowns such as nanotechnologies, cybernetic organisms, biological agents and energy security, timeliness and ‘jointness’ is essential. Therefore, Freytag von Loringhoven should further develop open source capability within NATO and invest in social media analysis and exploitation.86 As Lt Gen Samuel Wilson, former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), stated, “Ninety percent of intelligence comes from open sources. […] The real intelligence hero is Sherlock Holmes, not James Bond.”87 Fusion of open source and social media analysis with existing intelligence from other disciplines guarantees all-source available products. This should be the ASG-I&S’ seventh priority and is especially relevant for strategic foresight and early warning. In the process, JISD should closely cooperate with SHAPE/NIFC and copy best practices especially from the All Source Intelligence Centre (ASIC), which was instrumental in the fusion of innovative and actionable ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence on Afghanistan.88

Although it is highly unlikely that NATO will ever adopt the full, free and open data access policy of the European Space Agency (ESA), the high-resolution imagery of up to 10 meters provided by ESA is a perfect example of valuable open source information. Although it is not the same quality as the Very High Resolution (VHR) secret products from military satellites (up to 30 centimeters), for NIFC in Molesworth and non-NATO entities such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and EU’s Frontex, the ESA data is already an important asset.89 Indeed, NATO could thus use open sources to counter information operations in the hybrid warfare domain. In the near future, full access to live streaming videos from space, already available from ESA’s Sentinels, but not yet openly accessible,90could be a crucial next step in intelligence fusion within the Alliance, while at the same time giving NATO’s (non-state) adversaries advantages unheard of before.

In association with DCOS OPI, the ASG-I&S should support balanced all-source intelligence for commanders and other decision makers. As studies on NATO’s support of recent missions have underlined, operations are in need of target-oriented actionable intelligence as well as strategic ‘big-picture’ information. Therefore, the eighth priority for Freytag von Loringhoven is to make JISD, once it receives relevant information, supportive of the military-strategic and operational intelligence efforts of the Alliance. The ASG-I&S and DCOS OPI should strongly advocate intelligence cooperation in operational missions, where lifesaving actionable intelligence matters more than controversial national strategic interests. On issues like force protection, maximal exchange of information at all levels, coordinated by communities of interest, must be the norm. Stewart Webb, acknowledging that “intelligence sharing is the ultimate demonstration of trust and interoperability,”91 suggested that prior to a new mission, nations should provide intelligence caveats to NATO, while in theatre intelligence specialization should be considered.92 In general, inter-NATO understanding abroad would be enhanced through genuine multilateral training of intelligence personnel and systems.

Ultimately, success or failure of the ASG-I&S is subject to the relevance of his intelligence products to the consumers. Lars Nicander wrote, “Intelligence is only as good as the value assigned to it by the users.”93Similarly, Björn Fägersten called for more interaction between policymakers and intelligence analysts, while pointing out that “[in the end] effective intelligence support is dependent on the clear vision of what is to be supported.”94 Close(r) interaction with the consumers of intelligence – as long as non-politicized intelligence is the outcome – will improve the perception of timeliness, accuracy and reliability (reputation), as well as the weighing of the ready availability, ease and flexibility of use and comprehensiveness (precision) of the products.95Therefore, the ASG-I&S’ ninth priority should be to build bridges between consumers and producers, starting with the coordination and interpretation of the former’s requirements. To help accomplish this task, Member States should send professional career intelligence officers to JISD or the ASG-I&S should be allowed to self-hire. In addition, academic outreach (through seminars) and interaction with think tanks would be beneficial. Collection is meaningless without analysis, since it is not the collection, but the analysis that creates value.


Do NATO Member States trust each other enough to cooperate on intelligence and do the national intelligence and security services trust their Alliance and its new intelligence chief to successfully manage the sharing of intelligence? Richard Aldrich was skeptical, “States will happily place some of their military forces under allied command, but hesitate to act similarly in the area of intelligence, where coordination rather than control is the most they will accept.”96 Multinational intelligence cooperation will always be characterized by issues such as lack of a common threat perception, national interest, culture and (political dis)trust and consequently, national services are unlikely to share with NATO as a whole and prefer bilateral arrangements. Any Member State is first a state and then a member. As long as nations are unable to multilaterally share secret intelligence on (homegrown) terrorist groups and threats, NATO, without a clear and present danger, will not witness structured and transparent intelligence sharing; open source exchange being the exception.

Whether the ASG-I&S will succeed in creating a joint all-source intelligence structure and thus oversight, will depend largely on the ability of the national intelligence and security services to adopt a constructive attitude in relation to this assignment. The fundamental differences of opinion between the civilian and military pillars in Brussels – CIC vs MIC – are a mirror image of the Member States, where services instinctively are in competition rather than cooperating. The fact that the emergence of CT and hybrid (cyber inclusive) warfare has blurred the boundaries between ‘foreign intelligence’ and ‘domestic security’ collection, as well as between traditional civilian and military intelligence, not only enhances connectivity, but also challenges the services’ raison d’être as well as their esprit de corps. Although the merger of civilian/military and security/intelligence is a controversial one, the ASG-I&S’ ultimate success – dependent on his empowerment by the Member States and NATO – could set an example for nations and other organizations to follow.

To be successful, the ASG-I&S will have to continuously address the future structure, sharing and content of NATO intelligence. His main focus should be on structure and strive to (1) merge all intelligence entities at HQ level into JISD, removing discord and duplication, while at the same time refrain from trying to integrate intelligence structures of NATO HQ and SHAPE.

In order to succeed with regards to sharing, the ASG-I& S should (2) accept the continuation of bilateral arrangements between NATO and its Member States, without pressuring nations into sharing national secrets. In doing so, he should (3) acknowledge the lead nation role for the United States on intelligence, including its administering of a secure, technologized common sharing infrastructure for the Alliance. In coordination with the United States, he should (4) address constraints in multilateral intelligence sharing such as over-classification, disclosure and oversight. Simultaneously, but incrementally, the ASG-I&S should (5) invest in bridging the gap between bilateral, case-by-case liaison and structured multilateral sharing, by allowing coalitions of the willing, able, likeminded and trusted to form (topic- or mission-oriented) communities of interest.

Content-wise, the ASG-I&S should (6) balance all-source intelligence on all the three core tasks of NATO, and at the same time (7) promote the use of fused open source and social media analysis for strategic foresight and early warning exploitation purposes thus enhancing resilience. His JISD should (8) support, if circumstances so require, the military-strategic and operational intelligence efforts of the Alliance. Ultimately, the success or failure of the ASG-I&S depends on his added value, so he should (9) strive to provide intelligence products relevant to the consumers.

Intelligence is the Alliance’s first line of defense for all three of NATO’s core tasks. Confronted with (un) known unknowns, improved intelligence sharing allows NATO to be more resilient and enables the Alliance to identify at least some unknowns. Therefore, Member States should trust in NATO more and trust the ability of the ASG-I&S to coordinate and further develop the process of intelligence cooperation. Consequently, if he observes the nine recommended priorities, he should receive the outright support of all national intelligence and security services of the Member States, as well as the Alliance’s independent intelligence bodies CIC and MIC. This will allow him to strengthen and optimize NATO’s intelligence collection, analysis and dissemination process. If thus supported, the ASG-I&S could set the stage for a future where, if the right conditions prevail, more secret intelligence will be shared within the Alliance.


1 Jan Ballast MA is a senior staff member, involved with foreign intelligence, mission support and national security, working for the Ministry of Defence of The Netherlands. He has held numerous analytical and operational positions in both The Hague and missions abroad. The views expressed here are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Government of The Netherlands or any of its departments or agencies. An earlier version of this article was presented at the NATO Defense College, Rome, Italy, in May 2017. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of NATO or the NATO Defense College.

2 “Deutscher wird erster Geheimdienst-Chef der NATO,” RP Online, 21 October 2016. Accessed at on 13 May 2017; Julian Barnes, “NATO Appoints Its First Intelligence Chief,” Wall Street Journal, 21 October 2016. Accessed at on 13 May 2017.

3 “Warsaw Summit Communiqué Issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Warsaw 8-9 July 2016, 09 Jul. 2016, Press Release (2016) 100.” NATO. Accessed at on 13 May 2017.

Ibidem; Jamie Shea, “Resilience: a core element of collective defence,” NATO Review Magazine, 2016. Accessed at on 13 May 2017.

5 “Ex-BND-Vize übernimmt Geheimdienstposten bei NATO,” n-tv, 24 October 2016. Accessed at on 13 May 2017.

6 “NATO leaders agree to do more to fight terrorism and ensure fairer burden sharing,” 25 May 2017, NATO. Accessed at on 25 May 2017.

7 (Counter)intelligence is about acquiring ‘decision advantage’ by getting better information for one’s strategy than one’s opponents gain for theirs, or by degrading the competitor’s decision-making through denial, disruption, deception, or surprise. The latter category of activity is called counterintelligence. See: Jennifer Sims, “Intelligence to counter terror: The importance of all-source fusion,” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 22, No. 1, 2007, p. 40. In this paper, no differentiation is made. For the definition see: GLOBSEC Policy Institute, GLOBSEC Intelligence Reform Initiative. Reforming Transatlantic Counter-terrorism, Bratislava, GLOBSEC Policy Institute, 2017, p. 6.

8 The basic collection disciplines are the following: Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT), Human-Source Intelligence (HUMINT), Imagery Intelligence (IMINT), Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) and Signals Intelligence (SIGINT). See: “What is Intelligence?” Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Accessed at on 14 May 2017. Also, Acoustic Intelligence (ACINT), Measurement and Signature Intelligence (MASINT) and Medical Intelligence (MEDINT) were added, see: James J. Wirtz and Jon J. Rosenwasser, “From Combined Arms to Combined Intelligence: Philosophy, Doctrine and Operations,” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 25, No. 6, 2010, pp. 730-739; Ministerie van Defensie, Joint Doctrine Publicatie 2 “Inlichtingen” (JDP-2) (Den Haag: Ministerie van Defensie, 2012), pp.76-82. More recently, Cyber Intelligence/Digital Network Intelligence (CYBINT/DNINT), Financial Intelligence (FININT), Social Media Intelligence (SOCMINT) and Technical Intelligence (TECHINT) were identified.

9 Stéphane Lefebvre, “The Difficulties and Dilemmas of International Intelligence Cooperation,” International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, Vol. 16, No. 4, 2003, pp. 527-529; Joseph W. Wippl, “Intelligence Exchange Through InterIntel,” International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, Vol. 25, No. 11, 2012, p. 8.

10 Lefebvre, “The Difficulties and Dilemmas,” pp. 528-529; Chris Clough, “Quid Pro Quo: The Challenges of International Strategic Intelligence Cooperation,” International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, Vol. 17, No. 4, 2004, pp. 603-605; Cees Wiebes, “De problemen rond de internationale intelligence liaison,” Justitiële Verkenningen, Vol. 30, No. 3, 2004, pp. 79-80; Derek S. Reveron, “Old Allies, New Friends: Intelligence Sharing in the War on Terror,” Orbis, Vol. 50, No. 3, Summer 2006, pp. 456-457; Monica Den Boer, “Counter-Terrorism, Security and Intelligence in the EU: Governance Challenges for Collection, Exchange and Analysis,” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 30, No. 2-3, 2015, p. 404; Jonathan N. Brown and Alex Farrington, “Democracy and the depth of intelligence sharing: why regime type hardly matters,” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 32, No. 1, 2017, p. 68.

11 See for the UKUSA Agreement between the First Party (the United States) and Second Parties (the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand): Richard J. Aldrich, “British Intelligence and the Anglo-American ‘Special Relationship’ during the Cold War,” Review of International Studies, Vol. 24, No. 1, March 1998, pp. 331-351; James Igoe Walsh, The International Politics of Intelligence Sharing New York: Columbia University Press, 2009, pp. 31-44; Adam D. M. Svendsen, Intelligence Cooperation and the War on Terror: Anglo-American Security Relations After 9/11, London and New York, Routledge, 2010.

12 Friedrich W. Korkisch, NATO Gets Better Intelligence: New Challenges Require New Answers to Satisfy Intelligence Needs for Headquarters and Deployed/Employed Forces,Vienna, IAS, 2010, p. 8.

13 Clough, “Quid Pro Quo,” p. 604; Walsh, The International Politics, pp. 47-48; Don Munton and Karima Fredj, “Sharing Secrets: A Game Theoretic Analysis of International Intelligence Cooperation,” International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, Vol. 26, No. 4, 2013, p. 673.

14 Clough, “Quid Pro Quo,” p. 602.

15 Simon Duke, “Intelligence, security and information flows in CFSP,” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 21, No. 4, 2006, p. 624; Adam Svendsen, “The globalization of intelligence since 9/11: Frameworks and operational parameters,” Cambridge Review of International Affairs, Vol. 21, No. 1, 2008, p. 133; Martin J. Ara, Thomas Brand and Brage A. Larssen, Help A Brother Out: A Case Study in Multinational Intelligence Sharing, NATO SOF, Monterey: Naval Postgraduate School, December 2011, p. 45; Adriana N. Seagle, “Intelligence Sharing Practices Within NATO: An English School Perspective,” International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, Vol. 28, No. 3, 2015, p. 569.

16 Briefing by Maj Gen Adrian Foster (UK), UN Deputy Military Adviser, Department of Peacekeeping Operations, UN HQ, New York, 11 May 2017.

17 Lefebvre, “The Difficulties and Dilemmas,” p. 537; Richard J. Aldrich, “Transatlantic Intelligence and Security Cooperation,” International Affairs, Vol. 80, No. 4, 2004, p. 737; Clough, “Quid Pro Quo,” p. 612; Björn Fägersten, “For EU eyes only? Intelligence and European security,” European Union Institute for Security Studies, Brief No. 8, March 2016, pp. 2-3.

18 Walsh, The International Politics, pp. 110-131; Patrick F. Walsh and Seumas Miller, “Rethinking ‘Five Eyes’ Security Intelligence Collection Policies and Practice Post Snowden,” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 31, No. 3, 2016, p. 357.

19 See: John A. Gentry, “Has the ODNI Improved U.S. Intelligence Analysis?” International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, Vol. 28, No. 4, 2015, pp. 637-661, especially p. 637.

20 Lars D. Nicander, “Understanding Intelligence Community Innovation in the Post-9/11 World,” International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, Vol. 24, No. 3, 2011, pp. 534-568, especially p. 561.

21 Reveron, “Old Allies, New Friends,” pp.462-467; Walsh, The International Politics, pp. 121-128; Adam D.M. Svendsen, “Developing International Intelligence Liaison Against Islamic State: Approaching “One for All and All for One”?” International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, Vol. 29, No. 2, 2016, pp. 265-268.

22 Civilian security services cooperating in the so-called Club de Berne (CdB) regularly meet in the Counter-Terrorism Group (CTG). Focusing on Islamic extremist terrorism, CTG facilitates operational liaison and provides general threat assessments. Representatives of CTG on a semi-permanent basis, hosted by the Dutch domestic General Intelligence and Security Service (GISS, AIVD in Dutch), assess the jihadist threat using a joint database. See: GLOBSEC, GLOBSEC Intelligence Reform Initiative, p. 16.

23 “Prague Summit Declaration Issued by the Heads of State and Government of the North Atlantic Council in Prague on 21 November 2002.” NATO. Accessed at on 13 May 2017; “Istanbul Summit Communiqué Issued by the Heads of State and Government of the North Atlantic Council, Press Release (2004)096, 28 June 2004.” NATO. Accessed at on 13 May 2017; John R. Deni, “Beyond Information Sharing: NATO and the Foreign Fighter Threat,” Parameters, Vol. 45, No. 2, Summer 2015, pp. 55-57.

24 Claudia Bernasconi, “NATO’s Fight Against Terrorism. Where Do We Stand?” NATO Defense College Research Paper, No. 66, April 2011, p. 5; Seagle, “Intelligence Sharing Practices,” pp. 559-560.

25 Glen M. Segell, “Intelligence Agency Relations Between the European Union and the U.S.” International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, Vol. 17, No. 1, 2004, p. 87.

26 Duke, “Intelligence, security and information flows in CFSP,” pp. 616-624; Den Boer, “Counter-Terrorism, Security and Intelligence in the EU,” pp. 403-410.

27 John Nomikos, “A European Intelligence Service for Confronting Terrorism,” International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, Vol. 18, No. 2, 2005, pp.

191-203. As cited in: Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones, “Rise, Fall and Regeneration: From CIA to EU,” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 24, No. 1, 2009, pp. 115-116.

28 Maia De La Baume and Giulia Paravicini, “Europe’s Intelligence ‘Black Hole’. Paris attacks spur calls for a European FBI, but many remain reluctant to share intelligence,” POLITICO, 3 December 2015. Accessed at on 14 May 2017.

29 John Kriendler, NATO Intelligence and Early Warning, Conflict Studies Research Center, Special Series 06/13, Swindon, Conflict Studies Research Center, 2006, p. 3; Korkisch, NATO Gets Better Intelligence, p. 41; Bernasconi, “NATO’s Fight Against Terrorism,” p. 5; Seagle, “Intelligence Sharing Practices,” pp. 558-559.

30 Daniel G. Pronk, “Sharing the Burden, Sharing the Secrets. The Fulcrum of Transatlantic Intelligence Cooperation,” draft for Conference “Creating and Challenging the Transatlantic Intelligence Community” presented at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 30 March-1 April 2017, p. 2.

31 Jennifer E. Sims, “Foreign Intelligence Liaison: Devils, Deals, and Details,” International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, Vol. 19, No. 2, 2006, p. 202.

32 Seagle, “Intelligence Sharing Practices,” p. 560.

33 Wesley R. Curtis, A “special relationship”: Bridging the NATO intelligence gap, Monterey, Naval Postgraduate School, June 2013, p. 8.

34 “Istanbul Summit Communiqué,” 28 June 2004.

35 Email correspondence with a senior NATO staff member, 17 May 2017.

36 “Civilian Intelligence Committee (CIC).” NATO. Accessed at on 15 May 2017.

37 “Todd J. Brown. Director NATO Office of Security.” NATO. Accessed at on 14 May 2017.

38 “International Military Staff.” NATO. Accessed at on 14 May 2017.

39 TTIU was in 2011 absorbed by IS’ IU.

40 Reveron, “Old Allies, New Friends,” p. 461; Kriendler, NATO Intelligence and Early Warning, p. 2; Korkisch, NATO Gets Better Intelligence, p. 31; Bernasconi, “NATO’s Fight Against Terrorism,” p. 3; Seagle, “Intelligence Sharing Practices,” p. 569.

41 Bernasconi, “NATO’s Fight Against Terrorism,” p. 3; Brian R. Foster, Enhancing the Efficiency of NATO Intelligence Under an ASG-I, Carlisle, United States Army War College, 2013, p.5.

42 At a more conceptual level, (open source) intelligence is shared at Allied Command Transformation (ACT) Norfolk, USA, and its subordinate units like NATO Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Centre (JALLC) Lisbon, Portugal. Finally, intelligence information is shared at ACT coordinated NATO Centres of Excellence on Human Intelligence (Romania), Defense Against Terrorism (Turkey) and Cooperative Cyber Defence (Estonia).

43 Allied Joint Force Command in Naples, Italy (JFCNP), and Allied Joint Force Command in Brunssum, The Netherlands (JFCBS), are operational level HQs that on behalf of SACEUR conduct the daily operational business in areas of deployment of NATO troops. JFCBS is SHAPE’s intermediate command level for NATO Multi National Corps North East (MNC-NE) in Szczecin, Poland, and JFCNP for Multi National Division South East (MND-SE) in Bucharest, Romania.

44 “DCOS Operations and Intelligence.” NATO. Accessed at on 14 May 2017.

45 Foster, Enhancing the Efficiency of NATO Intelligence, pp. 6-7; Email correspondence with a senior NATO staff member, 20 June 2017.

46 Korkisch, NATO Gets Better Intelligence, p. 38.

47 For the weaknesses of NATO intelligence concerning the Balkans see: Cees Wiebes, Intelligence and the War in Bosnia: 1992-1995, Berlin, LIT Verlag, 2003; Curtis, A “special relationship,” pp. 20-31.

48 For NIFC see: Laurence M. Mixon, Requirements and Challenges Facing the NATO Intelligence Fusion Center, Montgomery, United States Air Force Air War College, 2007.

49 Curtis, A “special relationship,” p. 33.

50 “NIFC.” NATO. Accessed at on 14 May 2017.

51 “Warsaw Summit Communiqué,” 9 July 2016.

52 “Exercise boosts NATO intelligence-sharing ahead of Summit.” NATO. Accessed at on 14 May 2017.

53 Major General Michael T. Flynn, Capt Matt Pottinger and Paul D. Batchelor, Fixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan, Washington, DC, Center for a New American Security, January 2010, pp. 7-8; Korkisch, NATO Gets Better Intelligence, pp. 46-48; Per Norheim-Martinsen and Jacob Aasland Ravndal, “Towards Intelligence-Driven Peace Operations? The Evolution of UN and EU Intelligence Structures,” International Peacekeeping, Vol. 18, No. 4, 2011, p. 456; Curtis, A “special relationship,” p. 32; Stewart Webb, “Improvement Required for Operational and Tactical Intelligence Sharing in NATO,” Defense Against Terrorism Review, Vol. 6, No. 1, Spring&Fall 2014, p. 52.

54 Flynn, Fixing Intel, p. 24.

55 Svendsen, “Developing International Intelligence Liaison,” pp. 268-269.

56 GLOBSEC, GLOBSEC Intelligence Reform Initiative, p. 14.

57 Adam D.M. Svendsen, “NATO, Libya Operations and Intelligence Co-operation - a Step Forward?” Baltic Security and Defence Review, Vol. 13, No. 2, 2011, p. 55.

58 Webb, “Improvement Required,” p. 60; Meeting with a senior NATO staff member, Brussels, 2 May 2017.

59 Meeting with a senior NATO staff member, Brussels, 2 May 2017.

60 Meeting with a senior NATO staff member, Brussels, 3 May 2017.

61 Foster, Enhancing the Efficiency of NATO Intelligence, pp. 1-10.

62 Ibidem, p. 9.

63 Kriendler, NATO Intelligence and Early Warning, pp. 3-4; Korkisch, NATO Gets Better Intelligence, pp. 14-15; Deni, “Beyond Information Sharing,” pp. 55-56; Bernasconi, “NATO’s Fight Against Terrorism,” p. 7.

64 Meeting with ASG-ESC, Amb Sorin Ducaru (ROU), Rome, 7 April 2017.

65 Ibidem.

66 Meeting with a senior NATO staff member, Brussels, 3 May 2017.

67 Meeting with a senior NATO staff member, Brussels, 2 May 2017.

68 Meeting with Col Andreas Durst (DEU), G5 Security & Defence Policy, German Ministry of Defence, Berlin, 22 March 2017.

69 Email correspondence with a senior NATO staff member, 17 May 2017.

70 Sims, “Foreign Intelligence Liaison,” p. 202.

71 Mahoney Kennan et al., NATO Intelligence Sharing in the 21st Century. Capstone Research Project, New York, Columbia School of International and Public Affairs, 2013, p. 3.

72 Briefing by Mr Etienne de Gonneville (FRA), French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Paris, 27 March 2017.

73 Sims, “Foreign Intelligence Liaison,” p. 209; Bernasconi, “NATO’s Fight Against Terrorism,” p. 7; Deni, “Beyond Information Sharing,” p. 60; Svendsen, “Developing International Intelligence Liaison,” p. 267.

74 Korkisch, NATO Gets Better Intelligence, p. 42; Florin Negulescu, “Intelligence Sharing and Dissemination in Combined Joint Special Operations,” Journal of Defense Resources Management, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2011, p. 103.

75 Foster, Enhancing the Efficiency of NATO Intelligence, p. 10 and pp. 14-15. The Dutch foreign Defence Intelligence and Security Service (DISS, MIVD in Dutch) is a strong advocate of the use of BICES, see: Netherlands Defence Intelligence and Security Service, 2015 Annual Report, The Hague, Defence Media Centre, 2016, p. 45.

76 “Nations Share Information On Afghan Mission Network,” Defense Daily International, Vol. 12, No. 33, 27 August 2010, p. 5; Webb, “Improvement Required,” pp. 52-53.

77 Wiebes, “De problemen rond de internationale intelligence liaison,” p. 72. As summarized in: Den Boer, “Counter-Terrorism, Security and Intelligence in the EU,” p. 417.

78 “Results in Brief: Improvements Needed in Sharing Tactical Intelligence with the International Security Assistance Force - Afghanistan, Report No. 11-INTEL-13, 18 July 2011.” Office of Inspector General. United States Department of Defense. Accessed at on 14 May 2017.

79 Seagle, “Intelligence Sharing Practices,” p. 565.

80 Foster, Enhancing the Efficiency of NATO Intelligence, p. 7; Den Boer, “Counter-Terrorism, Security and Intelligence in the EU,” pp. 413-419.

81 Clough, “Quid Pro Quo,” p. 612.

82 Supporting innovative formats of intelligence cooperation is in line with the Polish aim to share assessments on NATO’s Eastern Flank. Briefing by Col Czeslaw Juzwik (ret., POL), Deputy Director of the Armed Forces Supervision Department in the National Security Bureau, Warsaw, 13 June 2017. On legal issues, not being an impediment to such cooperation, see: Commander Shelby L. Hladon, “Is there an Appetite for Information Sharing in NATO?” Transformer, 20 January 2013.

83 “Ex-BND-Vize,” n-tv, 24 October 2016.

84 “NATO leaders agree to do more,” 25 May 2017.

85 Seagle, “Intelligence Sharing Practices,” p. 566

86 For open source see: Nicander, “Understanding Intelligence Community Innovation,” pp. 546-551. Social media in: Marcos Degaut, “Spies and Policymakers: Intelligence in the Information Age,” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 31, No. 4, 2016, pp. 516-517.

87 As cited in: Flynn, Fixing Intel, p. 23.

88 Webb, “Improvement Required,” p. 54. Other successful examples of mission fusion are National Intelligence Support Teams (NIST) and Joint Intelligence Operations Centers (JOIC), see: Sims, “Intelligence to counter terror,” p. 54.

89 Briefing by Mr Francesco Sarti (ITA), Scientific Coordinator of Education and Training Activities, European Space Research Institute (ESRIN), Frascati, 19 May 2017; Briefing by Brig Gen Pascal Legai (ret., FRA), Director European Union Satellite Center, ESRIN, Frascati, 19 May 2017.

90 Meeting with Col Thomas Beer (ret., DEU), Copernicus Policy Coordinator, Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes, ESRIN, Frascati, 19 May 2017.

91 Webb, “Improvement Required,” p. 49.

92 Ibidem, p. 58-59.

93 Nicander, “Understanding Intelligence Community Innovation,” p. 542.

94 Björn Fägersten, “Forward Resilience in the Age of Hybrid Threats: The Role of European Intelligence,” in Forward Resilience. Protecting Society in an Interconnected World, Daniel S. Hamilton, ed., Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 2014, pp. 124-125. Quote in: Björn Fägersten, “Intelligence and decision-making within the Common Foreign and Security Policy,” Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies, Vol. 22, October 2015, p. 11.

95 Based on the list by Teitelbaun (2004). As cited in: Degaut, “Spies and Policymakers,” pp. 524-525.

96 Aldrich, “Transatlantic Intelligence and Security Cooperation,” p. 737.

About the Author

Jan Ballast is a senior staff member, involved with foreign intelligence, mission support and national security, for the Ministry of Defence of The Netherlands