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Strategic Intelligence

Military Intelligence

Military intelligence lessons

By | Strategic Intelligence

Before reading this article, written for the SCIP magazine, you may be expecting many useful Military Intelligence tools and tips. But films and TV don’t offer an accurate reflection of military intelligence.

The reality may seem so much more mundane because the best tools used are your mind, your attitude and simple common sense.

That said, there are many skills involved in the Military Intelligence field which are relevant to life within the commercial world.

The Military teaches us that when the chips are down, instead of panicking, have a cup of tea.

Strap on your pack, pick up your rifle, give your teammates some banter and get on with it.

It may be a British thing, but if you are struggling to find information, have a laugh at yourself. Call yourself a name and get back to it.

Choose the right team with the right skills

The first military lesson is to ensure that you have the most suitable and highly trained team possible to match the situation being faced.

In the military, you would not have an SAS Troop tasked to feed five hundred people.

You wouldn’t give the job of breaking an embassy siege to the Women’s Royal Balloon Corps just because they were around the corner and had just finished another project.

It may sound funny, but this sort of mismatch is seen all too frequently in the corporate world.

Marketing assistants may be asked to look for competitor information or to help find someone to do competitive intelligence for them.

A quick google search may be undertaken with the assumption that this will give enough intelligence.

Quality intelligence, where the right questions are asked. Where the best tools are used, which goes deep and turns over every stone, is the result of many years of training and experience.

The 7 Ps

The military has a saying “Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents “Particularly” Poor Performance.”

This teaches us that real leadership is to ensure you have a well thought out plan which includes a “don’t give up” attitude.

Nevertheless, the military also teaches us that sometimes you have to change your plan when situations on the ground demand it.

If you are unable to do this, sticking rigidly to what you were told to do, then you will soon lose the respect of your team, or worse.

So, if you are trying to collect information and it is becoming impossible, change the way you are doing the research. Approach the mountain of information from a different angle.

Accuracy

Accuracy is a crucial demand within both Military and Competitive Intelligence. Especially if there is a good chance that what you create could be used in the field. In the military, intelligence has to be accurate, or it risks lives. Lives of people and their families you will never meet.

Walking hand in hand with accuracy is common sense and the ability to think quickly and calmly.

You can only do this if you are confident in your ability, are well trained and experienced. The same applies in the commercial world.

Presenting tools

In the military, there is no better example of how important it is to get your message across. To people who need to decide what to and those who are tasked to do it.

Imagine the eve of a battle and the general stands up to address his men.

Armed with Intelligence and a plan, he outlines how he is going to defeat the enemy.

He realises that his troops and commanders will have difficulty in understanding the environment they will be fighting in.

But not to worry, he is prepared. And he reveals a fantastic PowerPoint presentation and a SWOT diagram! Teams have to get into breakout groups. They discuss the plan and isolate what the intelligence means to them.

As you can perhaps understand, this is going to worry the troops, who like to know which way to go and what to shoot at.

As discussed already, the military uses orders, Standard Operating Procedures and they are highly trained.

To keep it simple, the general delivers a succinct, inspiring message. A message everyone understands and replaces the SWOT diagram with something called a Map.

Map are simple to understand and, when in the battlefield, maps can be drawn in the sand with features recreated with pebbles and bits of stick. A 3D map called a model.

From these maps, commanders in the field build models of specific areas and buildings they need to focus on.

The military teaches us all to keep things simple, work as a team and prepare well.  And, in order to ensure we know what to do and where to go, use a map.

Continued.

The full article can be found here and was written for the SCIP Magazine by Graeme Dixon and Darrell West of Octopus Intelligence. www.octopusintelligence.com

Intelligence assessment Iran flag on border

Intelligence assessment on the Iranian situation

By | Strategic Intelligence | No Comments

We assess the situation between the US and Iran.

A number of quotes and Tweets directed towards the Iranian leadership, included:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump Jul 22:

“To Iranian president Rouhani: never, ever threaten the united states again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before. We are no longer a country that will stand for your demented words of violence & death. Be cautious!”

U.S. national security adviser John Bolton:

“Iran will pay a price like few countries have ever paid before”. 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – written in English and Farsi:

“Hypocritical holy men who amassed vast sums of wealth while allowing their people to suffer”. 

The media would have you believe that Mr Trump is barking mad and unstable. This may or not be true.

But, what’s going on?

  • Firstly, the USA’s threats against Iran are not merely a foreign policy diversion to distract from growing scrutiny over Russia and North Korea.
  • And there appears to be a regime change strategy for Tehran.
  • Also, the economic and social pressure in Iran intensifies under the White House’s sanctions policy.
  • So, the Iranian government diverting anger onto external threats to reduce popular unrest.
  • Also, Iranian President Rouhani is likely to lose political ground to hard-liners, with many of them already wanting to walk away from the nuclear deal commitments.
  • Significant protests in early 2018 in the poorer parts of rural Iran and with more widely reported Tehran Merchant class demonstrations in Tehran are signs that the people are in the mood for change.
  • So, this unrest will force Iran to increase using their security apparatus to contain dissent and get around sanctions.
  • Moving away from Iran nuclear deal and reemploying sanctions is an attempt to provoke the Iranian people to rise.
  • However, it would appear that regime change is still going to be very difficult but will be working with Israel and Saudi Arabia on the ground to support the economic turmoil and propaganda strategy.

So, back to the negotiation table?

  • It could bring the Iranian government back to the negotiating table.
  • And it’s unlikely that the Strait of Hormuz will be blockaded as it would invite a serve US Military response.
  • Negotiations with North Korea will need to remain on track to show there is an exit plan for Iranians.
  • So, if the US can keep a lid on North Korea, there will be more resources to escalate military pressure on Iran.
  • Russia will be a complicating factor, and senior political meetings between Iran and Russia will continue.
  • Iranian economy is already under enormous strain, and that pain will be compounded when sanctions snap back in August and November.
  • There is some debate about how much influence has with Iran especially if things hot up on the ground.
  • Possible signs that Russia is partly onside to protect their interests as they are looking to reduce Iranian military activity in Syria especially near the Israeli border.

Conflict

The potential of military conflict will depend on:

  • President Rouhani’s political weakening and
  • A growing reliance on the Revolutionary Guard to rebuild risky and covert ways to get around the sanctions.
  • Iran’s navy harassing Military vessels and Saudi, Kuwaiti or Emirati tankers and production and loading platforms.
  • Cyber-attacks on its neighbours.
  • Turning the threat to close the Strait of Hormuz into action.
  • Withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

Iranian weaknesses

  • Allied forces would attack their important oil terminal based at Kharg.
  • Block the Strait of Hormuz will also prevent their own trade from being exported.
  • Ripping up the nuclear deal could result in a Saudi and or US military response.
  • Any actions could give Israel an excuse to take unilateral military action.

US weaknesses

  • The massive increase in oil prices could deter them.
  • Saudi Arabia would struggle to keep the oil moving.
  • The potential self-inflicted trade war threat to the world’s economy.
  • Russia is extremely interested in them, and the US has no desire to escalate tensions with the Kremlin.

So what?

The Implications of this are ever present to organisations across a huge range of sectors and industries, how resilient do you think you are?

Brought to you by Octopus Intelligence, the Global Competitive Intelligence Agency.

www.octopusintelligence.com

two people looking at a MAC in Market Surprise

Market surprise is reduced with competitive intelligence

By | Strategic Intelligence | No Comments

A Market surprise is common. They didn’t realise that their competitor supplied to a worldwide manufacturer. We couldn’t believe they didn’t know either, but that knowledge was worth £10m+ of very winnable business.

Companies focus on the day job and often miss the most obvious of things.

This is where CI can reveal amazing results, even if you do it yourself.

How Intelligence can help

Intelligence also assists you understanding your competitor’s business models and their relative strengths and weaknesses versus your own.
Allows you an insight of the way your competitors do, and plan to do, business based on recent, evidence-based intelligence, rather than outdated sets of assumptions.
Assist getting mergers and acquisitions
Shift strategies in time to match the changing realities
It’s not market research it is the ability to out-think, outmanoeuvre and outperform adversaries.
Common mandate in military intelligence is to reduce uncertainty for policy makers
Big picture and long range forecasts.
Helps avoid strategic surprise.
What indications that a competitor is to make a particular move.
It helps executives challenge their own orthodoxies by shedding light on business blind spots, the incorrect assumptions about the competitive arena
Helps ensure that decisions and actions are based on foresight and insight rather than gut feel or industry experience
Intelligence provides managers with a unique source of unbiased news and analysis.
It reinforces a competitive culture in the organisation by means of increased competitor awareness.
Also it helps promote an awareness of threats to the company’s intellectual capital and the need for counter intelligence and counter measures.
It also helps minimise uncertainty.
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