Featured Analysis

21 Sep 2021

Omand and Medina on Disinformation, Cognitive Bias, Cognitive Traps and Decision-making

In August, Bob Gourley had a far-ranging conversation with Sir David Omand. One of the most respected intelligence professionals in the world, Omand is also the author of the book How Spies Think: Ten lessons in intelligence. His career in intelligence began shortly after graduating from Cambridge in 1969 when he joined the UK’s GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters). He would later become the director of GCHQ. He also served as the first UK Security and Intelligence Coordinator, the most senior intelligence, counter-terror, and homeland security position in the UK.

In May of 2020, Bob’s OODAcast conversation was with Carmen Medina, who served 32 years in senior positions at the Central Intelligence Agency, most of which focused on one of the hardest tasks in the community, that of analysis. Carmen rose to lead the strategic assessments group for the agency, then was deputy director of intelligence, the most senior leadership position for analysis at the agency, and one of the most senior positions in the entire intelligence community. She also spent time as the director of the Center for the Study of Intelligence, where she oversaw ways to teach, mentor, and improve analysis for the community.

These two conversations hit on topics such as disinformation, cognitive bias, cognitive traps, biased decision-making during the pandemic, strategic action, the paradox of warning, and decision-making.

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21 Sep 2021

Smart Voting App, Removed by U.S. Tech Giants, Threatens Putin’s United Russia Party in Recent Duma Election

This most recent Russian election provides clear evidence that the Russian Government is meddling as much in their own elections, to achieve the Kremlin-designed outcome, as they have in recent American elections  – with one RFE/RL headline proclaiming:  “Hacking Servers. Online Blocking. Police Raids. Information Attacks. What Won’t The Kremlin Do To Stop ‘Smart Voting’?”

This election is also seen by many Russians as a precursor to the 2024 Presidential election.  In 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s super-majority United Russia ruling party amended the Russian Constitution, allowing Putin to seek two more terms as president and potentially remain in office until 2036.

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20 Sep 2021

Cyber Espionage Likely Supporting China’s Arctic Aspirations

There is little question that Beijing has seized the opportunity to capitalize on the United States’ internal division to implement its global agenda. Beijing has been more assertive, which was first seen in the March 2021 high-level meeting with the U.S. counterparts. While tensions ran high during the end of the previous U.S. administration with regards to tariffs and perceptions of China’s culpability in COVID, the meeting displayed an openly belligerent China. In the months following that contentious meeting, Beijing has relentlessly pursued its expansionist national interests.

It is increasingly evident that China believes the timing is right for it to aggressively push its national interests. One area that often gets overlooked when looking at China’s expansionism is its interests in the Arctic. China’s interest in the area is not a secret, as it has promoted itself as a legitimate “Arctic State” as early as its 2011 Twelfth Five-Year Plan, and in its 2018 Arctic Policy.

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17 Sep 2021

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA), Global Supply Chains and Chinese Military-Civil Fusion (MCF)

The U.S. DoD has embarked on a strategic transformation based on changes in organizational structure, putting nuclear once again at center stage, a renewed commitment to the U.S. and allied military capabilities in the Indo-Pacific region, strength through power in Europe (in the form of U.S. and NATO military capabilities), and the maintenance of superiority by the U.S. in conventional weapon technologies.

Central to this transformation are supply chains. Specifically, an understanding and reduction of the reliance by U.S. military systems on foreign components, subcomponents, materials, and software.  “Made in America” is an objective, rectifying supply chain security concerns with American-made components, subcomponents, materials, and software.

As it turns out, supply chain transformation is a central military operational activity of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) – and they want their supply chain to be “Made in America” too.

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16 Sep 2021

Clapper and Ashley on Joint Ops/Intel Operations, Decision-making, the History and Future of Intelligence and Cyber Threats

We started the OODAcast as a way of highlighting insights and lessons learned from leaders and decision-makers in the OODA Network.

In the Spring of 2021, Bob Gourley had a conversation with General Jim Clapper and Lieutenant General Robert Ashley. We continue our effort to underscore certain patterns and themes found throughout the OODAcast library of over 80 conversations with leaders and decision-makers, on topics such as leadership, empowering a team, finding the right people, clear decision-making while operating in a low information environment, situational awareness and the qualities and best practices of a true leader. 

Threads that emerge in these conversations include the nature and history of intelligence, the importance of Joint Ops/Intel operations, the future of intelligence, and specific characteristics of the cyber threat.

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