Robert David Steele

O - Z

Steele, Robert David. "One Vision of the Future of American Intelligence." Periscope 19, no. 3 (1994): 3-4.

We "must ... reinvent ourselves.... The intelligence community ... must recognize that its present form is destructive and counterproductive."


Steele, Robert David. On Intelligence: Spies and Secrecy in an Open World. Fairfax, VA: AFCEA International Press, 2000.

From "Publisher's Foreword": "[T]his compendium of material on understanding the power of open sources [is offered] in the hope it will help chart the new course -- a new model -- for the future of intelligence."

Clark comment: This work brings together many of the thoughts on the state of U.S. intelligence and proposals for reform that have animated Steele's activities for the past decade. The author's hypothetical Senate Bill S.2001 makes hamburger of many sacred cows, but Congress has refused to act on much less radical measures. A terminology quibble: While I fully understand the need for breaking old molds, the title Director-General (as in, Director-General of National Intelligence) sounds more French than American.

While acknowledging that the author and his views remain controversial, Jonkers, AFIO WIN 19-00 (12 May 2000), finds that Steele's book "contains ideas to which we should pay attention. His vision, leading up to the 'virtual intelligence community' is worth consideration." Bath, NIPQ 18.1, finds that Steele's "plan for reorganization of U.S. intelligence ... is certainly worth a look, at least in its basics, in any intelligence overhaul efforts."

Braumandl, JIH 2.1, comments that "Steele’s work is truly a new practical approach to the art of intelligence and to open sources available to security studies. Scholars of Intelligence Studies can call his approach 'New Intelligence,' meaning a new intelligence paradigm for the post Cold War era.... [R]eading this book requires sound knowledge about intelligence theories and methods to understand its thematic value."

Steele provides the following thoughts on his work: "With a foreword by Senator David L. Boren, sponsor of the 1992 intelligence reform legislation, and blurbs from Alvin Toffler, Bruce Sterling, former DDCI Dick Kerr, and flag officers from Russia, Germany and the United Kingdom, this book is unique in that it provides an itemized list of U.S. Intelligence Community budget cuts totalling $11.6 billion dollars a year; and completely outlines 14 major new initiatives for restructuring, enhancing, and considerably expanding our concept of 'national intelligence'. With a 50-page annotated bibliography that integrates Silicon Valley, Internet, management, and hacking books with the more traditional literature; a 62-page index; and 30 pages of proposed legislation, the National Security Act of 2001, this is a reference work."

[Overviews/U.S./00s; Reform/00s/Gen][c]

Steele, Robert David. "Open Source Intelligence." In Handbook of Intelligence Studies, ed. Loch K. Johnson, 129-147. New York: Routledge, 2007.

"[W]hat distinguishes OSINT from the secret collection disciplines[] and ... what distinguishes the role of OSINT in the world of analysis" is that "it can be shared without restriction."


Steele, Robert David. "Open Source Intelligence." In Strategic Intelligence, Vol. 2: The Intelligence Cycle: The Flow of Secret Information from Overseas to the Highest Councils of Government, ed. Loch K. Johnson, 95-122. Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2007.

"OSINT is uniquely important to the development of strategic intelligence not only for the government, but for the military, law enforcement, business, academia, nongovernmental organizations, the media and civil societies ... for the simple reason that its reliance on strictly legal and open sources and methods allows OSINT to be shared with anyone anywhere."


Steele, Robert D. "Open Source Intelligence Clarifies Global Threats." Signal, Sep. 1992, 65 ff. []


Steele, Robert David. "Open Source Intelligence: What Is It? Why Is It Important to the Military." American Intelligence Journal 17, no. 1/2 (1996): 35-41.

"At this time the U.S. military does not have timely broad access to a full range of open sources." (p. 39)


Steele, Robert David. "Peacekeeping Intelligence and Information Peacekeeping." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 19, no. 3 (Fall 2006): 519-537.

Discusses the need for "developing a focused discipline or practice of peacekeeping intelligence (PKI) and information peacekeeping."


Steele, Robert David. "Possible Presidential Intelligence Initiatives." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 13, no. 4 (Winter 2000): 409-423.

"National Intelligence must be redefined away from secrets and toward the more fundamental mission of informing policy and[,] most particularly, the President. At the same time, recognizing the growing power of non-governmental organizations, a truly national intelligence community must be formed by harnessing the distributed intelligence of the business, academic, media, and individual experts outside of the government."


Steele, Robert David. "Private Enterprise Intelligence: Its Potential Contribution to National Security." Intelligence and National Security 10, no. 4 (Oct. 1995): 212-228.

"The aim of this essay is to explore the larger strategic context within which private enterprise intelligence can make a contribution to national security; to understand operational concepts from private enterprise intelligence which can and should be adopted by the traditional government intelligence services; and finally, to make an inventory of some of the specific private enterprise intelligence capabilities which can be used by the government to achieve both tactical results and sustained savings.... [I]t is clear that OSCINT can meet the vast majority of America's intelligence needed against the emerging threats, and that OSCINT must be the foundation upon which we completely restructure our classified capabilities."

The paper from which this article is derived, given at a conference on "The Producer/Policy-Maker Relationship in a Changing World," 29 October 1994, in Ottawa, is available at:


Steele, Robert David. "Reinventing Intelligence: Holy Grail or Mission Impossible." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 7, no. 2 (Summer 1994): 199-203.

"[T]oday U.S. intelligence is at a low point." What is "needed are leaders of vision and character, willing to take risks, to open minds, and to move forward with the reinvention of U.S. intelligence."


Steele, Robert David. "Smart People, Stupid Bureaucracies: A Tough Love Look at U.S. Spies, Satellites, and Scholars." 21 Dec. 1999. []

"In a complex world where billions of people live on $1 a day and yet have access to radios and televisions that depict the USA as 'the enemy'... we need to be seriously concerned about both the lack of public understanding of national intel, and the relatively pedestrian level of discussion that is found in major media and 'think tank' outlets. This article ... seeks to outline several common misunderstandings, to summarize the findings of the [18-20 November 1999] conference led by President Bush, and to outline fourteen areas where substantial improvements are required if our national intelligence community is to be effective in protecting America in the 21st Century. I would emphasize my belief that a renaissance of our secret national intelligence is necessary, while also stressing that a revitalization of this essential national capability cannot take place in a vacuum -- we must do better at scholarship and must be much more effective and honest in our corporate communications pertaining to real world issues. More fundamentally, our people -- our public and our press -- must understand the great importance of our classified national intelligence community to national security, and must also understand the larger context within which this intelligence community contributes to the intelligence qua 'smarts' of the nation as a whole."

[Analysis/Soviet/Nov99Conf; OpenSource; Reform/90s]

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