Michael Landon-Murray is a Ph.D. candidate in Public Policy and Administration at the University at Albany’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy. His areas of focus include intelligence oversight, intelligence analysis, and intelligence education. Landon-Murray received a Master’s in Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh, where his concentration was Security and Intelligence Studies. He can be contacted at email@example.com. Ian Anderson is currently an intelligence analyst in the public sector and a contributing researcher at the University at Albany’s Project on Violent Conflict (PVC). Previously, Anderson was Research Director at PVC and an undergraduate researcher with the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism And Responses to Terrorism (START). His primary research interests are intelligence analysis, terrorist organizational and network dynamics, and terrorist targeting behavior. Anderson earned his MPA, focusing in Homeland Security, at the University at Albany’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Intelligence analysis, Intelligence collection, Intelligence studies/education, Methodology
This article argues the neuroplastic effects of contemporary internet use will have critical implications for the U.S. Intelligence Community. Studies have shown the internet and related technologies are fundamentally changing the way people engage information, which in turn has compromised cognitive functioning in a number of important ways. In the analytic segments of intelligence organizations, this phenomenon speaks directly to a—if not the—core occupational function: focused, disciplined thinking. This issue can be expected to be more pronounced among younger and newer analytic cohorts, though it certainly is not an issue reserved for these cohorts alone. While the internet has brought many advances and advantages to the U.S. Intelligence Community, it is incumbent upon intelligence managers to stay aware of emerging threats to analytic process and outputs. In this article, the basic concepts and science of neuroplasticity are introduced, as well as specific findings pertaining to the neuroplastic effects of internet usage. Potential implications for U.S. intelligence organizations are then explored. The article concludes with suggestions for mitigation and future research.
Landon-Murray, Michael and Anderson, Ian. “Thinking in 140 Characters: The Internet, Neuroplasticity, and Intelligence Analysis.” Journal of Strategic Security 6, no. 3 (2013): 73-82.