Many journalists and politicians attended Canberra’s recent National Security Summit, hosted by the Homeland Security Research Centre, which promotes the “security market” and “the role of private sector security services in national security”.
Refereeing Summit papers was Curtin University’s Dr Alexey Muraviev, who enjoys frequent media spots as a terror expert. Muraviev’s own paper warned of potential TEGs (Terrorists and Extremist Groups) in universities.
Acknowledging that terrorism in universities is rare, he wrote that students and staff are “in some cases turning centres of intellectual excellence into hubs of radical propaganda and recruitment centres” because universities are “where academic freedom and freedom of speech could be exploited.” Citing no evidence, he said people at risk of becoming TEGs include “orphans”, “anti-abortionists”, “impoverished” people, those who “oppose ruling governments”, “express certain cultural sympathies”, are “interested in certain sports” and “exercise regionalism”. In recruiting TEGs, “male sexuality could be exploited.”
The dynamism of the operational environment will necessitate adaptive organisations driven by “sense and respond” mechanisms able to overcome the institutional inertia inculcated through a long engagement with slow-moving, symmetric threats. A recent trend associated with the move towards “sense and respond” mechanisms has been the growth of intelligence agency staff numbers, resulting in little shared understanding of the role of intelligence, and incoherent guidance for community-wide intelligence capability development. New organisational forms are likely to emerge with core functions being outsourced to the private sector and higher education…
Hang on. Aren’t tertiary institutions “hubs of radical propaganda and recruitment centres”?
Still, if intelligence staff have “little shared understanding of the role of intelligence”, perhaps spooking should be farmed out to creative entrepreneurs:
Capability shortfalls in the intelligence community are being overcome by robust partnerships with the private sector. Future proofing of intelligence capability is achieved through contractual arrangements… Agility is provided by the emergence of “intelligence entrepreneurs”, not career intelligence officers but innovative practitioners engaged contractually…
Vodka Martini, anyone?