Ch. 10 in
Law Enforcement Intelligence: A Guide For State, Local, and Tribal Law Enforcement Agencies
by, David L. Carter, Ph.D.
School of Criminal Justice
Michigan State University
Chapter 10 of the Law Enforcement Intelligence: A Guide For State, Local, and Tribal Law Enforcement Agencies defines an intelligence gap as an unanswered question during the analytical process where “critical information is missing that prevents a complete and accurate assessment of an issue.”
In the past, a “dragnet” approach was the traditional method for filling information gaps. This approach set out to collect mass amounts of data in the hopes that the desired data was collected. The requirements-based approach to filling gaps seeks to make collection more objective, more efficacious, and less problematic. Dr. Carter asserts that this approach is scientific in nature and that “the intelligence function can use a qualitative protocol to collect the information that is needed to fulfill requirements. This protocol is an overlay for the complete information collection processes of the intelligence cycle.” The diagram below compares the Tradition-based and the Requirements-based approaches to filling intelligence gaps:
Carter states that organization (or even intelligence need) may have to develop its own unique process to filling information gaps, however the following acts as a good guide to follow:
- Understand your intelligence goal
- Build an analytic strategy. (What types of information are needed? How can the information be collected?)
- Define the social network. (Who is in the network? How does their business cycle function? Who has access to the information needed? What is the social behavior?)
- Define logical networks. (How does the organization operate? Funding sources. Communications sources. Logistics and supply.)
- Define physical networks.
- Task the collection process. (Determine the best methods of getting the information)
- Get the information.
- Analyze the information.