(by Andreas Gémes)
The majority of people associate the word “Intelligence” with IQ tests and Pavlov’s Dogs rather than with one of the major duties of Secret Services. With the advent of the “new world” since September 11, 2001 however, the search for and collection of accurate “Intelligence” and data has risen almost overnight from the stuff of Hollywood films to something critical to the public’s interest. There are, in political-scientific terms, many definitions for the word “Intelligence”, one of which is: “Intelligence is information – often secret – collected, organized and/or analyzed on behalf of decision-makers (be they military, political or economic/private)”
In the German-speaking world, the contemporary attitude towards “Intelligence” as a discipline worthy of study in and of itself has changed (unfortunately) little (irrespective of the events of the past 10 years). This is striking not only since Intelligence as such is conjecturally known as the “Second Oldest Profession”, but also due to the fact that nearly every decision maker (political, economic or military) requires (or rather lives off of) the efficacy of his/her intelligence gatherers. This is surely evidence enough for the vitality in (and indeed necessity of) analyzing these aspects of both the past and present.
The encounter (or rather knocking of heads) between the sub discipline of Intelligence with that of History happened surprisingly recently. Richard Rown spoke the famous sentence in 1938: “Spies and speculators for thirty-three centuries have exerted more influence on history than on historians”. The bloom of Intelligence studies as such, had to wait however nearly 4 more decades when during the early 1970’s public interest in clandestine activities reached a peak due to numerous factors (declassification of activities of the intelligence services during the Second World War, the Watergate Scandal, the Vietnam War, etc. etc.). This period witnessed a propagation of magazines and journals which addressed intelligence studies. Shortly thereafter, came the scientific “colonization” of this area, with the Academic Revolution of the mid- 1970’s. Presently, the academic “Intelligence Community” is comprised mostly of Historians, Political Scientists, Authors as well as Journalists.
ACIPSS is the first institution within the German-speaking World to exist with the express aim and goal (via research, teaching and work with the public sector) of raising awareness and disseminating information about the importance and validity of the sub-discipline of “Intelligence Studies”. Our focus builds itself from Austria outwards to Central Europe and beyond. This is due to many factors, (obvious amongst them being our namesake and location) one of the more interesting of which is that while Austria is widely known as the “Turnstile” of Intelligence gathering and activity during the Cold War, research which concretely validates this euphemism is (at best) of a pedantic nature. The interdisciplinary and international qualities of ACIPSS should allow for the analysis and publication of the results of further research in this area to not only be supported, but propagated within the global academic community.