Covert Operations

Covert operations involve secret activities used to pursue foreign policy objectives. They include support of dissident groups, clandestine propaganda, and paramilitary activities designed to overthrow or support a government.

While the benefits of covert action can be difficult to calculate, they 심부름센터 must be weighed against their costs. Currently, the oversight system for covert action requires presidential authorization and timely notification of Congress through a written finding.

They are a form of warfare

Covert operations are activities whose sponsorship is secret and which do not meet the statutory definition of war. They must be planned and executed so that the sponsor can plausibly deny responsibility for them. They may be political, paramilitary, or psychological, but they cannot be open warfare. They can also be economic, including reducing or eliminating international markets for the target’s products.

The secret, sub rosa practice of covert action has been used since President George Washington persuaded Congress to establish the Contingent Fund of Foreign Intercourse in July 1790. The concept was formally enshrined in National Security Council directive 10/2 in 1948. It defines a covert operation as an activity sponsored by the U.S. government against a foreign state or nonstate actor that is so planned and executed that the sponsor could not be identified by an unauthorized person. It must also be designed so that the sponsor can deny its involvement in it if it is uncovered.

The experience of the post-Cold War era brought a reduction in covert activities, with the CIA’s paramilitary campaign in Angola (halted by a Senate amendment) being one notable exception. Despite this reduction in capability, covert operations are still important instruments of policy. However, they must be carefully weighed against other options, such as a smarter political message or increased aid assistance.

They are a form of diplomacy

Covert operations can be a valuable tool of diplomacy. However, they can also be dangerous if not used wisely. While strategic and political history can suggest situational principles of employment, the realities of politics ultimately dictate the nature of covert actions. This is why excellence in covert action is critical to American national security and diplomatic effectiveness.

The CIA has been responsible for a number of successful covert operations, including the aiding of Solidarity in the 1980s and propaganda programs to undermine Soviet propaganda. The CIA’s efforts have been praised by many scholars. However, they have also been criticized for their lack of transparency.

In general, covert operations require that the sponsors remain anonymous and allow for plausible denial of their involvement. They are therefore not subject to the same checks and balances as policy measures enacted by elected officials. This appears to contradict the democratic system’s goal of ensuring that elected officials are acting in accordance with their constituents’ interests and staying within the limits of the law.

Furthermore, covert operations can have significant risks of blowback, and they can have domestic political costs as well. Although Poznansky acknowledges that these risks can be minimized with careful planning and execution, it is not always possible to mitigate them entirely. Finally, covert actions can be expensive in blood and treasure.

They are a form of intelligence

Covert operations, like espionage, are an integral part of intelligence gathering. However, their objectives and results differ in important ways. While espionage is mostly information-gathering, covert action aims to cause political and military effects. This makes them a different sort of enterprise, and separating them in this way can help policymakers understand what is being accomplished and whether it has been successful.

The practice of covert operations often involves employing the concept of “plausible deniability.” While this principle has eroded somewhat in recent history, it remains an essential part of the CIA’s operational methodology. This principle focuses on concealing the identity of a sponsor and allowing them to deny the operation. It is also important to remember that covert operations are not the same as clandestine activities, which are more open and public in nature.

To carry out covert actions, the attacking power relies upon local agents able to influence either the government or public opinion in the target country. This can be done through taskable agents or what Lenin purportedly referred to as “useful idiots,” influential apologists duped into propagandising for the attacker.

While it is difficult to measure the effectiveness of covert operations, they do provide a valuable service to the national security community. They can be employed in situations where open operations would be disadvantageous and are critical to achieving the objectives of America’s foreign policy.

They are a form of collection

Covert operations are a form of collection that is often overlooked in discussions of American strategy and policy. While strategic and political history can suggest situations where covert action might be useful, politics ultimately dictates the shape of a covert operation and its tactics. These can range from support of private groups and individuals to paramilitary or political action to influence foreign governments. Unlike clandestine collection efforts, covert actions must be designed to influence foreign conditions, not just provide intelligence agencies with information.

The main issue with covert operations is that their success is difficult to measure. This is because the targets of covert actions are rarely aware that the CIA or another power is involved. Additionally, the ambiguity inherent in these activities can create undesirable long-term consequences. For example, the Bay of Pigs intervention was a failure to overthrow Castro, and even its short term successes such as the Iran hostage crisis were a liability.

Covert operations also have the disadvantage of requiring extensive use of HUMINT assets to support them. Without a large global presence of these assets, it is impossible to carry out effective covert action. Consequently, it is essential to fund these operations appropriately, especially when the targets of covert action are terrorists or other violent criminal organizations. Failure to do so can lead to unnecessary losses in resources and reputation.