Vanguard Magazine

Jun/Jul 2015

Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR

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If you would like to contribute ideas or follow progress as the course is developed, please contact me at: i inTElligEnCE 44 JUNE/JULY 2015 greg Fyffe is president of CASIS and teaches intelligence and strategic thinking at the University of Ottawa. He was executive director of the Intelligence Assessment Secretariat from 2000 to 2008. The skills of successful s&i leaders S uccessful organizations have excellent leaders. Over the past decade Canada has benefitted from strong leadership in the security and intelligence sector. What are the leadership skills needed by intelligence and se- curity organizations? I have been thinking about this as I am part of a team at the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa work- ing to develop a certificate program on Security and Intelligence Leadership. Different types of organizations have common and specialized leadership needs, and we can envisage three tiers of leadership. In the first tier are the elements common to all leader- ship roles, such as passion, strategic sense, and communications. A second tier of skills applies to more specific domains. Business leaders need to manage the complex relationships between orga- nizational structure, consumer needs and product design. Lead- ers of complex bureaucracies, such as those in governments, are tasked to achieve goals within structures characterized by multiple interests, complex procedures and detailed accountability. A third tier of leadership skills applies to specific types of organi- zations within the second tier. Intelligence and security organiza- tions are bureaucracies with unique purposes and characteristics. S&I organizations operate in secret, have opponents seeking to un- dermine them, and wield extraordinary powers. If they abuse those powers, are penetrated by a foreign power, or misread a threat, the consequences can be extremely serious. A successful bureaucratic leader without the necessary extra skills needed in S&I organizations could be responsible for errors of historic proportions. I think eight leadership skills are crucial for intelligence and se- curity organizations. Evaluating global trends: Leaders need to understand what is happening around the world, what the geopolitical trends are, and what could happen in the future. They need to know about the capabilities and intentions of other countries, and increasingly, of non-state actors. Understanding diverse intellectual cultures: Leaders must be able to understand the viewpoints of people who think much differently than they do. Britain's post-war leaders took a long time to realize that the atmosphere of discontent among Britain's university elite in the thirties had created a penetration opportu- nity for the Soviet Union. Today we struggle to understand the appeal of the Islamic State, or the authoritarian state of mind be- ing created in Russia. Assessing performance: While we are familiar with ideas about bureaucratic effectiveness, it takes special insight and dedication to understand if a security and intelligence organization is really performing at an optimal level. Building trust: All organizations and their leaders need to build trust, but this is particularly so in S&I organizations. Whether collecting information or pursuing operations, S&I or- ganizations need the confidence of their internal clients, and the trust of the public. Using extraordinary powers with caution and restrain is necessary to building trust. Communicating: Security and intelligence leaders need some of the communications skills normally required of politicians, be- cause they often need to accept a higher level of organizational re- sponsibility than is usual in bureaucracies. Politicians do not gen- erally want the level of detailed knowledge and accountability for spying and other intelligence activities that equate to the level of responsibility they are expected to carry in regular departments. Assessing risk: Essential for building trust is a sense of balance in describing risk. Since the public can't independently verify a society's level of risk from terrorists, or understand the necessary resource base for protecting national security, a leader needs to be realistic in outlining dangers and needs. If time proves a danger to be exaggerated, credibility is lost for both the leader and the organization. If underestimated, a public inquiry will dissect the risk and preparedness calculations. Networking: S&I organizations link nationally and interna- tionally to share information and deal with common dangers. Leaders need to manage difficult relationships, expanding those based on common values and goals, and limiting others where the commonality of values, methods and purposes is minimal. Developing leaders: Finally, while choosing the right people for key roles is important in every organization, the wrong per- son in the wrong place can do more damage to performance and reputation in the S&I world than in most other organizations. building a leadership cadre Leadership skills mature gradually and can be enhanced, but not created, through a leadership program. A leadership certificate program in the specialized domain of intelligence and security needs to range over the skills in the three tiers of leadership capac- ity – universal, domain and sector. It should also build connections across the sector and cover central intelligence and security agen- cies, policing capacity, and private sector challenges. All are now involved protecting Canada against global terrorism, the battles of cyberspace, and the intersection with organized criminality. LEADERSHIP SUMMIT 2015 T H E D E S T I N AT I O N 2 0 2 0 L E A D E R S H I P J O U R N E Y

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