Journal of the Indian Ocean Region Call for Papers: Special Issue

Security and Intelligence in the Indian Ocean Region

Journal of the Indian Ocean Region

Nearly half the world’s population is expected to reside in the Indian Ocean Rim (IOR) by 2050. In geopolitical terms, IOR is moving away from being identified as the ‘Ocean of the South’ to the ‘Ocean of the Centre’ and the ‘Ocean of the Future,’ and its core position in terms of global security, data collection and information transfer will increasingly shape the planet in the 21st Century.

Information collection and dissemination, intelligence co-operation, co-ordinating threat assessments and a revived culture driven by a ‘need to share’ imperative will arguably be given increasingly higher policy importance. Certainly, since the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. and the subsequent reshaping of intelligence communication and collaboration, many have argued that a broad-based revolution in the business of spy-craft is already under way. This has included new paradigms in intelligence-driven approaches including changes to both secrecy culture and surveillance procedures; the need for intelligence agencies to expand capabilities both among allies and non-traditional partners; and the balancing of immediate security intelligence requirements with longer-term considerations about the dynamics of Indo-Pacific region.

For instance, the Seychelles declaration in 2014 had emphasised the importance of gathering intelligence and closer defence and security integration alongside the task of creating timely and pragmatic regional networks that can link maritime operations and facilitate co-ordination among regional actors, including coastguard, police, customs and other intelligence officials. Similarly, key stakeholders such as Australia have called on members of the IORA to exchange information to prevent terrorism threats and similar trans-boundary emerging problems and incidents. Such ideas have also entailed exploring efforts to advance Maritime Domain Awareness throughout the IOR - the effective understanding of anything associated with the maritime domain that could impact security, safety, economics or the environment.

At the very least, despite the challenges of geo-politics and differences in capabilities, regional security and defence patterns in the Indo-Pacific will remain increasingly dependent on a network of advanced international intelligence partnerships. Overall, this impetus is about trying to avoid strategic surprises, ensuring that intelligence analysis and exchange, situational awareness and response capability will remain ahead of threats to national security and facilitating coherent decision-making to address shared concerns in the face of a much more dynamic international environment.

So what are the main problems and benefits related to managing risks or pursuing opportunities in the world of espionage, spying and surveillance? This will include moves towards ‘best-practice’ in supervising integrated intelligence mechanisms and the merging of information security partnerships across a wide and eclectic Indo-Pacific community. Further, what scope is there to consider closer military-to-military co-ordination including intelligence sharing and exchange, particularly given diverse organisational habits as well as revolutionary changes in communications technology? What is the importance of enhanced maritime domain awareness and how could increased situational awareness and information-sharing can be best achieved across jurisdictional and other boundaries to advance common security objectives? And what should be the central priorities in renewed calls for intelligence reform to assist in decision-making as well the potential impact on regional security affairs based on future failures and shortcomings in the internationalisation of intelligence itself?

Topics of particular relevance in this special edition include (but are not limited to):

- Co-ordinating regional mechanisms and databases in an intelligence or Maritime Domain Awareness context
- Enhanced intelligence arrangements to combat threats such as terrorism, piracy and cross-border crime in the IOR
- Incentives and constraints to bi-lateral or multi-lateral information aggregation
- The bureaucratization of intelligence and strengthened intelligence fusion
- The proliferation of unverified open source data in a ‘post-truth’ era
- The growth of new actors and rival sources of intelligence including the private sector
- Public expectations related to intelligence-policy links and related oversight arrangements in a high-tempo operational environment
- The impact of covert operations and counter-intelligence on domestic and foreign policy.
- The risk of intelligence leaks or digital subversion.
- Indiscriminate espionage, mission creep and human rights abuses.

Submission instructions

The submissions deadlines are as follows:

Abstract: 10 January 2018
Full paper: 20 April 2018
Publication in hard copy: November 2018

Authors are encouraged to submit abstracts and proposals to the Commissioning Editor of the journal:

Dr. Adela Alfonsi:
Or the guest editor:

You can visit the JIOR website at:

Editorial information

  • Guest Editor: Daniel Baldino