**** Aviation & Maritime Security Intelligence by Hassan Eltaher. E&W Communications; Available from ASIS, item #2014; 242 pages; $35 (ASIS member); $39 (nonmember).
This book provides a basic overview of some intelligence functions in transportation security, but it omits a number of important elements. For example, it focuses on the bureaucratic and organizational issues surrounding intelligence management rather than the fundamental concepts and potential solutions that could improve the effectiveness of intelligence support to key transportation modes. It focuses on intelligence support for an organization with regulatory oversight of security measures rather than organizations responsible for executing security operations or programs. As a result, this book is unlikely to be useful for professionals with a background in intelligence or transportation security.
The first half of the book focuses on basic concepts of intelligence and the structure of intelligence units or agencies. It includes additional material on cultural bias in the analysis and threat of terrorism. While the problem of bias is important in determining the quality of analysis, it is not the only issue affecting analytical quality. Analysts also need to understand operational contexts and structured methodologies, assess sources for accuracy and bias, and be able to defend their findings. Unfortunately, the focus on organizational constructs results in an incomplete description of the intelligence cycle.
While analysis and intelligence-sharing issues among government agencies are discussed, there is little acknowledgement of intelligence requirements for consumers who may be in a position to act, including front-line security and law enforcement personnel.
The second part of the book focuses on the aviation and maritime security operating environments. The author provides general descriptions of possible threats to maritime and aviation targets, but the context is within the international regulatory codes for maritime and aviation. The threats cited are primarily terrorism and piracy and do not focus on other issues such as organized criminal activity and smuggling. As a result, ports, ships, aircraft, and airports are treated as targets, not conduits for illicit activity.
This book’s lack of a complete description of the intelligence cycle is likely to be misleading for novice practitioners. For experienced intelligence and security practitioners, this book is unlikely to offer any new or valuable information.
Michael Edgerton, CPP, is a security consultant based in the Middle East and a member of ASIS Global Terrorism, Political Instability and International Crime Council. He has more than 28 years of military, government, and private sector experience in security and intelligence with a focus on maritime and port security.