Call for Papers: NISA Conference 2019 - Old wine, new bottles? The transforming discipline of intelligence collection

NOTE: the CfP deadline has been extended to Friday 9 August 2019. The conference announcement is now available, including keynote speakers: James Risen (The Intercept), Dr Paul Killworth (GCHQ) & Dr Ron Deibert (Citizen Lab / University of Toronto).

We welcome paper submissions for the following upcoming NISA conference:

  • Title: Old wine, new bottles? The transforming discipline of intelligence collection
  • Date: Thursday 21 November 2019
  • Time: 09:00-19:00 CET (includes drinks)
  • Location: HSD Campus, The Hague (NL)

Please send your paper proposal (250 words) and resume (one-pager) as a single PDF file before Monday 22 July 2019 [EXTENDED DEADLINE: Friday 9 August 2019] to Clotilde Sebag at Leiden University: c.c.c.sebag@fgga.leidenuniv.nl . We hope to let you know before 14 August which papers have been accepted.


You can find the full-text Call for Papers in the PDF that accompanies this message (quick link: here). The text below is merely an extract. 


For the past few years, the world has been receiving mixed messages about the world of intelligence. On the one hand, we are told that ‘the trade’- the techniques used to gather intelligence - has changed markedly: we now live in an information age, in which big data and social media intelligence transform signals intelligence at its core. Adding to that human intelligence has to adapt, since cameras are everywhere and covers are blown in the blink of an eye. On the other hand, despite the changing face of it, at heart intelligence collection seems to revolve around the same principles. Disinformation might now be spread through Facebook and Twitter trolls, but it is still disinformation, a phenomenon that has been around forever. What is more, hostile intelligence services still use ‘illegals’ who still seem to use one-time pads and short-wave radio transmissions. This raises the question whether the intelligence collection disciplines have truly adapted to an environment that has fundamentally changed – or should do so – or whether this is old wine in new bottles.

The Netherlands Intelligence Studies Association (NISA) invites scholars and practitioners from all over the world to reflect on this. For our upcoming conference, which will take place at the HSD Campus in The Hague (the Netherlands) on Thursday 21 November 2019, we welcome papers on topics related to intelligence collection, including the different collection disciplines ranging from humint, sigint, masint, socmint, and everything in-between, that address the way these disciplines have developed – from past, present, to future. Papers can focus not just on the practice of intelligence collection itself, but also on the broader political, bureaucratic, and social environment of intelligence communities, by addressing issues such as management, tasking, public-private cooperation, and oversight.

The conference is made possible with support from:

Hague Security Delta   AIVDNetherlands MoD