Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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The Concept of ‘Joint’ Intelligence: Its Origins and Enactment, 1900-1942: From London, Toward Wellington

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posted on 2023-03-10, 00:42 authored by Nicoll, Matthew

This thesis seeks to begin the conceptualisation of the ‘Joint’ in Intelligence. Through theorising the isolationist tendencies of Intelligence Studies, it will first position itself between foundational and peripheral knowledge bases to enable its claim to originality. From this integrative position, it will identify ‘Joint Intelligence’ as a term that describes a phenomenon in a governmental context. In contrast to existing organisational accounts, it will proceed to address the localised origins of this phenomenon through a specific conceptual lens. By acknowledging the broader system within which Joint Intelligence emerged, this thesis will argue that its immediate origins lie within the extended operationalisation of the Joint concept, denoted by a cascade of Joint institutional forms ending with the Joint Intelligence Sub-Committee (JIC) in 1936. In an effort to grasp the origins of the concept itself, this thesis will first engage in the task of conceptual substantiation. In doing so, it will locate the three ‘paternal elements’ (i.e. centralisation, inter-cooperation, and the committee-forum) that comprise the Joint concept within British constitutional administration. Following the partial enactment of the elements in the 1900-18 period, it will then observe the collective enactment of the elements in the Joint institutions of the 1920s, within which the Joint concept will begin to become formalised.   Having established the origins and initial operationalisation of the concept in the foundations, its extension to the peripheral realm of intelligence-related knowledge will be undertaken. Taking a broad view of the inter-war intelligence situation, the paternal elements will be employed to traverse the landscape with a view to the functions of intelligence. This will pave the way for the inter-play between the elements, the functions, and the location within which the Joint concept came to be extended to Intelligence in 1935-38 via the JIC. The localised examination will then conclude with an analysis of the 1939-42 period, where the beginnings of the concept’s manifestation within Intelligence were instigated. Finally, the shift to the Commonwealth context will be undertaken. Starting from the premise that Britain’s ‘Joint Internationalisation’ effort occurred after the war, the respective wartime experiences of three Dominions will be drawn upon to illuminate their responses to London’s post-war plans for ‘Joint’ Intelligence and Defence. By placing the presence and absence of the model JICs in a broader context, it will be revealed that 1942 was a significant year for the Joint concept in each Dominion: for Canada, it was the creation of its own JIC; for Australia, the onset of the MacArthur Coalition; for New Zealand, the decision not to reorientate to the Pacific. Through discussing these developments in an integrative fashion, with attention being placed on Wellington, the Joint Intelligence integration and Defence disintegration in the Commonwealth will be cast in a new light.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Public Administration

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Arts

Victoria University of Wellington Unit

Stout Research Centre

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations


Hill, Richard