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Mese: Maggio 2021

Kevin Riehle | KGB, GRU, FSB – Russian Intelligence History and Present | Intelligence & Interview N.35 | Giangiuseppe Pili

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After, well, thirty-four publications (plus the others already scheduled), it was time to cover one of the most fascinating topics in intelligence history. Yes, we are talking about the Russian intelligence and the KGB from the Czarist foundation to our days. The KGB was considered by many as the most powerful intelligence service globally, which should probably raise immediately the question of where and under what conditions such a powerful state institution is indeed legitimate in the first place. This is already enough for presenting this interview but let me add a couple of observations. We should not consider the KGB as a rule in the intelligence realm or as an example to be followed. We must consider it as what to avoid at any cost. Intelligence history is never “just” history (assuming that there is history that is “just” history). For this reason, I approached Professor Kevin Riehle (National Intelligence University, USA). This interview will accompany the reader from the inception of the Russian intelligence to the current institutional frame and organization. It is a deep dive into the Russian intelligence world. The first time I met Kevin, we were in Aberystwyth (back then… in person). We briefly discussed the relationship between intelligence and democracy and the importance of grounding the intelligence activity to the values inscribed into the constitution. More recently, during research on intelligence teaching, I had the pleasure to read one of his papers, this one on intelligence education (highly recommended), and to hear his presentation at the last International Studies Association Convention. It is then with my distinct pleasure to publish the interview on Scuola Filosofica – for those who don’t know it yet; it is one of the leading cultural blogs in Italy. In the name of Scuola Filosofica Team, our readers, and myself, Giangiuseppe Pili, Kevin: thank you!


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defense or any U.S. government agency.

Ralf Lillbacka | Clausewitz, Uncertainty and Intelligence | Intelligence & Interview N.34 | Giangiuseppe Pili

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When I was working on my recent three-fold research papers on intelligence analysis, I came across a journal article that fascinated me quite a lot since I’ve read the title. It was the case in which the content I read was exactly as good as my expectations (which are usually extremely high when they come to peer-review scientific papers). Indeed, since I started studying war theory and the philosophy of war, Clausewitz’s On War was mandatory reading. Interestingly, Clausewitz is inversely proportionally considered in intelligence and war studies. If he is one of the founding fathers of the modern understanding of war (and rightly so, notwithstanding many critics), he is almost entirely dismissed in the intelligence domain. Yes, true, he stated that intelligence is unreliable by nature, that the commander should avoid to trust intelligence (too much), and that uncertainty is inherently part of war and warfare… and so he couldn’t be said a big supporter of intelligence in general. Is this sufficient to discharge his work? So, when I read An Outline of a Clausewitzian Theory of Intelligence I finally found a partial vindication of my long-lasting necessity to see Clausewitz better considered within the intelligence studies and, more broadly, intelligence. But even more importantly, in an age that prizes all that comes from the last technological invention but the human brain, it is always healthy to remember how our world is ultimately unpredictable and dominated by an intrinsic uncertainty. The efforts of the last seventy years were to prove that everything has its own place as if nature and human beings are only tiny cogged wheels, in spite of all suggested by history and by ordinary life (actually). Then, after such a reading, I almost felt obliged to contact Dr Lillbacka to have a deeper conversation about these topics. This interview is part of this discussion which, I hope, you will find as fascinating as insightful. In addition, I invite the readers to discover Lillbacka’s publications, which are as rich as rigorous. There is no question that not everything can be covered in a single interview but I hope you will find so much to think about prediction, friction, and uncertainty that, at least, you will be enriched as much as I did. It is then with my distinct pleasure to publish the interview on Scuola Filosofica – for those who don’t know it yet; it is one of the leading cultural blogs in Italy. In the name of Scuola Filosofica Team, our readers, and myself, Giangiuseppe Pili, Ralf: thank you!

Alina Frolova | Ukraine and Russian Hybrid Warfare | Intelligence & Interview N.33 | Roman Kolodii

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Since the beginning of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine in 2014, international security research has been extensively shaped by increased focus on information operations and hybrid warfare. The Kremlin’s use of multiple instruments of power, including cyberattacks, conventional troops, economic pressure and massive disinformation campaigns, has threatened security of not only Ukraine, but many Western democracies as well. Although foreign experts’ analysis of the Russian hybrid warfare often takes into account vulnerabilities and mistakes made by Ukraine, it seems to accord less attention to the multiple ways in which the country succeeds in handling Russian aggression. While Ukraine has been a testing ground of new-generation warfare techniques, it has also conducted testing of many diverse countermeasures to mitigate them. To enrich international discussion on the Russian hybrid warfare with the knowledge of Ukrainian strategies and solutions towards it, we have invited to our series Alina Frolova, an experienced professional in the field of strategic, government and crisis communications based in Ukraine. Before assuming her current position as Deputy Chairman of the Centre for Defence Strategies in Kyiv, Alina has served as a public official in the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine and Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine, where she facilitated implementation of strategic and government communications amid the ongoing conflict. In our interview with Alina, we discuss the importance of strategic communications and key factors behind their success, the most effective mechanisms against foreign influences, recent escalation along the Ukrainian border, as well as Ukraine’s image abroad and the country’s progress in the pursuit of NATO membership thus far. On behalf of the Scuola Filosofica Team, our readers, and myself, Roman Kolodii, Alina: thank you!


1# Alina, how would you like to present yourself to the international readers of Scuola Filosofica?

Alina Frolova, Deputy Chairman, Centre for Defence Strategies, Founder of StratcomUA (Center for Strategic Communications), Deputy Minister of Defence of Ukraine 2019-2020.


Matematica e Scacchi: un confronto

 

Godfrey H. Hardy è stato un illustre matematico inglese, nato a Cranleigh nel 1877 e morto a Cambridge nel 1947. Ha apportato contributi notevoli a più di un settore della sua scienza, e ha fatto da mentore all’originale matematico indiano Srinivasa Ramanujan. A Hardy e al medico tedesco Wilhelm Weinberg si deve una legge, nell’ambito della Teoria dell’Evoluzione, inerente alla stabilità genetica di una popolazione (date certe condizioni), che i due formularono indipendentemente l’uno dall’altro.

Nel saggio Apologia di un matematico, pubblicato nel 1940 (io mi riferisco all’edizione Garzanti 1989, contenente la Prefazione del fisico e scrittore inglese Charles P. Snow all’edizione uscita nel 1967 e la Presentazione del matematico Edoardo Vesentini), egli ha esaltato la dimensione scientifica, culturale ed estetica della Matematica, prima ancora di quella meramente utilitaria. Ha inoltre istituito un interessante confronto fra la Matematica e il gioco degli Scacchi nonché, nel contesto di quest’ultimo, fra i problemi e il gioco vivo.