Takshashila Discussion Document: India’s External Intelligence Agency: Managing the Human Resources Challenge

Executive Summary

In India, reform advocacy for the Intelligence community has largely been focused around parliamentary scrutiny over the intelligence agencies and removal of defunct ones. These suggested reforms, however, tend to overlook what is at the core of intelligence – people.  The success of intelligence operation is defined by the capability of officers conducting the operation and the analysts to efficiently use the intelligence collected. Bringing about effective reform would only be possible by making workforce planning a central component of the reform strategy.

There exist lessons that can be adopted from other intelligence agencies to address the problem of insufficient capacity and capability of intelligence officers in India. This discussion document argues that any reform of intelligence agencies in India would be ineffective unless it is centred on its human resources with reforms being introduced at various stages such as recruitment, training, and retirement.

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This is the discussion document as part of Takshashila’s Intelligence Reform Project. The project team comprises of Anand Arni, Shibani Mehta, and Pranay Kotasthane. The document is prepared for discussion and debate and does not necessarily constitute Takshashila’s policy recommendations. For any feedback, please email research [at] takshashila [dot] org [dot] in.