Academic programme

“Psychology in the Service of Intelligence” Seminar

13 January 2023

Under the framework of the Intelligence College in Europe the Portuguese Republic Intelligence System (SIRP), organised on 29th November 2022, the “Psychology in the Service of Intelligence” Seminar, which was attended by 41 representatives of ICE members states and partners, as well as European academics.

The main objective of this seminar on Psychology in the service of Intelligence was to bring together practitioners of intelligence and academic experts to engage in substantive dialogue on this topic, thus providing a broad scope of approaches to the subject.

The participants explored the impact of psychopathological and mental health issues in the choices and behaviours of some individuals, and how this can distort some legal prejudices and concepts. Furthermore, various processes of radicalization and deradicalisation were addressed, as well as the possibility of using psychological tools to ascertain other thoughts and state of mind based on behaviour patterns. Also discussed was the impact of neurological elements on our perception of others and the role critical thinking might play in obviating this impact.

Seminar on “Intelligence Services and Society”

2 January 2023

On December 14, 2022, the Complutense University of Madrid hosted the “Intelligence Services and Society” Seminar, attended by representatives of the ICE Members, experts, academics and some EU officials.

The two panels were led by experts on the topic and a group of young people, whose profiles and interests intended to contribute and stimulate out-of-the box thinking and improve the conclusions.

The main ideas and agreements covered during the morning session were as follows:

  • One of the most important phases of the intelligence cycle is the relationship between the producer (Intelligence agencies) and the customer (decision makers);
  • Beside the feedback on intelligence products, the customers should be involved in the drawing of the actions priority list of the intelligence agencies;
  • It is crucial to increase the trust between the intelligence agencies and the customers, to avoid misunderstandings by working closer and using a common language;
  • The assumption and understanding of roles from both sides. On the one hand, the legitimate right of the elected political leadership to determine the political agenda. On the other hand, the willingness of the Intelligence service to provide the authorities with the best possible intel;
  • Reassure the level of professional knowledge within the intelligence agencies.

A number of perspectives emerged in the general discussions of the second panel, such as:

  • The need to change the definition of security, without restricting it to the traditional safety concepts. For young generations, security means cybersecurity, environmental security, safe social media use, energy security issue (meaning affordable and sustainable energy) and economy safety. This would be linked to the necessity of making youth part of the security process; 
  • The stereotypes that define how intelligence services are perceived, as well as the fake press notes coming from the media are a challenge for the agencies;
  • These misunderstandings might be counteracted by giving credit to TV movies and films that truly reflect the job of the intelligence services;
  • Younger generations communicate through short videos. Making use of digital contents, especially video material, or engaging in social networks should be considered;
  • Possibility of creating a Youth Council at the ICE.

European Commission’s General Directorate for Human Resources and Security - 15th Security Symposium

12 December 2022

In December 2022, the Intelligence College in Europe (ICE) attended for the first time the annual Security Symposium organised by the European Commission’s General Directorate for Human Resources and Security. The Symposium brought together a wide range of actors contributing to the security of the EU institutions, be they EU officials, Member States security personnel, intelligence high representatives and private security partners.

The Symposium started with a welcome speech by Mr Bernd Adolph, Security Director in the European Commission, and a keynote speech by Ms Francisca Bostyn, Administrator General of the Belgian State Security Service, on the challenges confronting the intelligence services in a hyper connected world.

The Director of the Permanent Secretariat of the ICE, Mr François Fischer, spoke on the panel “New approaches to crisis management: Lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine”. This brought together experts from different disciplines to discuss the implications of these two major crises and to explore avenues for enhancing crisis management strategies.

Drawing on his own experience in crisis management while working in the EU INTCEN and speaking in the name of the ICE, Mr Fischer highlighted the importance of the intelligence support during a crisis but, also, the absolute need to build a common, European, strategic “grammar”. 

In order to achieve its goal, a crisis management system must engage smoothly different actors and fully exploit the added value of intelligence. This must be prepared, trained and played in advance: the different crisis management actors must understand each other’s roles and strengths, work on building synergies and joint preparedness capabilities to avoid the need “to create bridges in the middle of a crisis.” Helping to create this common culture when it comes to threat assessment and joint crisis preparedness is at the heart of ICE’s mission since 2019. 

The participation to this dynamic panel, including the side-line meeting opportunities, was also a good way to spread knowledge on the latest ICE’s developments and to understand better the needs of the EU security practitioners.

The “Intelligence Week” project – students explore threats, in the face of Russia’s war against Ukraine

4 November 2022

11 October marks the launch of the project “Intelligence Week”, implemented by the State Security Department (DSS) in cooperation with the Institute of International Relations and Political Science of Vilnius University (VU TSPMI). The international partner of the project is the Intelligence College in Europe.

The main theme of this year’s project is the Russian-induced war in Ukraine and the newly emerging threats to national, regional and international security. The students of political science who participated in the project carried out analytical work on new risks and threats to the Baltic States, the possibility of using non-kinetic means against NATO countries, the Kremlin regime’s propaganda narratives to Western societies, possible scenarios of the war development, the Russian regime and other security topics relevant to the war in Ukraine.

“We are delighted with this project and with the students’ willingness to become intelligence officers for a week in the face of today’s security challenges. Russia’s aggression and brutal war against Ukraine is undoubtedly the biggest shock to the global security architecture and the security environment of Europe as a whole in recent decades. The work of intelligence officers is always important, but in the context of these dramatic changes, intelligence becomes even more important. Intelligence information and its support for decision-making is never more important and valuable than in times of crisis and war. Intelligence aims to be stronger and more professional every day, providing timely and high-quality information to decision-makers. I wish that the students who will become intelligence officers for a week will not only gain interesting and valuable experience, but will also contribute to the most important and noble goal - to protect and defend the country”, said Darius Jauniškis, Director of the DSS, congratulating the participants of the project.

“Intelligence plays a special role in today’s war in Ukraine, and this role will only grow in future conflicts, where victories will depend on a correct assessment of the situation and quick and informed decisions. The growing challenge of hybrid threats to our societies gives intelligence institutions another role to play - to monitor, assess and protect. Countries with competent intelligence institutions are much more resilient to these types of threats. “The aim of the Intelligence for a Week project is to introduce students to the work of intelligence institutions and their role in state and international institutions. Through practical tasks, students will have to gather material on a specific problem and make recommendations to decision-makers. VU TSPMI is very pleased with this project, which has been organised together with the State Security Department for the third year already”, said Margarita Šešelgytė, Director of the VU TSPMI, at the event dedicated to the project launch.

François Fischer, Director of the Permanent Secretariat of the Intelligence College in Europe, also congratulated the participants. Kęstutis Budrys, Senior National Security Advisor to the President of Lithuania, presented the national security system and the role of intelligence, while José Morgado, Director of the European Union Centre for Intelligence and Situation Studies, gave a lecture on the role of intelligence in EU decision making.

The aim of the “Intelligence Week” project is to familiarise students with the work of intelligence institutions and their role in the activities of state and NATO and EU institutions. The project “Intelligence Week” aims to raise the awareness of the younger generation about national and international security threats, to strengthen the citizenship and awareness of the younger generation, to introduce the peculiarities of the work of the intelligence institutions, and to promote the work of intelligence officers. The aim is to encourage and inspire future leaders to pursue a career in intelligence, to use their talents and knowledge to strengthen the country and defend it against hostile forces.

The project involves more than 50 political science students who will carry out analytical work on new risks and threats to the Baltic States, the possibility of using non-kinetic means against NATO countries, the Kremlin regime’s propaganda narratives to Western societies, possible war scenarios, the Russian regime, and other security issues relevant to the war in Ukraine.

The students’ projects will be evaluated, and the best work will be selected by a jury consisting of representatives from the DSS, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, VU TSPMI and the Intelligence College In Europe. The Intelligence Week project was launched in 2019 as one of the events marking the Lithuanian Intelligence Day, which is celebrated annually on 27 October.

Mr. François Fischer attends the events celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Romanian National Intelligence Academy in Bucharest

27 October 2022

Between 12 and 13 of October 2022, the Director of the Permanent Secretariat of the Intelligence College in Europe attended a series of meetings with our Romanian colleagues, in Bucharest.

The Director met the leadership of the Romanian Intelligence Service, of the National Intelligence Academy and attended a national outreach event organized with the participation of the Romanian Intelligence Community senior leadership. The event was associated to the celebration of 30 years of education in intelligence at the “Mihai Viteazul” National Intelligence Academy.

Mr. Eduard Hellvig, the Director of the Romanian Intelligence Service expressed his support for the College’s activities, stating that " We share here the understanding of the importance of increasing the level of awareness both among citizens and within the institutions that educate public policymakers and security decision-makers at national and European level. Whether we are talking here about the universities in the internal academic network of the college or potential partners such as the European College of Security and Defence or the Institute of Advanced European Studies within the European College, the need to strengthen joint study programs that include the dimension of intelligence studies is an essential one, for which we will act collectively and in solidarity".

Mr. Fischer held a well-received presentation of the College’s history and activities emphasizing the ambitions we all have to fully operationalise the Academic Network, including through a working platform for the academics, and to increase the engagement of all our members – “Be sure that the College, while playing its role of bridge & influence at European level, will always position itself as "upstream" as possible so as not to hinder the actions of the Member States and their services”.

Munich – Module on Counterterrorism

27 October 2022

From 17th until 21st October 2022 the Module on “Counterterrorism” took place in Munich, Germany. This official kick-off event of the Modularised Curriculum was hosted by the German Universität der Bundeswehr (UniBw) under the framework of the Intelligence College in Europe (ICE).

The ICE Academic Programme runs in two formats: The Executive Education Programme which combines theoretical and practical approaches and the Modularised Curriculum which aims to transfer academic views and knowledge in the field of Intelligence and Security Studies.

The Module on “Counterterrorism” has been conceptualised and implemented by the Professors Lars Berger, Michaela Pfundmair and Hendrik Hansen (all from the Master in Intelligence and Security Studies – HSB), based upon an already existing module of the joint German “Master of Intelligence Studies” (MISS) of UniBw and HSB.

The Vice-President of UniBw, Mr Uwe M. Borghoff, gave the opening address to the participants from all over Europe. He emphasised the importance of a European intelligence community and praised the newly created postgraduate format.

On behalf of the German Chancellor's Office, Mr Christian Kleidt underlined Germany’s great support for the ICE and the vision of a common European strategic intelligence culture. Dialogue, education and training are central elements of this vision. Lifelong learning is also a necessity in the field of intelligence. In his speech, the Director of the Permanent Secretariat of ICE, Francois Fischer, underlined the new urgency with which the task of understanding or anticipating security policy developments arises. The necessary close cooperation in turn benefits from regular exchange and mutual learning. As a pan-European network, the ICE has dedicated itself to fostering this exchange and learning, as well as to building a common language.

ESDC Doctoral School Conference, Brussels 11th July 2022

11 October 2022

Invited by Dirk Dubois, the Director of the European Defence and Security College (ESDC), Mr Fischer the Director of the Permanent Secretariat of the Intelligence College in Europe, has intervened during the Annual ESDC Doctoral School Conference, on the 11th July 2022.

This intervention was made in order to make known the ICE program and activities. The lecture, on “No European Strategic Autonomy without a decent EU intelligence and security dimension”, was well received by academics coming from the whole EU. It was also the occasion to exchange ideas on possible synergies and future common actions, linked to the Academic and Outreach activities in Brussels of the ICE.

It was also the occasion to exchange ideas on possible synergies and future common actions, linked to the Academic and Outreach activities in Brussels of the ICE.

Intelligence Cooperation in the 21st Century

14 September 2022

On the 13th and 14th June 2022, the seminar ‘Intelligence Cooperation in the 21st Century’ took place in Breda, the Netherlands. This event was hosted by the Faculty of Military Sciences of the Netherlands Defence Academy (NLDA) and supported by both Dutch Intelligence and Security Services under the framework of the Intelligence College in Europe (ICE). Around 70 participants from 21 countries attended.

Cooperation is an important aspect of today’s intelligence practice. Its operational appeal is relatively straightforward; two can simply achieve more than one. Cooperation between intelligence services increases resources and combines valuable expertise. The ambiguity, speed and interdependence of current-day transnational and non-state threats seem to require more than any set of intelligence services is capable of delivering on its own. To face these threats, intelligence services increasingly share knowledge with a wide range of actors including partner services, (non-)governmental organizations, academic institutions and private companies. Cooperation between these actors generates many challenges due to their different societal roles, legal and professional boundaries, and organizational cultures. Examining how this cooperation works and evolves despite these inherent differences, complex interdependencies and risks, is helpful in understanding intelligence as a function of government and may help to distinguish best practices. The main objective of this two-day seminar on intelligence cooperation was to bring together practitioners of intelligence and academic experts to engage in substantive dialogue on this topic. After the opening by Francois Fischer, Director of ICE’s Permanent Secretariat, and a keynote by Professor Richard Aldrich, the seminar evolved around four themes; ‘International arrangements’, ‘Social relations in intelligence cooperation’, ‘Accountability and ethics in intelligence cooperation’ and ‘Non-traditional partners of intelligence agencies’. Each of the sessions was introduced by three academics and followed by an extensive group discussion. This way, the sessions stimulated knowledge development and deeper understanding of cooperation in the intelligence community. In addition, social events were included to get to know each other and enhance relationships. Participants were able to exchange their perspectives, experiences and insights. Through these fruitful debates and conversations, the seminar has successfully contributed to the ICE aims of developing a shared intelligence culture in Europe and fostering mutual understanding.

Anticipation by Intelligence, Seminar in Vienna

9 June 2022

Adrian Părăluţă, Daniel Markic, Sascha Bosezky, Omar Haijawi-Pirchner, François Fischer

Early detection of threats and crisis is essential for Europe's security. Measures to counter threats and respond to crises require not only the right instruments, but also above all one thing: time. Systematic, methodology-based and goal-oriented anticipation supports political, military and law enforcement decision-makers by providing time for decision-making. Intelligence services are important actors in strategic anticipation, although not the only ones. Scientific research institutions, think tanks and futurologists contribute significantly at different levels. 

In the light of global digitalisation and the need to process ever larger amounts of data to generate a picture of the situation, technology development also plays a significant role. Machine learning and artificial intelligence are increasingly becoming important instruments of strategic anticipation. Methodologically, the conference was designed in the form of presentations, panel discussions and working groups to enable the broadest possible involvement of the participants.

State Secretary Elisabetta Belloni, Coordinator of the Italian Intelligence Services, gave the opening address in her capacity as current President of the ICE. The internationally renowned geopolitical futurologist and founder of Stratfor and Geopolitical Futures, George Friedman, spoke about principles and models of geostrategic developments and their anticipation.

The following three pillars were discussed:

I. What can and what does the policy maker need to know and what does intelligence anticipation do in the decision-making process?

Sir David Omand, long-time Director of GCHQ and advisor to the highest government officials in the United Kingdom, gave a presentation on the complex relationship between intelligence anticipation and policymakers. Major General Thomas Starlinger, former Federal Minister of Defence and now Military Advisor to the President of the Republic of Austria spoke about the importance of intelligence anticipation for policy makers at national level. Guillem Riutord Sampol, Head of Division Integrated Approach for Security and Peace, EU External Action Service, spoke on the specificities of anticipation, early warning and strategic communication for security decision-making in a multinational environment. Florence Gaub, Deputy Director of the European Union Institute for Security Studies, has been a lead author on several European Union foresight studies. She talked on the scope and limits of scientific engagement with foresight and its relevance for decision-makers.

In a panel discussion with the speakers , moderated by the organiser and involving the audience, the question was addressed how the field of relations between decision-makers and the actors of strategic anticipation (intelligence services and think tanks) can be made more efficient and how the interaction of the latter can be optimised. 

II. What can and cannot be expected from intelligence anticipation?

Melissa Graves, Professor of Intelligence Studies at The Citadel Military School (USA) has spoken about the methodological dimension of intelligence analysis and its importance for strategic anticipation. The former Deputy Director for Intelligence at the French Foreign Intelligence Service DGSE, Philippe Hayez, teaches Intelligence Policy at the Université Sciences Po Paris. In his presentation, he addressed the question of the scope and limits of intelligence anticipation as well as realistic expectations of decision-makers. Achim Werres is a Brigadier General and Division Chief Defence Intelligence at the Federal Ministry of Defence in Berlin in Berlin. He spoke about Early Warning and Early Crises Detection in the German armed forces and its multinational integration.

In a break-out session the following questions were discussed in four syndicates formed from all participants:

  • Intelligence and decision makers: "Push" or "Pull" - Who knows what the decision maker needs to know? [Chaired by José Morgado, Director EU Intelligence and Situation Centre, Brussels]
  • Anticipation failure: what are the possible causes of unrecognised threats from Rwanda to 9/11 and beyond? [Chaired by Radoslaw Jezewski, Brigadier General, Head of EUMS Intelligence Directorate, Brussels]
  • Intelligence and science: Can a symbiosis develop between intelligence services and think tanks or just competition? [Chaired by Marco Marzi, Policy Officer, EU Early Warning System and Conflict Prevention, Brussels]
  • Fake intelligence: Intelligence anticipation in times of fake news and disinformation? [Chaired by Rubén Arcos, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid]

III. What role does methodology and technology play in anticipating threats and challenges now and in the future?

Helmut Leopold, Head of the Center for Digital Safety & Security at the Austrian Institute of Technology, published on the topic of machine learning and artificial intelligence, among others. He spoke on the question of the possibilities and limits of AI as a means of IT-supported anticipation. Wolfgang Schneider from IBM Consulting has a leading position in the development of IT-supported systems for the early recognition of crisis developments. He spoke about his experience in this field as well as about the development potential and limits of this technology. Christina Corbane from the European Commission's Joint Research Centre and Anja Palm from the European External Action Service jointly presented the model for anticipating violent conflicts developed by the JRC and applied within the EEAS. Emily Munro is Head of Strategic Anticipation at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. Among other things, she directs courses on strategic foresight at the GCSP that address the mindset of strategic anticipation, the process & methods, and integrating foresight. She spoke about ways of thinking and qualitative methods of strategic early warning. This panel ended with a moderated panel discussion with the speakers, exploring the question of whether the traditional scientific field of conflict between qualitative and quantitative methods of social science research is also present in the field of strategic anticipation and, if necessary, could also be expanded to include the technological dimension. 

Adrian Părăluţă, Head of Strategic Analysis Directorate, Romanian Intelligence Service, introduced the final panel with a presentation on Horizon Scanning, from reactive to proactive organisations.

In a concluding panel discussion, Major General Sascha Bosezky, Head of the Austrian Strategic Intelligence Agency, Adrian Părăluţă, Daniel Markic, Head of Security and Intelligence Agency Croatia, Omar Haijawi-Pirchner, Head of Directorate State Protection and Intelligence Service Austria, and François Fischer, Director of ICE Permanent Secretariat France, exchanged views on possible implications for the European Intelligence Community. 

Mr. François Fischer, newly appointed Director of the Permanent Secretariat of the Intelligence College in Europe (ICE)

10 May 2022

I am a true believer in the need of building a common strategic culture within the Intelligence Community in Europe and I will dedicate my efforts to increase the visibility and the presence of the Intelligence College in Europe.

François Fischer

In April this year, Mr. François Fischer was elected by the Intelligence College’s members as the new Director of the ICE’s Permanent Secretariat.

A specialist of Balkan issues in his early life, Mr. Fischer evolved through his career on broader portfolio and at a more strategic level, being European & Multilateral advisor of his Service’s Strategic Directorate, liaising with EU and NATO.

As a senior intelligence officer, Mr. Fischer has also been for six years Head of Analysis of the EU civilian Intelligence Analysis Centre (EU INTCEN), where he has interacted more intimately with all the European services in a multilateral format.

He holds a Master in Political Science from Sciences-Po Paris, a Bachelor in History from Sorbonne and has passed the High Civil Servant Special training in Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA) in Strasbourg.

Mr. Fischer is succeeding Mrs. Yasmine Gouédard, the first Director of the Permanent Secretariat.

Thanks to her commitment, visible and tangible progress was achieved despite the Covid-19 restrictions and the launch of the largest military assault in Europe since World War II. All the developments she helped raise and operationalise will be maintained and developed. They will form the core of ICE’s activities.

Mr. Fischer is a true believer in the need of a common “grammar” between all the European intelligence services and will work, the more intimately possible, with the Troika and its Presidency, in order to intensify exchanges on this topic, be it between intelligence services but also between intelligence studies’ researchers, and to increase usefully the outreach of the ICE.