1 Using international security research networks: the Global Futures Forum Jean-Louis TiernanSr. Coordinator, Academic OutreachCanadian Security Intelligence Service
2 What the GFF is Global knowledge network ForesightGlobal knowledge networkLaunched by Canada and the U.SDriven by governmentsInvolves over 40 countriesServes security and intelligenceSteers clear of policy prescriptionsExamines transnational security issuesResearchExpertoutreach2
3 What the GFF isA multinational, multidisciplinary network led by intelligence and security agencies to gain better understanding of global security issuesWorks exclusively in the unclassified domainEngages in strategic-level dialogue and research aimed at enhancing common capabilities for foresight and insight (“avoiding blind spots”)Includes experts from a wide range of professional sectors and disciplines, both governmental and non-governmentalFeatures self-organising communities of interest focussed on specific global security issues, on methodologies for making sense of these issues, and on ways to transform organisations to better cope with themInvolves collaboration, both virtually—on a password-protected web site— and in regular face-to-face meetings at locations around the world
4 What the GFF doesTo reap the benefits of networked collaboration for intelligence analysis, the GFF:Tests current thinking, challenges analytic assumptions, widens the range of considered outcomes, and discovers questions that are not being asked;Complements traditional intelligence analysis by creating a context to interpret classified information;Generates collaborative insights and early warning of potential threats and opportunities that might go unrecognised by relying solely on traditional intelligence;Enables rapid learning through real-time exchanges;Encourages the sharing, co-creation, and integration of new analytic methodologies;Creates non-traditional linkages among governments, academe, think-tanks and business.
5 GFF and traditional intelligence Global Futures ForumTraditional intelligenceCollaborative insightsPromotes diversity of opinionBottom-up formulation of issues that need to be consideredGlobal perspectivesUnclassified, focus on broad and longer-term issuesAnalysis and collectionDrives towards common assessmentTop-down levying of requirements for questions that need to be answeredFocus on national perspectivesClassified, focus on tactical and operational concernsComplementarity
6 An evolving idea: history of the GFF The GFF is the outcome of three international conferences:Rome 04For the first recordedtime after WWII, headsof assessments fromover 30 countries meetin an unclassifiedenvironment todiscuss global issues.The need for innovativeCollaborationis recognised.Washington 05Building on theexchange in Rome,the CIA’s GlobalFutures Partnershipproposes the GFF as acollaborative model;34 countries join, eachdefining their leveland mode of participationPrague 06A year after the GFF waslaunched, existing andnew members meet totake stock of the initiative.Topic-specific workinggroups (communities ofinterest) discuss earlyresults; other jointinitiatives areproposedVancouver08A year after the GFF waslaunched, existing andnew members meet totake stock of the initiative.Topic-specific workinggroups (communities ofinterest) discuss earlyresults; other jointinitiatives areproposed
7 An evolving idea: history of the GFF The GFF is the outcome of international conferences:Prague 2006Singapore 2010Rome 2004Washington 2005Vancouver 2008
8 How it works The General Meetings The international conferences which led to the GFF have become interactive meeting points for the global analytic community. Hosted by a different country every year, the annual meeting, likened by some to a “mini Davos of analysis”, sets the direction of the GFF for the year ahead. It also provides a platform to examine emerging issues.Communities of interest and other substantive activitiesCommunities of interest (COIs), led and developed by various countries, meet between the annual meetings to discuss specific global security issues. Existing and past COIs have looked into: radicalisation, global disease, illicit trafficking, social networks, technological surprise, genocide prevention, proliferation, the practise and organisation of intelligence, economic security and strategic foresight and warning.On-line collaborationBetween face-to-face meetings, the current 1500 individual members use the password-protected site to share resources and exchange using blogs, discussion forums, wikis, etc.
9 Role of CSIS and Canada’s place Plans and develops the participation of Canada’s S&I community in the Forum;Chairs informal national advisory group (PCO, CSIS, DND, CBSA, DFAIT, RCMP) to co-ordinate input;Supports our U.S. intelligence partners in developing and expanding the Forum globally;Sets Canadian position on governance issues;Chairs GFF Steering Group;Serves as strategic facilitator: Canada now most active member country.
10 Results so far Contents point of view Community of interest on radicalisation (Meech Lake, Brussels, Ottawa, The Hague, Singapore). Those have allowed the community to understand an issue characterised by an extreme case of information overflow.Innovative methodologies to explore trends in radicalisation were used, including alternative scenarios.Systems model to understand the linkages between actors and motivations in illicit trafficking (small arms, drugs, humans).Process point of view“Early signals”: As a result of Canada’s involvement, rehearsed professional networks are now in place and can be relied on to receive updates from various capitals or research centres.Vancouver 2008: Canada emerges as an innovator in intelligence.Significant boost to launch CSIS Academic Outreach program in 2008.
11 What next? Some upcoming activities Making foresight “actionable” (U.S.) – MarchProsperity and Security: the Challenges of Uncertain Economic Times (Canada) – 8 March and 15 AprilPractise and organisation of intelligence (Denmark) – JunePractise and organisation of intelligence (Switzerland) – early 2011Food security (Canada) – early 2011
12 Some lessons learned Making networks work? Foresight is important can be discredited easily with bad planningIdentify your needs as governmentManage your expectations; set goalsStar small and use precise focusUse GFF as an entrepreneurial lab12