The Threat From Below: How Intelligence Counters Irregular Threats

Claudia Hillebrand (Editor), Huw Bennett (Editor), Rory Cormac (Editor), Michael S. Goodman (Editor)

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationSpecial issue


Asymmetric or irregular conflicts, often involving non-state actors, have come to dominate the foreign policy and defence agendas of Western states. Increasingly engaged in low intensity conflicts, counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism campaigns, governments have begun to call for more, and better, information from their intelligence services. Intelligence collection, analysis and exploitation play an important part in determining how states conduct their foreign and security policies. But when facing irregular, non-state opponents, particular challenges and difficulties arise. This book aims to improve the way we think about intelligence in the context of fighting 'threats from below'. Irregular threats are by no means a new phenomenon, yet since 11 September 2001, intelligence studies, and security studies more broadly, have taken a great interest in understanding terrorist groups, and how to defeat them; however, few studies have considered the general problems encountered in understanding and countering a wide range of irregular adversaries. Crucially, the literature still lacks profound theoretical frameworks to study the role of intelligence in these areas and broadly comprises either general studies of intelligence or books on a specific irregular threat with intelligence considered as a subsidiary issue. This volume attempts to clarify our thinking about such asymmetric threats by taking a broad comparative approach and combining historical case studies with contemporary conflicts. It also examines the impact of intelligence in countering such threats, thereby placing the role of the intelligence services in broader political and military contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationInteligencia y seguridad: Revista de analisis y prospectiva
PublisherPlaza y Valdés
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


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