Intelligence Cycle

Nolan's Definition of the Intelligence Cycle and its Applicability

Nolan (2015) defines an intelligence cycle as "the collecting of information that supports the codification of military processes and behavior" based on Warner's description. As a result, the cycle must contain the steps of gathering relevant information, analyzing it, and disseminating it for usage in the field, which is constantly revolving. In today's world, there is a discussion concerning the usefulness of the same in light of technological and societal changes. For example, modern technology provides for speedier information analysis and replies almost in real time, allowing responsible individuals to make speedy judgments (Nolan, 2015). Also, many organizations have various needs in different parts of the world. Therefore, the applicability of the intelligence cycle to security situations needs to respond to the needs of that particular region or organization. In this regard, the flexibility and accuracy of the same are imperative for an achievement of the objectives. There is a need to explain and analyze the current cycle and how various suggestions to its modification to keep up with changes try to fix the shortcomings.

Elements of the Intelligence Collection and Dissemination

According to Nolan (2015), there are five primary elements involved in the collection and dissemination of intelligence. They include the planning, collection, processing, analysis, and distribution of the information before the process begins afresh. One of the most significant things to note is that it follows a particular pattern through which information is exchanged before finally reaching the decision maker who then fast tracks the recommendations. However, critics argue that the digital and big data analytic tools process the knowledge quickly and accurately hence the cycle is irrelevant (Nolan, 2015). Based on this problem, most of the suggestions to replace it tend to address specific challenges in various environments as a way to improve the same. For example, there is a faction that prefers a substitution with a web which is more complicated and has many arrows pointing in multiple directions. Others include the Venn diagram that focuses on intelligence producers and the policymakers, Brantly's cycle, and the matrix model by Hulnick among others (Nolan, 2015). The underlying reason for the suggestion is to indicate the actual representation of the relationship and communication between different entities in the circle, and how to adapt to various unique situations. In the end, such a cycle would not only reflect a problem unique to one region but also can be applicable in other areas facing the same issue (Nolan, 2015). In essence, the differences in the levels of development and technology, cultural backgrounds, and nature of social problems make the process of coming up with a universal intelligence cycle difficult hence the usability of the current one complemented by individually suggested ones unique to a specific area.

Crime Reduction through Intelligence-Led Policing

In the contemporary society, police officers are increasingly investing in the collection of intelligence as a way to measure and detect crime areas as well as change the perception of people towards crime as a way to reduce the number of crimes. According to research by Sorg et al. (2013), there are three primary intelligence-led policing strategies which help reduce the rate of crime significantly. The first one which also forms the foundation of the research is Foot patrols in the hot spot areas for criminal activities. In this measure, the collection of information and accurate identification of the hot spots is essential to the successful implementation of the policing strategy (Sorg et al., 2013). In most cases, the police collect information regarding particular crimes which are frequent in the recent periods, as well as the areas affected. Through the use of scientific approaches, they map out the street corners and deploy both vehicle and foot patrols that help deter of displacing the criminals. In light of this, some people fear that displacement a crime to another place does not help solve the crime (Sorg et al., 2013). However, with efficient resources to invest in the collection of intelligence on the same, the police will understand, and predict criminal behavior and attitudes, hence, through having confidence in them, they are likely to deter crime from happening. The second way is through community policing.

Over the years, the collaboration between the members of the society and the police have contributed not only to crime prevention but also the introduction of programs which can influence the attitudes of teenagers towards violence or crime at an early age. In this regard, the delinquents are likely to engage in positive activities that keep them preoccupied and eventually become useful in the society rather than delinquents. However, as Durlauf and Nagin argue, lack of resources to invest in the policing strategies hinders effective dissemination of the programs such as educative programs (Sorg et al., 2013). Lastly, through reducing the incarceration rates and the harshness of punishment and instead focusing on changing perceptions of people through evidence-based practice, the police can be able to control crime rates through prevention. Despite the positive consequences expected, critics argue that the program does not work and in most cases is a waste of public money (Sorg et al., 2013). However, with innovation and concentration on the utilization of intelligence gathered and analyzed, the crime rate will go down eventually.


Nolan, C. (2015). Understanding the Intelligence Cycle. Edited by Mark Phythian. New York: Routledge, 2013. Journal Of Strategic Security, 8(4), 114-116.

Sorg, E., Haberman, C., Ratcliffe, J., & Groff, E. (2013). Foot Patrol in Violent Crime Hot Spots: The Longitudinal Impact of Deterrence and Posttreatment Effects of Displacement. Criminology, 51(1), 65-101.

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