Intelligence Cultures and Communities

Democratization challenged security and intelligence agencies both in well established political cultures and throughout the emerging democratic environments, in Europe and world wide. In various international competitive arenas, issues related to intelligence affairs reached new levels of complexity, transparency and publicity. Beside political, social and economic factors, academics with different intellectual backgrounds fostered and tackled this process and its consequences. Long lasting practices, conceptual frameworks, and the pathway between theoretical viewpoints and operational intelligence were challenged as never before. In such a context, young democracies turned their attention to experienced democratic societies, searching for guidelines and support when defining a democratic intelligence, culture and community, with both professional and academic representations.

Other than the “classic” topics, those you might expect to find when dealing with intelligence issues, new ones emerged out of our networked society. Both professionals and academics learnt about new meanings of secrecy and openness, about new structures of cooperation between intelligence enabled organizations, with less clear intentions to be uncovered, with thinner layers of separation between civilian and military projections, within more permeable political borders.

In intelligence and security studies many started to approach such subjects in a comparative manner, matching patterns of systemic evolution from various political spaces. Such analyses are more often aimed at observing change through similar developments than at questioning the commons in favor of peculiar valuable initiatives. Researchers in intelligence and security studies got more connected due to all these shifts, even if the idea of an integrated academic community still lacks a tangible representation at European level.

The conference in Bucharest, November 2011, originates in our endeavor to develop the academic dimension of the Romanian intelligence culture. The mimetic reproduction of the issues and procedures employed in Western democratic societies is appealing, yet unachievable as it completely ignores the local specificity. The questions which arise have to do with the development of an identity, in terms of research agendas, curricula, educational programs: a school of intelligence with its own intellectual orientation. Thus, the first goal of the conference is to critically look at such endeavors, searching for conceptual unity out of diversity in a domain far too much oriented towards United State’s experiences. Academic intelligence developments in small states could represent an innovation potential for the global intelligence culture.

At European Union’s level, the intelligence matters are a subject specific to the complicated puzzle of European security, with national interests interlaced in a loose web of visions, missions, and strategies. It is the chance of the researcher confronting only the scientific unknown to strengthen the ties in her/his networks of academic interests. The second goal of the conference is to explore possible pathways of collaboration between institutions involved in academic intelligence programs, under the umbrella of EU’s - Seventh Framework Programme.