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Information Evaluation by Philippe Capet, Thomas Delavallade

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Chapter 4

Information Evaluation in the Military Domain: Doctrines, Practices and Shortcomings

4.1. Introduction

Information evaluation, the fundamental theme of this book, is by no means a new idea, and is profitably used in a number of domains (physical, economical, biological, demographical and many more). Yet the establishment of a method, and the attempt to establish a certain rigor of this practice as part of an overall process, are, without a doubt, attributable to the domain of Defense. The origin of information, as well as its content, plays a crucial role both in a strategic and tactical context. Far from being reserved for espionage or data encoding, information evaluation is quite rightly considered to be an essential step in the preparation of a maneuver, the understanding of a situation in a theater of operations, or the making of a decision at a politico-strategic level.

In this chapter, we begin by presenting the doctrines in force regarding information evaluation (which does not necessarily mean that they reflect the real-world uses and practices of military intelligence personnel). Then, from a purely conceptual point of view, we hold up some of the shortcomings of these definitions and their associated underlying uses. These various theoretical difficulties could potentially cause very damaging practical consequences, in that they make any attempt at information evaluation impossible and, therefore, may have repercussions throughout the process of which information ...

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