The Importance of Education in the Intelligence Community

November 30, 2011 at 10:24 am by SEM

Jumbo shrimp, accurate estimate, active retirement, and military intelligence are all examples of an oxymoron. Of these four, only one is important enough to garner our attention and foster our curiosity. Military intelligence is many things, but I feel it doesn’t deserve to be used light heartedly. This is a small part of our military that exists purely for gathering knowledge and information to provide a clear and decisive victory for our war fighters. How do we do this?

The only way to make sure we achieve victory is to know what our enemy knows. Sun Tzu who was a Chinese military general and wrote “The Art of War” in the 6th century BC, stated: “It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.”

This means we need to gather intelligence in many ways. Throughout the past years this information came in the printed form on paper or transparencies. Today this information can come in many different forms, from magnetic media to optical or digital media sources. This classified information is consequently stored for a short amount of time and when its usefulness is outlived, it must be destroyed. We can’t let our adversaries know that we know what they know! This brings up a series of questions. What is this information classified as? How much do we need to destroy? How do we know what machine to use? And the most important question; how do we destroy this information?

Many intelligence agencies and military organizations appoint security managers in their units. Sometimes these security managers are tasked with this additional duty with a minimum amount of training. It is up to them to learn about the many levels of classified information they will be responsible for handling. These new managers must educate themselves by talking to other security managers, reading technical manuals, or attending classes or briefings.

One of the easiest ways to learn about the many devices available to destroy your classified information is to attend a briefing from a security professional that is experienced with destruction devices and holds or has held a security clearance. This is the best and easiest way for a newly appointed security manager to learn and understand the many ways classified information can be destroyed and the different devices/machines required by the DoD to do this destruction.

I retired from the United States Air Force and held a Top Secret EBI clearance for most of my career until retirement. I have spoken at many installations on security destruction devices and the regulations governing these requirements. It IS NOT a sales pitch. It is an informative briefing because we believe an informed and educated security manager is more capable of performing his or her duties for the intelligence community and our country.

Explore More