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Pioneering work is the very model of military intelligence

Pioneering work has provided the intellectual tools to improve academic research into intelligence organisations.

Until recently, research focused primarily on historical matters, but Brunel’s Professor Philip Davies and Dr Kristian Gustafson have made great strides towards changing this context.

The traditional military focus was identifying and knowing about adversaries in order to neutralise or defeat them. Militaries are generally very good at developing this knowledge, particularly identifying capabilities, military infrastructures, human geography, patterns and types of forces.

What modern militaries have not been good at is understanding the psychological and cognitive aspects that shape the fears, motivations and perceptions of an adversary and the other surrounding actors who influence them or they influence.

Prof Davies and Dr Gustafson, by applying theories of order, organisation and institution-building, have helped emphasise the increasingly cross-governmental nature of intelligence and the need to inculcate a spirit of collaboration between them, including with partners and allies.

This led to the UK’s Ministry of Defence incorporating changes suggested by the pair into two new official Joint Intelligence Doctrines which have also influenced professional practice in allies including the USA and other NATO members.

British forces engaged in mentoring the Afghan Ministry of the Interior have used the two doctrines leading to changed practices and enhanced professional standards.