Kent-Kendell Debate


Since the dawn of time, military and political intelligence have been an intrinsic part for soldiers, political leaders, and diplomats. With the rising ramification of world politics, national and strategic intelligence have come to be frequently required in the highest levels of government to set national aspirations for policy-making and planning. Consequently, this inquiry aims to highlight the most substantial divergence between Kent’s and Kendall’s perception of intelligence. Besides that, this study will discuss why the said differences are imperative and worth discussing and above all, highlighting the perception which might be applicable in the contemporary society and their supporting logic.

Intrinsically, Kent’s perception was based on the conception that exclusively self-selecting, self-policing nondemocratic aristocracy could perpetuate democracy. In contrast to Kent, the progressive elitist, Kendall was a deeply unvarnished and astute believer in democracy and the rule of the majority. Ostensibly, he perceived the statutory functions of the US government as being the work of the people as the determination of a majority of the voters who had worked by electing their representatives to the various positions. From Kendell’s perspective, the uniqueness of the American society lay in the fact that changes to the country could only be achieved through voting. Apparently, if one needed to lead the country, he or she had to seek the mandate of the voters as opposed to taking control of the functional bureaucracy. In this regard convincing a majority of the populace to support your idea could be the only way of making changes to the society

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Kendall perceived Kent’s analysis – that national intelligence was divided into both national and international – as a deterrent to analysts who may have wanted to examine how US’s actions vary with time. Kendal rebuffed what he portrayed as Kent’s quintessential bureaucratic scholars analyzing of information to comprehend the outside world for the benefit of organizational policy handlers and planers. Specifically, the Kendal was against the use analysis of outdated documents as a means of acquiring intelligence. In contrast to Kent, Kendal was of the perspective that intelligence gathered was to aid politically responsible individuals for them to meet their foreign policy goals and objectives. In large extent, this goal was to be achieved through identification of aspects, which were responsive to the US influence. Furthermore, Kendall stressed that if intelligence roles were to make decision-making tasks lighter, the perspectives of Kent on taking account of social science theory and domestic US politics were self-defeating at best

Another dissimilarity between the Kent and Kendall was highlighted in their belief that research contained solutions to specific situations and conditions. For instance, Kent perceived research as a source of solutions. He perceived strategic intelligence as a science or research which could be pursued for the benefit of a state. Additionally he strived to ensure that the analysis of intelligence could be turned into a science: “we insist, and have insisted for decades , that truth is to be drawn nearer, if not attained, through research guided by a systematic methodology. In the social sciences, which by a large extent constitute the subject matter of strategic intelligence, there is such a method. It is not the same method, but it is a method nonetheless”. On the other hand, Kendal was more inclined towards the solving of mysteries. 

The differences highlighted above are significant as attributed to the fact that they teach about the past, deciphering the present as well as providing knowledge for practitioners in the field of intelligence to make future forecasts. Broadly viewed such information is integral to understanding the role of intelligence in governance. On the other hand, the differences played a central role in ensuring that intelligence studies were cumulative. This measure has been attained through putting in place formalized and accepted means of not only creating and storing but also documenting information for the benefit of future generations

Kent’s perception on the relationship between the consumers and producers is the most relevant to the contemporary society. He contended that the intelligence gathering process should be separated from the people whom it is intended to help. The reason for its applicability in the current society is attributed to the fact that it involves people in the decision-making process, encouraging them to tackle criminal and anti-social demeanor. Besides that, the vision calls upon people to come up with solutions for meeting their daily needs

To conclude, it is apparent that knowledge plays an indispensable role in the deciphering of human behavior. Therefore, the practices and doctrines through which man attempts to consolidate national intelligence with external information should be more trailed on conducting adequate research as opposed to aggravating social scientists continuing interests. 

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