Counterinsurgency Intelligence in a ''Long War''

The British Experience in Northern Ireland

by Brian A. Jackson

Full Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.6 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Using the example of British intelligence successes and failures in the fight against the Provisional Irish Republican Army, the author shows that counterintelligence collection efforts must diverge significantly from “classical” collection methods. For low-grade intelligence, British soldiers collected intelligence and relied on others and on public opinion. The British also deployed teams trained in close observation of individuals and developed a number of flexible technical tools, such as listening devices and hidden cameras. Northern Ireland provides many examples of organizations making the transition from seeking quick victory to waging long-term operations. For security organizations, adopting a long-war approach entails shifting from decisive to patient operations and understanding how security efforts contribute to or detract from political and other efforts against an insurgency.

Reprinted with permission from Military Review, January-February 2007, pp. 74-85.

Originally published in: Military Review, January-February 2007, pp. 74-85.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Reprint series. The Reprint was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.

Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.