Critical information is information which could be of some use in our security objectives pertaining to a nation;s homeland security or counter terrorism doctrine. This information is usually somewhat important but it cannot be directly used within a specific requirement. A typical example may be the state department or any other intelligence organization raising the threat alert in a respective country. This is critical information because it means that we should be on alert for a possible attack and prepare our procedures and emergency protocols in accordance. But for which scenario??? for which installation??? in a mall or airport??? In which city? for what type of attack????
As a result of this uncertainty, this piece of critical information which has gone through a certain lever of analysis before being announced, often ends up being limited in its application! If i am the director of security of a mall, now??what do i do right now? the best scenario is that i may ask for security back up and tell my security personnel to be more alert! but this is all theory because there is no tangible scenario that i can relate to and make my surgical adaptations to reinforce my security posture!
Well this is where operational intelligence comes in! Operational intelligence is intelligence which i can use in real time!. Intelligence which i can translate immediately in my installation! Consequently, i may make the necessary surgical changes, prepare for something tangible and educate my personnel accordingly. This also reduces the stress level as you are not facing something virtual but instead you are required to look for something specific- like a collector of information or a group of terrorist that are seeking to sabotage your installation. Therefore our response becomes symmetric.
The time has arrived for organizations to understand the difference and begin training for developing operational intelligence- an operational art !