What Is Intel? What Is Military Intel?
Special guest post by a Theologian…
Intelligence is firstly an ability, a power. Secondly, it is an act. And not merely power alone but power mixed with meaning. The unity of power and meaning is the meaning of the word “spirit.” Intelligence is an act of spirit by a creature who is one. The dimension of life called spirit has humans as its sole occupant.
Beyond quantity and quality is power and meaning, and especially their unity or separation. Quantity and quality are incidentals easy to discern. Non-spiritual creatures – animals – discern grades of quantity and quality. Spiritual creatures – humans – distinguish themselves in their drive to fuse their numerous powers with their grasp of what is important.
Power exercised for itself is contemptible. Value exercised for itself is sentimental. Meaning is for power and power for meaning or both drive to sorrow and destruction. But, what is meaning, what is important, what is valuable?
Intel is meant to answer those questions. Military Intel is meant to answer them with respect to the secure destiny of a nation state, or the success of a liberation movement.
Causation runs from the subtle to the gross. Intelligence, by definition, is regard for the subtle, not the gross. Though the gross confronts the senses and the intellect most piteously, the subtle behind and within the gross is what matters to the intelligent. They seek the subtle.
Intelligence is discernment and intel is its result. Intel takes in the elemental, leaving out the ephemeral, and reports itself accordingly. The elemental always and everywhere involves these questions, transiting from the gross to the subtle:
✓ Where is what’s happening? (Question of space.)
✓ When is it happening? (Question of time.)
✓ Why is it happening? (Question of causality.)
✓ What is happening? (Question of substance.)
✓ Who is happening it? (Question of personality.)
A subtle intelligence accurately moves through to the fifth question, seeking the who(s) who can make happenings consequential. In its first go, intel discerns the “not yet but be vigilant.” In its second go, intel reports the “here is and will be.” Power and act applied to the discovery of meaning. Intel is a spiritual exercise and, when institutionalized, enterprise. Intelligence unites ability and goal.
Intel is an obligation embedded in every human by the spiritual dimension of their creature-hood. Military Intel is a specialized aspect of that universal human obligation. Its purpose is to win wars. Wars are inevitable because conflict is the father of all things. Military Intel is the foundation of winning wars.
War is inevitable but its duration should be short and its result decisive. Long or indecisive war is a failure of intelligence, general and military. Therefore, Military Intel aims for three results:
✓ Identification of an enemy before they strike.
✓ Severance of their power to fight, ideally before they strike.
✓ Destruction of their sense of purpose, ideally before they strike.