module specification

SS7076 - History of Intelligence: Successes and Failures (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title History of Intelligence: Successes and Failures
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities
Total study hours 200
170 hours Guided independent study
30 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Essay
Coursework 50%   Essay
Running in 2017/18 No instances running in the year

Module summary

The lessons of history are applied to most professions, skills and areas of knowledge to enhance efficiency and learn from mistakes. They are essential to the craft of intelligence both in public and private sector. This module gives a long term overview of the history of intelligence and then drills down into specific past case studies, issues and areas whose lessons are vital to modern intelligence concepts and practice.

Module aims

  1. The module integrates with those of Intelligence Analysis and International Security Studies to ensure the course affords student a holistic and contextual view of intelligence in national and regional contexts
  2. It enhances student awareness of the breadth and scope of intelligence use and procedure
  3. It encourages and enhances student critical thinking regarding the gathering , securing, storage and use of intelligence


  • Overview of history of intelligence
  • Development of use of intelligence by focussing upon in-depth periods and milestone events
  • Development of the use of intelligence in public and private sector agencies and organisations
  • Case studies of past intelligence failures and successes and lessons learned
  • Sources of information and the evolution of source handling
  • Sources-and the rise and impact of the open source era.
  • The internal enemy-subversion and penetration

Learning and teaching

As stated, this module cross integrates with other modules on this course, and also cross references with other modules (ie Terrorism and counter terrorism) in other Security-related courses within the Security Studies programme of courses. In this way students are afforded a holistic and enhancing overview of the wider issues and topics of Intelligence past and present.

Teaching sessions consist of a series of core module document, divided into Topics, which are released to students by inform in phases.

Within the core document of the module, there are Directed Learning sections, in which students are focussed towards specific issues and topics, and, in so addressing ,are preparing for their end of module assignments. Student participate during each Topic in online discussions and exchange ideas and viewpoints.

Students are encouraged to explore the political, strategic and tactical complexities of terrorist financing.

Students draw upon case studies and examine actual operational scenarios.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will ,

  • Gain enhanced knowledge overall of proactive intelligence in its historic and present context
  • Gain enhanced knowledge overall of  intelligence in the area of dynamic international relations
  • Gain enhanced knowledge  of past and ongoing developments of use of intelligence in law enforcement and security agencies
  • Develop analytical skills and cognitive thinking through the use of completed  case studies and scenarios
  • Extrapolate lessons learned from past mistakes in order to enhance current intelligence usage on both a strategic and operational level

Assessment strategy

Students to write two essays of 2,500 words each. Both are on differing topics of the area of intelligence practice.


Aldridge,J. (2010) GCHQ: The Uncensored Story of Britain's Most secret Intelligence Agency.   Harper Collins.
Atran S (2006) “Failure of Imagination” in Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, Routledge Taylor & Franci
Chapman G. (1972) The Dreyfus Trials Bloomsbury Reader
Deakin FW and Storry F. (1966) The case of Richard Sorge Chatto and Windus
Jones RV (1978) The Most Secret War: British Scientific Intelligence 1939-1945. Penguin
Martin A., & Wilson P (2007) The Value of Non-Governmental Intelligence – Widening the Field Libra Advisory Group Ltd
Omand ,D/ (2010) Securing the State: A Question of Balance ( Transcript) Royal Instituteof International Affairs Chatham House
Pearse (ed) (2015) Investigating Terrorism Wiley
Ratcliff G   (2nd edition 2004) Strategic thinking in criminal intelligence
Ridley N (2015) Terrorism in East and West Africa-the under focussed dimension Edward Elgar