ISSN 2822-3349 (Printed)
ISSN 2822-3357 (Online)

Interview with Sir David Omand GCB Social Media Intelligence is a Separate Discipline

30.01.2024 | İÇAD


Journal of Intelligence Research and Studies (İÇAD) is pleased to host an interview with Sir David Omand GCB, visiting Professor in the Department of War Studies Department, King’s College London. David Omand is a Cambridge University graduate in economics. He is a member of the editorial board of Intelligence and National Security. He is responsible for delivering training to government intelligence analysts, and lectures regularly to BA and MA level classes in intelligence studies. After 9/11 he was appointed the first UK Security and Intelligence Coordinator, responsible to the Prime Minister for the professional health of the intelligence community, national counter-terrorism strategy and “homeland security”. He served for seven years on the Joint Intelligence Committee. He was Permanent Secretary of the Home Office from 1997 to 2000, and before that Director of GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters, the UK SIGINT Agency). Previously, in the Ministry of Defence he was Deputy Under Secretary of State for Policy, and was Principal Private Secretary to the Defence Secretary during the Falklands conflict. He served for three years in NATO Brussels as the UK Defence Counsellor. He has published a range of scholarly articles and four books, Securing the State (London: Hurst/Columbia, 2010); Principled Spying: The Ethics of Secret Intelligence, with Mark Phythian (Oxford/Georgetown University Press, 2018); How Spies Think: 10 Lessons from Secret Intelligence (London: Penguin Viking 2020); and most recently How to Survive a Crisis: Lessons in Resilience and Avoiding Disaster (London: Penguin Viking, 2023). He co-authored the first study of what he termed SOCMINT, “social media intelligence”, which analyzed the potential use of social media for intelligence purposes. His paper entitled Digital Intelligence and the Norms that should Govern It (London, 2015) played an important role in shaping the outcome of Carl Bildt’s Global Commission on Internet Governance (2015). He was a member of the RUSI Independent Surveillance Review, A Democratic Licence to Operate, commissioned by the UK Deputy Prime Minister and that contributed to the passing of the Investigatory Powers Act of November 2016. In addition, the review he chaired on The Security Implications of Drones (Birmingham, 2014) made a significant contribution to the evolution of British policy on the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. His contribution to the academic study of intelligence and security issues has been widely recognized. He has received Honorary Doctorates from the University of Birmingham and the University of Glasgow and is an honorary Fellow of Corpus Christi College Cambridge. After retirement from the Civil Service, Sir David studied mathematics and theoretical physics with the Open University and was awarded a First-Class honors degree. He continues to contribute to the study and practice of security policy as a Distinguished Fellow of the Royal United Services Institute and as a member of the editorial board of this journal. He is a frequent contributor to national debates on security issues on television, radio and in the media. He is currently a senior advisor to Paladin Capital Group, a global investor that supports innovative cyber technology companies.

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