Intelligence: Key Concepts and Debates

Module code: PL7540

Module co-ordinator: Dr David Strachan-Morris

Module Outline

Since the end of the Cold War and particularly after the 9/11 attacks intelligence has become increasingly important to governments and other entities trying to deal with a growing number of traditional and non-traditional threats: terrorism; international crime; pandemics; natural disasters; climate change; food security; and competition for natural resources. But intelligence can only assist if it is properly understood and used effectively. Thus, the study of intelligence has now become an important component in the fields of security policy, international relations and politics. This module addresses some of the central questions about intelligence. What is intelligence? How is it managed, controlled and held accountable? Is the Intelligence Cycle valid? How can intelligence be used to reduce risk and uncertainty? What are its limitations? As a case study this module will use the Edward Snowden leaks to examine what they revealed about the conduct of intelligence and how they, in turn, affected it.

Teaching and Learning Methods

Teaching will be delivered through the University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) – Blackboard - this allows for a range of innovative and engaging teaching techniques to be used such as online presentations, podcasts, interactive message boards and Wikis, as well as one-to-one contact through conventional channels


  • Journal article analysis (20%)
  • Essay (80%)