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Author Topic: How and where to you learn to stategize like this?  (Read 848 times)

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Offline TaintedAndDelishTopic starter

How and where to you learn to stategize like this?
« on: August 05, 2015, 09:00:29 PM »
So I've found it really intriguing to read about strategic operations like Operation Snow White, Project MKULTRA and Congress for Cultural Freedom.

While these operations were costly, and somewhat nefarious I find the intelligence, planning and organization behind them to be fascinating. These examples above were well planned out and were very effective. I am wondering if there is a specific name for this kind of planning or some field of study that deals with this kind of thinking in particular?

Any ideas on how to learn more about this type of planning or any links to other similar operations would be greatly appreciated both for learning and entertainment purposes.


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Re: How and where to you learn to stategize like this?
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2015, 11:54:31 PM »
It's called espionage. :|

The strategy is very simple, undermine your enemy. The tactics, which is what you're actually talking about, change constantly though.

If you want a fairly basic understanding, Sun Tzu's The Art of War has extensive essays on intelligence gathering, disinformation, and spy rings.

Offline TaintedAndDelishTopic starter

Re: How and where to you learn to stategize like this?
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2015, 08:21:30 AM »
Thanks.  I always thought of espionage as spying more than strategic planning, but I do see how they would overlap.  I found something interesting in the process, something called S.W.O.T.  Analysis. This is a little closer to what I was searching for.

Offline Cassandra LeMay

Re: How and where to you learn to stategize like this?
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2015, 11:13:56 AM »
I guess the most general term to describe the planning processes and thinking that goes into any large-scale operation like that would be 'project management'. At least some parts of it would fall under what's usually covered by 'logistics'.

As an aside to the term "espionage", there are some differences between espionage and "spying". As far as I understand it (please note that English is not my native language), spying, as a legal term, usally describes working directly for/with a foreign intelligence agency to discover the secrets of the targeted nation/organization. Espionage, on the other hand, means revealing secret information to unauthorized parties, either to disadvantage your own government/state or give another state an advantage.

To illustrate: A foreign agent bribes/coerces a government employee into handing over some secret information. The foreign agent engages in spying, but the government worker commits espionage - he hands over clasified files, but does not work directly for a foreign intelligence agency.

Offline Parker

Re: How and where to you learn to stategize like this?
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2015, 08:29:41 PM »
In the US, where this kind of work is usually carried out by state-sponsored actors, the agencies in question train their own - the CIA for example takes a look at ( mostly ) young people from high quality "general" sources such as Ivy League schools and entices candidates who seem to be of quality to apply, and train them over the course of a career.

Again as an example, the CIA has a number of different divisions - technology, logistics, field operations, and administration for example, and after basic orientation and training in fieldcraft, history of espionage and related topics ( cryptology, etc. ) the new employee starts down a career track in one of the divisions, receiving more advanced training as they progress in their careers. Logistics and support is huge - not everybody is dreaming up field ops or is actually in the field servicing dead drops, turning key foreign assets, or otherwise furthering the agency's agenda.

In the US, there are several different agencies with often-overlaping responsibilities - CIA is responsible for gathering information on all current and potential enemies of the US and building up actionable intelligence and assets to forward US diplomacy. The NSA has vaguely the same overall charter but has technology ( comms, codes, computers and so on ) as its main purview. DHS and the FBI operate as the CIA does but ( mostly ) with a more domestic charter, from within the country itself. Each branch of the US military has its own intelligence agency and focus on tactical or strategic operations. All of these agencies share information to some extent, and use a hugely varying set of collections methods such as the internet and other open-source collection, human eyes and ears, satellite reconnaissance, electronic surveillance of comms, pattern analysis of behavior and traffic, and many more.

Agencies and their people train constantly, and ( try to ) adapt to a changing world. Drones, non-state actors, corporate concerns blending with national agendas, and an increased reliance on vulnerable technologies continues to change how people do this kind of work.

Some of the work agencies do is very tactical - let's get this person to defect, let's get the plans for that new fighter jet, let's see what their building over here. The work can also be strategic - How would this country likely respond to an oil shortage, how is this other region most vulnerable, in case the actors here decide to take a poke at our interests?

Offline didoanna

Re: How and where to you learn to stategize like this?
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2015, 07:08:55 AM »
Speaking of planning and the like, what a great film with a (I think) an excellent realistic ending.....