MI5’s tech skills lacking, admits director-general

Jonathan Evans

Jonathan Evans

By IAN ALLEN| intelNews.org |
The director-general of MI5, Britain’s foremost domestic intelligence agency, has revealed his concern that the organization he heads lacks officers with even basic skills in information technology. Speaking before the British Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, Jonathan Evans said he thought “some [MI5] staff perhaps aren’t quite the ones that we will want for the future”. He continued by saying that that the lack of even basic computer skills among MI5’s aging officer ranks have sparked the introduction of a program of “both voluntary and compulsory redundancies”. Ironically, the expected layoffs are taking place during MI5’s most rapid expansion in recent memory. The agency’s budget has nearly doubled in less than a decade, and so has its workforce: from just over 2,000 employees in 2001, MI5’s workforce has now reached 3,500, and is expected to surpass 4,000 by 2011. Read more of this post

Expert warns of generational gap in Western intelligence services

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Security expert Kevin O’Brien has given an interview to Reuters news agency, in which he warns of “serious generational differences and disparities between [intelligence] managers’ and analysts’ cognitive outlooks”. The gap between older, “Generation Y” intelligence employees and the “digital generation”, is rapidly becoming apparent, as twenty-something spies and analysts are entering the intelligence job market in large numbers. O’Brien says the new generation of recruits features strong cyber skills and thinking habits shaped online. What is more, the way these new recruits process information poses “a generational test” for Western espionage organizations, which are desperately trying to deepen their knowledge and understanding of online-savvy and progressively more transnational militant groups. O’Brien’s interview, and his latest paper on the subject, can be accessed here.

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