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08 March 2006

There is no spoon…

In offline discussion regarding the earlier post (Beyond the wheel) regarding the emerging structures of the new intelligence community, a provocative and frankly stunning idea was raised: that there may be no actual intelligence community any longer. The wheel can be said to have so fragmented that it has been scattered.

A community requires shared experiences, values, and history. It requires continuing interactions to reinforce its norms. It requires, most importantly, a sense of itself and a sense of unity.

We find these things lacking, especially as new players come to the table and old agencies continue to retreat into bureaucratic isolation and near irrelevance.

Perhaps the easy comforting abstraction of the “community” has for too long substituted for what we should have been focusing on: the profession and its practice.

It is a matter worth considering at further length. We are not sure we entirely support this line of reasoning, but it has a certain resonance.