Stratejik İstihbarat ve Ulusal Güvenlik

Stratejik İstihbarat ve Ulusal Güvenlik

In Stratejik İstihbarat ve Ulusal Güvenlik (Strategic Intelligence and National Security), Merve Seren scrutinizes intelligence by its ‘own’ strategic relevance and displays the mutual interaction of ‘strategy’ and ‘intelligence.’ The subject matter is the construction of strategic intelligence and its role in the course of history, with a clear focus on its ideational evolvement. The main design of the study is to highlight the sine qua non feature of ‘strong’ and ‘realistic’ strategic intelligence for national security strategies and the policies of state actors.

The author successfully fills the literature gap of intelligence studies with a vast research into the roots of strategy and intelligence via discourse analysis. The foundation of the book rests upon the process of tracing how strategy and intelligence perceptions have emerged and evolved in differing parts of the globe. The author provides examples of strategy and intelligence culture in the depths of history alongside contemporary ones by a contextual analysis of events, spanning the breadth between modernity and post-modernity. In that way, she aims to increase the awareness of security and intelligence practitioners and theoreticians, as the target audience of the book, by reviewing conceptual and hypothetical notions of strategy and intelligence to conclude with a synergy of both. Members of epistemic circles of Security Studies, Intelligence and the International Relations discipline in particular will enjoy the high quality of the research, which Seren makes accessible to interested individuals wishing to explore the comprehensive intersection of both strategy and intelligence.

The book is based on a vast review of the literature on political history that contributed to the development of intelligence practices and security perceptions. In this sense, intelligence, particularly strategic intelligence, is taken as the hub of the research in identifying national security strategy, while linking the discussion to the concept of ‘strategy’ by the ‘requisiteness’ and ‘functionality’ of both fields. What makes the book distinct and unique is its method of examining the long historic process of strategy and intelligence along the axes of historic events, personalities, actors, and factors in a phenomenological style.

The first chapter delineates the emergence of ‘strategy’ and its evolvement in accordance with the arguments of strategists and intellectuals from early to contemporary. The study presents conceptualizations of strategy builders enriched with the events of their era, and concretizes the concepts in the mind of the reader. This feature makes the book a distinct one, since it equips ordinary readers to understand the complicated ‘strategy’ theme. After post-modernity is added to the scope of the chapter, readers encounter a sophisticated discussion on strategy.

The second chapter researches the ways in which intelligence evolved, to better locate intelligence in security and strategy. The author’s analysis of history reminds famous historian Ranke’s objectivity to describe events’ affiliation to strategy formation in the frame of intelligence building. Seren provides examples of the least known cases and events, like Arthaśāstra of Kautilya, to offer a wide spectrum of input. In this way, the chapter describes how modern intelligence methods and organizations were formed in the light of accumulated ‘strategy’ knowledge. New types of conflict, both present and emerging are examined with an outstanding contextual analysis of why intelligence has been the prevailing code of conduct. For instance, asymmetric and proxy wars are reviewed via clear case studies of the last decade to position intelligence and strategy in proper practice. In this sense, the role of strategic intelligence in the smart utilization of power, rather than its hard alternative, is fore fronted when new types of conflict are at hand.

The third chapter examines the theory and concept of intelligence, focusing on the intelligence production process. The author adds alternative methodological perspectives in the particularity of the intelligence cycle. The findings on the varieties and subject matters of intelligence are researched by presenting varying perspectives of different scholars. The reader can find a comprehensive typology of intelligence in this single book, which has commonly been accepted by intelligence circles.

The fourth chapter analyzes the emergence of strategic intelligence, its evolvement, development, and institutionalization. The foundation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is taken as the starting event in the discourse analysis. Sherman Kent’s model of strategic intelligence is assumed as the parameter to conclude a critical perspective towards strategic level intelligence. Furthermore, contextual analysis of Rolington’s postmodern Mosaic Method is utilized to provide traditional, modern and also postmodern reading of intelligence.

The case study in the fifth chapter is built upon the intelligence failures leading up to 9/11, to draw conclusions about the bases for questioning intelligence post 9/11. In this context, intelligence vulnerabilities are portrayed while reviewing new discussions in the field and witnessed doctrinal expansion of intelligence. Eventually the cases of the United Kingdom, Australia, and Israel are examined to show the efforts of restructuring and augmenting strategic intelligence. Furthermore “grand (or high) strategy” versus “strategic intelligence” is contrasted by comparing the National Security Strategy codes of the UK, the U.S., Australia, Japan, Armenia, and Azerbaijan after 9/11 to show the perception change of these state actors in defining threats and risks. Seren presents the course state actors and international organizations take when drafting strategy papers; these processes are outlined to clarify how strategies are formed, with an emphasis on the prominence of intelligence as the fundamental tool of the decision-making process. The book provides a critical analysis of strategy papers by means of a comprehensive contextual analysis in terms of the linkage between strategy and intelligence.

The strength of the book is its coverage regarding the full spectrum of strategy, intelligence, and in particular strategic intelligence. The author offers a wide range of historical data and its discourse analysis. Ancient and contemporary eras are linked through the gradual evolution of strategy and intelligence. Case studies provide concrete examples of practice to illuminate the theoretical discussions by means of concise, but precise, samples of strategy and intelligence perceptions. The language is Turkish, which adds both strength and weakness to the study. The language reminds one of the richness of the Turkish language in the style of Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar’s sociological novel Saatleri Ayarlama Ensititüsü (The Time Regulation Institute), an excellent sample of the Turkish language. The weakness, on the other hand, is that the study will only address Turkish speakers since its translation into English, or any other language, is not published yet. Consequently, the book fulfils its mission and provides a challenging vision to the reader.