Sometimes Friends Just Seem Hard to Come By!

August 19, 2011

Guest Blogger Matthew Brentzel looks at relations between the law enforcement and intelligence communities.

I think all of us can agree that sometimes inter-organizational communication can be difficult.  Working with others just doesn’t always seem to work out in the end.  Issues can arise―such as misinterpretation of information, withholding information, and biased opinions―which in turn can lead to difficulties between two organizations.

That’s why I chose to write a blog post on Can’t We All Just Get Along?: Improving the Law Enforcement-Intelligence Community Relationship, from the National Defense Intelligence College.  Not only does it involve my interest in intelligence analysis, but it also brings in aspects of the work I currently do.  Although I have seen how hard it can be to come to an agreement sometimes, it can be done.  This is the main message the authors of Can’t We All Just Get Along? try to get across. “When the relationship between these communities works, it works very well.”  The authors set out to prove this theory with a series of essays that show the nature of this relationship.  One article in particular really shows what happens when a successful relationship occurs.  It focuses on the likelihood of domestic terrorism possibly developing in the U.S. prison system.  It goes on to explain the relationship between the Federal Correctional Intelligence Initiative and the U.S. Bureau of Justice Administration.  This relationship has allowed the Bureau of Prisons to evolve successfully into a network that shares gang and terrorist intelligence data.

This book brought to my attention a topic that I had never really thought about before.  I look forward to some day entering into the field of intelligence analysis, but never really thought about how the intelligence community interacted with law enforcement agencies. If I ever thought about it at all, I probably imagined that these conflicting agencies would cooperate easily with each other and supply the information each needed.  This publication revealed real differences, such as their relative willingness to divulge intelligence and their ideas about what intelligence actually is.  Finally, it covers the history of these two communities and how this history impacts their relationship today.

I would highly recommend this publication for anyone in the law enforcement or intelligence field.  In addition, I would recommend it to anybody interested in collaboration between Government agencies.  Feel free to visit the GPO bookstore and take a look at this publication here, or check out the online version via PDF format here.


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