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Essentials of Strategic Intelligence

by Loch K. Johnson, Editor


The CIA, FBI, and NSA are just three of the 16 American intelligence agencies.

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Cover image for Essentials of Strategic Intelligence

December 2014


Pages 498
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Security Studies/General
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    Hardcover: £54.00/59,00€/A$90.00

    Paperback: £34.00/37,00€/A$57.00

A highly valuable resource for students of intelligence studies, strategy and security, and foreign policy, this volume provides readers with an accessible and comprehensive exploration of U.S. espionage activities that addresses both the practical and ethical implications that attend the art and science of spying.

Essentials of Strategic Intelligence investigates a subject unknown to or misunderstood by most American citizens: how U.S. foreign and security policy is derived from the information collection operations and data analysis by the sixteen major U.S. intelligence agencies. The essays in this work draw back the curtain on the hidden side of America's government, explaining the roles of various intelligence missions, justifying the existence of U.S. intelligence agencies, and addressing the complex moral questions that arise in the conduct of secret operations.

After an introductory overview, the book presents accessibly written essays on the key topics: intelligence collection-and-analysis, counterintelligence, covert action, and intelligence accountability. Readers will understand how intelligence directly informs policymakers and why democracies need secret agencies; learn how the CIA has become deeply involved in the war-like assassination operations that target suspected foreign terrorists, even some individuals who are American citizens; and appreciate how the existence of—and our reliance on—these intelligence agencies poses challenges for democratic governance.


  • Provides a comprehensive, up-to-date examination of all aspects of intelligence by experts in the field, from collection-and-analysis and counterintelligence to covert action and accountability
  • Probes into how the United States' intelligence agencies attempt to protect the nation from cyberattacks by foreign nations and terrorist groups—and documents the successes and failures
  • Documents the involvement of the National Security Agency (NSA) in bulk "metadata" collection of information on the telephone records and social media communications of American citizens
  • Examines the effects that have resulted from major leaks in the U.S. government, from Wikileaks to the NSA Snowden leaks
Series Description

Praeger Security International

As the world gets "smaller" through technology and globalization, the security risks we face grow and multiply.

International security in the 21st century is not a topic that can be adequately addressed in nightly news soundbites or online articles intended to be relevant for 24 hours or less. Comprehending these complex issues requires insight from foreign policy specialists, diplomats, military officials, peace scholars, historians, and security experts—participants and observers on all sides of each conflict. This series provides the tools for understanding security issues in our uncertain, unstable world.

Written by subject experts and well-known researchers, the books in the Praeger Security International series give readers access to carefully considered and highly informed viewpoints on the critical security issues that threaten to destabilize our world. With titles authored by diplomats, first responders, economists, journalists, civil servants, military leaders and combatants, legal experts, psychologists, and other knowledgeable specialists, these books offer in-depth reflections, thorough analysis, and international perspectives that are unavailable in mass media. These titles represent an invaluable resource for students and researchers as well as anyone who seeks a deeper understanding of the complex issues that affect our lives and future.


  • Provides reliable, comprehensive information on all matters relating to security that is ideal for students, teachers, researchers, and professionals
  • Offers insightful commentaries written by a diverse group of scholars and experts who provide interdisciplinary treatments of newsworthy events and important historical occurrences
Author Info

Loch K. Johnson is Regents Professor of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia, Athens, GA. His published works include American Foreign Policy and the Challenges of World Leadership: Power, Principle, and the Constitution; National Security Intelligence: Secret Operations in Defense of the Democracies; and The Threat on the Horizon: An Inside Account of America's Search for Security after the Cold War; and The Oxford Handbook of National Security Intelligence. Johnson holds a doctorate in political science from the University of California, Riverside.



"Loch Johnson has pulled together the perspectives of many of the most thoughtful scholars and practitioners in the field of intelligence into one volume. Anyone who wants to understand the increasingly important role of the intelligence community needs to be familiar with the institutions and processes of intelligence—from collection, analysis, policy advice, and oversight. Essentials of Strategic Intelligence provides the depth of analysis and breadth of scope necessary to understand the real world of U.S. intelligence. It is up to date and authoritative; I highly recommend it."—James P. Pfiffner, George Mason University

"From foundational matters in the field of intelligence to the timeliest issues of our day, Essentials of Strategic Intelligence provides astute, well-documented essays that should be required reading for students of intelligence studies as well as professionals in the field. This text covers the breadth of the intelligence community in a single volume that will elucidate the practices and procedures of one of the most critical, yet least understood, contributors to American foreign policy and national security."—James Borders, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF, PhD, United States Air Force Academy

"Secrecy made intelligence the last aspect of international politics to generate serious study, but scholarship on it grew tremendously in the past 40 years. Loch Johnson’s collection now distills the important insights from this literature, together with the perspectives of practitioners, in a balanced set of trenchant essays. Essentials of Strategic Intelligence provides a thorough, deep, and up-to-date survey perfectly designed to inform students and officials alike."—Richard K. Betts, Director, Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, Columbia University

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