TITLE: Better an Office of Sovietology
AUTHOR: John Whitman
A colledion ol articles on Ihe historical, operational, doctrinal, and theoretical aspects ol intelligence.
All staiemenls of fact, opinion or analysis expressed in Studies inlntelligence are those of
Ihe authors They do not necessarily reflect official positionsews of the Central Intelligence Agency or any other US Government entity, past or present. Nothing in the contents should be construed as asserting or implying US Govemmenl endorsement of an article's factual statements and interpretations.
Prescribes stronger medicine lor the foregoing ailment.
BETTER AN OFFICE OF SOVIETOLOGY
It Is very good that Mr. Shryock hasiscussion or the methods of sovietology; the debate is overdue, and we are In his debt. To my mind he exaggerates, here and there, the devotion with which lnd^dualjanalysts cling tpflflfrnethod^as ology, forsaking all others, buteneralization hiscan standair statement of what's wrong and ought to be set right,
I am surprised, however, that an Intelligence officer of Mr.
Shryock's experience could bring himself to endorse, asartial solution, an ad hoc workingask force by any other name smells not one whiff better.ody, asknows, Is nothingloating crap game from which anyone can return and tell his boss that he won (or that the dice weren ad hoc working group produces noand Its chairman writes no fitness reports.
The national estimating process contributes even less to the synthesis of methods and Insights for which Mr. Shryock calls While the drafters of an NIE may be partial to one or another of Mr. Shryock's schools, they perform little sustainedof their own and are in principle eclectic. Theiris produced with little participation by the multifarious units of sovietologists tucked away In various parts of the community. While any of these school* may get Itsontribution to the estimate. In practice it haschance to argue them during the drafting.
There is much merit In Mr. Shryock's new suggestionournal of sovietology be founded, drawing on governmental and academic analysts alike. The field Is small. Itsare scattered, and theyedium of communication which would organise polemics and help set standards In an area of investigation that la still relatively young.ournal could alsoazaar where analysts could trade with each other not only questions which have no answers butwhjch have no questions (as onhe need
Isighly specialized, highly professional publication-somethingovietologist wouldIt Is unlikely to be met by private Initiative. If only because more than half the talent Is In the Intelligence community. And by rriaking the field respectable It might help solve the problem of where the next generation of sovietologists is to come from.
But let us focus now on the moat pregnant passage In Mr. Shryock's essay:there shouldariety of schools, or sub-schools, which ride with the assigned function, not with thehe development of this thought may lead usto tOa fundamental difficulty "and suggest lta*eure.
Isn't It clear that the multiplicity of schools arlsea directly from the multiplicity of assigned functions? If youan downesk and tell him he Is responsible for culling and translating gems from the Soviet press, dont be surprised If his analyses, and therefore his selections, take no account of the relative postures of the United States and the USSR in strategic attack forces- If you sit another man downesk somewhere else and tell rum to keep books on the assignments and associations of Klrllenko, don't be surprised If he can't tell you whether the esoteric content of KMlenko's speeches suggests revisionist or dogmatic proclivities. Create twofor current reporting, tell one that It is responsible for exploiting radio and press and the other that its primaryIs "everythingwhatever thatnd you cantake it for granted that the resulting rivalry will notruitful one.
In CIA,lance at the Agency's organization shows, the economic, scientific, and some other fields are legitimatefor research, but politics Is not. Under the existing ground rules Soviet politics can be treated In CIA only as anImportant one. but still onetheof foreign documents and broadcasts, of the production of biographic Information, of the publication of currentetc
Mr. Shryock la right that all schools are needed.ear that they will continue to work at cross purposes so long as they remain In different bureaucracies rather than being unitedingle organizational framework devoted toall methodologiesingleanalysis of Soviet politicsesearch problem.Original document.