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Intelligence After Next: Making Current Intelligence Current

How we deliver current intelligence to policymakers and warfighters must change to restore currency to the construct of current intelligence.

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Intelligence is considered a critical piece of the decision-making process within any operational environment. Whether at a tactical, operational, or strategic level, in times of peace or war, intelligence helps inform the existence of an adversary, their intent, level of risk, and associated environment. It provides information that will help leaders appraise their options to neutralize potential threats and analyze the associated effects of their actions. For intelligence to serve its purpose, the level of quality associated with intelligence must be excellent. As defined in intelligence doctrine, this level of quality is met by satisfying several important attributes, including whether it is anticipatory, accurate, usable, relevant, objective, and timely.

These attributes of intelligence excellence provide insight into the level of complexity associated with intelligence production and delivery. They also offer an understanding of both the significance intelligence plays in the decision-making process and the imperative for intelligence quality and currency—two characteristics that are difficult to achieve simultaneously.

Current intelligence is a fundamental product for enabling a commander’s daily decision-making process. According to doctrine, the commander receives current intelligence consisting of accurate, detailed, and varied content for recent or ongoing activities to inform and enable the decision-making process. The analytical workforce is hindered, and in many instances precluded, from achieving quality and currency due to legacy processes, systems, and approaches that must be discarded or significantly refined.