The U.S. Intelligence Community Needs a New Business Model

Growing Competition and an Abundance of Information Negates the IC’s Founding Value Proposition

Zachery Tyson Brown
8 min readFeb 19, 2021
Photo by Museums Victoria on Unsplash

The U.S Intelligence Community needs a new business model, one that’s better suited for an era inundated with useful information and characterized by the demand for radical transparency. The next generation of national security leaders will, quite simply, expect more — more personalization, more collaboration, and more convenience.

Intelligence officers will likely bristle at the metaphor — intelligence isn’t a business, after all. But borrowing a few concepts from the private sector can help intelligence leaders better understand the successive waves of disruption that are right now undermining the very foundations of their vital institution.

Business models are stories about how an enterprise works. They are built from assumptions about the competitive environment and the kinds of problems that customers need to solve. Good business models have compelling value propositions that explain how a potential product or service solves those problems. Simply put, successful businesses offer better solutions than their competitors.

When the intelligence community was established at the beginning of the Cold War, its…