Intelligence in the Knowledge Society International conference

XXV edition

The organizing committee is analyzing the best way of organizing the XXV edition of the international conference Intelligence in the Knowledge Society, given the development of the COVID-19 pandemic, in order for the participants to enjoy the full benefits of the academic presentations and the networking opportunities in a safe environment, as offered during past editions.

While the organizing committee is discussing the format of the event, we invite you to take a look at a selection of the very interesting papers which will be presented during the conference:

Leveraging Structured Analytic Techniques to Recognize Personal And Global Health Crises

Randolph H. Pherson (CEO, Globalytica, LLC)

The US medical system suffers from serious structural flaws that make it hard for patients to get a proper diagnosis. Currently, doctors are highly incentivized to order tests and initiate treatments and often fail to take the time needed to diagnose a problem. If doctors had more time to engage with their patients and apply critical thinking techniques, both parties would reach a more satisfactory outcome. Moreover, incorporating Structured Analytic Techniques into the practice of medicine writ large would benefit the global community as recognition of—and reaction to—looming health security crises. Structured Analytic Techniques help doctors recognize lead indicators of an emerging health security crisis and overcome well-entrenched mental mindsets. The techniques provide a ready „tool kit” for doctors practicing the emerging discipline of health security intelligence* (Pherson, 2020).

*Most of the information in this article is based on experiences of the author—a career intelligence analyst—who visited 17 specialists, received countless treatments, and failed to get a diagnosis of his condition for over five years. The article is derived largely from a chapter in the book, How to Get the Right Diagnosis: 16 Tips for Navigating the Medical System (Pherson, Randolph H. (2020), How to Get the Right Diagnosis: 16 Tips for Navigating the Medical System, Coral Gables, FL: Mango Media, Inc.).


“Transintelligence: A ghost tours the world

Fernando Velasco Fernández, PhD (Professor, Department of Humanities; Head of Department, Intelligence Services and Democratic Systems, Rey Juan Carlos University)

The pace at which technological changes evolve is so quick and deep that its repercussions have an impact on our entire life in an irreversible way. This implication of technology on our lives will also affect the Intelligence Services, which will have that technology implemented. The technological challenges invite us to consider and think about the significance (mission, vision and values) of Intelligence Services and its responsibilities. We propose an approach to “Transintelligence” as a way to overcome the limits imposed by the human nature and the working ways of the Intelligence Services. Transintelligence would be the quest, through technology, of the improvement on mission, vision and values of the Intelligence Services. Ultimately, means raising the possibility of improving (to the unthinkable) the capacities of the Intelligence Cycle through the use of technology, which will lead us to a new concept of Intelligence Services. (…)


When Technology and Social Media Meet Covid-19. Relativization of the Truth and the Fate of Social Media

Iulian Chifu, Phd (Professor at the National Defense University; Associated professor at the National School of Political and Administrative Studies; President of the Conflict Prevention and Early Warning Center Bucharest)

Technology has been embraced by the human kind very quickly, including social media, but studies on the impact of technology and social media on the human being and the society have never been achieved. Some side effects have been considered vulnerabilities and used for information warfare, using fake news and disinformation. When the Covid-19 pandemic exploded, in March, 2020, the combined impact of the two did create a real perfect storm, with important consequences for the international relations, global security but also for the intelligence activities in times of crisis.


Virtual Reality: New Medium for Training Purposes

Zvi Tubul-Lavy (Agenfor International Foundation, Developer of Virtual Reality solutions) &
Serena Bianchi (Agenfor International Foundation, Co-Developer of Security Products)

The use of video games, interactive tools and technological platforms for educational purposes has become a major trend in contemporary society. Research has shown that the gaming component has a major implication on a student’s learning process, supporting intellectual, emotional and social wellbeing. (Kiryakova et al., 2014*). Is this the same for professional training? To what extent can these techniques be applied to train security forces – i.e. Law Enforcement Agencies and Intelligence Agencies? This article analyses the potential of Blended Virtual Reality Solutions to train professionals in the security sector, showcasing the VR training experience developed by Rex in cooperation with Agenfor International within the EU-funded project JSAFE (Judicial Strategy Against all Forms of Violent Extremism in Prison, Grant No. 763714), designed to counter radicalisation processes in prison and to enhance situational awareness.

*Kiryakova, G., Angelova, N., & Yordanova, L. (2014). Gamification in education. Proceedings of 9th International Balkan Education and Science Conference

Call for Papers

The international conference Intelligence in the Knowledge Society is organized by the “Mihai Viteazul” National Intelligence Academy. This academic event targets scholars and practitioners in the field of intelligence and security studies, as part of a long term effort to develop a specific Romanian academic perspective on intelligence.

Intelligence has, over the past two decades, increasingly garnered popular attention as the wider public has become more and more aware of the inner workings of a previously secret world. As global events have taken unexpected turns, the seemingly forgotten logic of interstate conflict has re-emerged, giving renewed value to the currency of hard power. Within this context, intelligence has become, once again, a tool for informing critical state decisions and of non-attributable power projection.

With the advent of the information age, global powers developed technical capabilities that far outmatch anything that was imaginable even two decades ago. Conversely, while lacking the sophisticated capabilities of world players, small states have the potential to excel in providing regionally- anchored knowledge and original approaches to the solution of culturally specific problems.

Within the midst of this turbulent time, academic intelligence studies have developed gradually as a discipline, employing methods and theories from political science, international relations and security studies. The study of intelligence policies and organizations, as well as intelligence cultures and trans-national cooperation has complemented the traditional writing of intelligence history.

At the crossroads of the Continental, Mediterranean and Central Europe, Romania lies in a triple geopolitical intersection that shapes an unique security culture and an international orientation translated into both a challenge and a strategic advantage.

For more than two decades, the Intelligence in the Knowledge Society conference, organized by the “Mihai Viteazul” National Intelligence Academy has represented a forum for encounters of intelligence academics and practitioners. While the barriers between the two professional groups sometimes seem insurmountable, the IKS conference has constantly and consistently contributed to the generation of a common language and to the sharing of information between scholars and representatives of intelligence services.

The XXV edition of the Intelligence in the Knowledge Society conference takes places in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the fluctuations of the virus at national, European and global level.TherapidspreadofCOVID-19hasgeneratedchangesinallareas,actingasaninvisibleglobal enemy.Intelligenceorganizationsarealsodealingwiththenewtypesofthreatsassociated totheconstantdevelopmentofnoveldatatoolsandtechniques.Forbeingsuccessfulin preventingorcombating(nextgeneration)securitythreats,intelligenceorganizationsand governmentscanlookintothecollaborationbetweennationsbasedoncommoncultural knowledge,goodcommunicationskills,integratingaspectsofdigitalchangesintermsof legislationandtools,orreshapingoldstrategies.

Theconferenceinvitesexperts,analysts,practitionersandresearcherstodiscussmainchallengesandeffectsofnovelsecuritythreats onstatedevelopment,onpolicieschanges,technologicaldevelopmentsandactionplans adoptedbydifferentstateactorsto prevent andcounternext-generationchallenges. Contributionsareexpectedtobringnovelperspectivesonintelligenceanalysis,historyand theory, as well as strategic pastandfuturedevelopments.IKS represents a forum forconversationbetweenacademicsandpractitioners,wherebothperspectivesarewelcomeandtheirinter-relationscanbeexplored.

Considering the above mentioned context and with the aim of taking advantage of the benefits that the classic format of the IKS conference offers – like academic conversations, partnership and networking opportunities, or sharing experiences and practices with experts within the same field of interests -, the XXV IKS edition will take place in two stages:

  1. Publishing double blind peer-reviewed articles on the conference’s topics in the Romanian Intelligence Studies Review (RISR);
  2. Organizing the event in October, 2021, in a format permitted by the COVID-19 pandemic evolution. The IKS conference represents the unique initiative within the Black Sea Region which gathers academics and practitioners in intelligence.

Previous Editions Photo Gallery

International Conference Intelligence in the Knowledge Society


Bob de Graaff

Bob de Graaff

Intelligence and security studies professor / University of Utrecht and Dutch Defense Academy

The 22nd edition of the IKS Conference, about which I had heard already many good tidings in the past, lived up to my expectations in all respects: a gathering of collected wisdom and experience in intelligence from around the world hosted by a combination of Romanian efficiency and hospitality. Great presentations on current and potential developments in intelligence and its task and value environment, much food for thought and the possibility to make easy connections amidst many familiar as well as a host of new faces. It all contributes to the development of intelligence studies as an academic discipline in Europe, which I can only applaud as the chair of the European Chapter of the International Association for Intelligence Education.

Joseph Wippl

Joseph Wippl

International relations professor, ex CIA officer / University of Boston

The October 2016 Conference sponsored by the National Intelligence Academy of Romania continued a tradition of focusing on current and future intelligence issues of common concern to an international assemblage of practitioners, academics and experts. The topics of discussion included improved analytical tools, informational warfare techniques, policies for encryption challenges, intelligence agency cooperation efforts, radicalization as a prelude to terrorism and intelligence education. The scope and organization of the conference permitted and encouraged participant discussion on all topics of intelligence interest. Beyond the substance of the presentations, the conference demonstrated the areas of common concerns among the participants from all over Europe and North America. The conference encouraged continued future contact among the various government agencies and international experts on such issues as analysis and terrorist prevention. On transnational issues like terrorism, proliferation, organized crime and rogue states, the conclusion at the conference was that intelligence agencies and experts must work together on these threats common to all.

Davide Barbieri

Davide Barbieri

Intelligence analysis professor / Link Campus University(ROMA)

It is always a pleasure to be back at IKS, the international conference on Intelligence in the Knowledge Society, organized in Bucharest by the Romanian Intelligence Academy. For me it is an opportunity to meet colleagues, friends and other intelligence scholars. The several panels tried to cover most of the issues and topics that contemporary intelligence activities have to face: cognitive biases, open sources, cyber warfare and the like. Particular attention was devoted to the problem of privacy and backdoors in communication systems. An interesting presentation described the recent EU-funded ARMLET project for training air marshals. My contribution tried to highlight the necessity of exploratory methods to elicit new hypotheses, in order to diminish the typically confirmatory nature of intelligence analysis. As a side note, I would like to have more room for an open discussion at the end of each presentation (and not of the session), in order to encourage a seemingly shy audience to ask questions and challenge the lecturers.