Thursday, January 25, 2007

Word of the day: surge

From Staff Study Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence House of Representatives One Hundred Fourth Congress (June 5, 1996).

Intelligence Community "Surge" Capability

The Intelligence Community (IC) in the 21st Century will face a world that presents different, more diverse national security challenges than those presented during the Cold War. At the same time, many of the issues and intelligence problems that were spawned from the Cold War remain, and the IC is expected to address the new and the old challenges with resources that have decreased significantly since the end of the Cold War. Ambassador Robert Kimmitt, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, in testimony to the Committee, suggested that whether the IC remains relevant and effective may well depend on its ability to be an 'inch deep' in everything, with the ability to have a 'miles worth of depth' on a specific subject at a moments notice. Creating such a responsive IC will require increased internal operating efficiencies; a more collective, corporate approach toward utilization of resources; and structured programs that provide continuous resource augmentation and 'surge' capability.

This 'surge' capability needs to be flexible, dynamic and well-planned -- one that can be relied upon both day-to-day and during crises. 'Surge' can be defined very broadly, including the ability to: move resources quickly to address immediate, usually ad hoc, needs; augment existing resources from outside the IC; and, improve responsiveness of resources by building in more flexible options for collection and analysis.
This use of the word surge is common in the military and among military contractors. Bush's use of the word most likely derives from that source. As you can see by the date of this document, this usage is more than a decade old. Judging by the quotation marks around the term in the preceding, this may have been the start of this usage. These days this usage is commonplace among within the military and military contractors. Contractors must demonstrate their ability to provide surge personal when needed but without having to charge for them when not needed.

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