Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
The Past and Present of US Intelligence
Academic Year
Semester 1

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay (2,500 words)  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay (2,500 words)  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Assess critically and discuss how the US intelligence community has developed

Assess critically and discuss what functions it currently performs on behalf of the US Government

Assess critically and discuss how important intelligence has been to American war-making, defence planning and foreign policy

Evaluate methodological and historiographical problems in the study of intelligence.

Students will also improve their skills of research, analysis and expression during the course, as well as those of time and learning resource management.

Brief description

The module examines the history and current activities of the US intelligence community, looking above all to see how it has promoted the political, military and other interests of the USA.


The aims of the module are to provide students with an understanding of how the US intelligence community serves the US Government and how it has developed since the latter part of the nineteenth century. The module will demonstrate to students how US Intelligence has assisted American war-making and defence planning, and how it has enabled the United States to influence political developments worldwide.


The module examines the historical development and current activities of the US intelligence community. Within that framework, it examines: how intelligence has assisted the USA's armed forces in war; how it has assisted American defence planning; how it has assisted American foreign policy; the role that covert operations have played in American foreign policy; what role intelligence and covert operatons have played in domestic politics; and how the intelligence community is held accountable to the USA's political system.


1. US Intelligence from the First World War to Pearl Harbour (1918-41)
2. US Intelligence in the Second World War (1941-45)
3. Truman and the Cold War (1945-1953)
4. Eisenhower and the Cold War (1953-61)
5. Intelligence in the Sixties: Cuba and Vietnam
6. Intelligence from Detente to the Cold War's End
7. The Federal Bureau of Investigation under J. Edgar Hoover (1924-72): counter-subversion
8. The FBI: counter-espionage and counter-terrorism
9. The 'Year of Intelligence' and the Accountability of US Intelligence
10. Technical Collection Systems and Human Sources
11. Covert Action during the Cold War
12. US intelligence today 1: 9/11 and counter-terrorism
13. US intelligence today 2: counter-proliferation, Iraq and other challenges


1. Intelligence in the Second World War
2. Covert action
3. Intelligence during the Cold War
4. Counter-intelligence and counter-subversion; Accountability
5. Intelligence on WMD and terrorism

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Professional communication Communication skills


This module is at CQFW Level 6