Key Tools such as looking at the Time, Place, Events and Cast associated with our brief requirements, leads us to make a Summary. Clues are also a key tool that should be a bi-product of reaching a clear summary that points to the next step forward. They are highly valuable, and more subject to chance finds along the trail than the other tool elements. This requires careful attention to detail at every step of our journey. This methodical process should also result in deciding what new Information Requirements we now need to gain, to enable us to move forward with confidence. What is the next step? Once we’ve renewed our information, we start with the next Mission Brief – which is also the next step on the trail – always improving the quality of our Intelligence Cycle.
AN EXAMPLE OF OUR INTELLIGENCE CYCLE
THE MISSION BRIEF
Our new task is to trace the last known whereabouts of the Ark of the Covenant. Previously discovered was that the Ark of the Covenant was last seen in the First Temple. That could raise questions about the time span of the First Temple – when was it built, what happened to it, etc. Such relevant questions requires activating an information collection process, which involves the use of a set of essential Key Tools to enhance the prospects of success.
IMPORTANT NOTE: EACH SUB-TRAIL BEGINS WITH A MISSION BRIEF
The Event: We learn about the destruction of the First Temple. This event ties in with the latest period the Ark was known to have been around. Such information now activates another Key Tool. The Time: The temple was destroyed in 586 BCE. Now we can update an event and our time-line. The Place: where this event happened was in Jerusalem. We’re doing fine so far, but need to know what other sources we can tap into to gain a clearer picture. History is generally made by the actions of people. So who was involved with the event that took place in Jerusalem at that time? The Cast: (a fancier name for the participants) included the Babylonians who invaded the city, and key characters such as Zedekiah, the last king of Judah who temporarily evaded capture.
The above information can and should raise further questions. Did the Ark actually go missing as a direct result of the catastrophic events that took place at that time? If so, could some of the key participants have been responsible for either taking the Ark as a war trophy, or possibly even to hide it from an enemy? But this means we have information gaps that needs to be filled in.
Could there be some relevance to the fact that the last King of Judah escaped from the invading Babylonians, during the latest time period when the Ark was known to have been extant in the First Temple? If so, it would be worthwhile seeking connections between the king and the temple treasures.
Our summary has led us to find answers to previous questions, but usually also reveals new glaring gaps in our knowledge base. In this example, we require information related to any association between the last king’s of Judah, and temple artifacts. (For the record, there does exist significant information on that subject!) Those gaps form our Information Requirements that becomes the very substance of the next Mission Brief. And so we utilize our Intelligence Cycle to progress along the trail with clear purpose and direction in mind. In pursuit of this intelligence we hope to pick up further clues on the way.
MAIN AND SUB TRAILS
Throughout our journey we embark on one Main Trail with one key objective – to come closer to learning about the location of the Ark of the Covenant. In the military, achieving main objectives are seldom achieved without first accomplishing sub-objectives on route. For example, a brigade’s main objective is to capture a fortification on high ground. However, they first need to cross a treacherous river, which becomes a sub-objective that has to be accomplished to enable them to succeed with their main task.
In similar fashion, our Main Trail represents our prime objective. Sub-objectives represent the critical steps to help us on the way. However, the resemblance with military strategy ends there. Our Sub Trails might lead us to making startling discoveries that can stand on there own as remarkable accomplishments. Foolish indeed would be an explorer so focused on finding just one objective that they stumble over an even more remarkable find due to a less caring attitude towards discovering anything else other than just their one goal. It happens!