John McCreary's NightWatch
by Glen Shaffer — Executive Vice President | USAF (retired)
John McCreary is an unsung hero of U.S. Intelligence. He spent 38 years serving the Department of Defense Intelligence as a strategic analyst, most of that time in the Directorate of Intelligence (J2) office of the Joint Staff serving the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and the Secretary of Defense. This is where I got to know John. I retired as the J2 in 2003 and John was the senior analyst on the staff. John was, quite simply, the very best intelligence analyst I ever worked with in my 33 year career.
NightWatch was John's informal daily all-source intelligence email commentary on national security affairs for the J2, sent before John left the office, in the wee hours of the morning. It recapped the key developments during the prior 24 hours and was accompanied by John's assessment and forecast of what to expect. He would also include his views on the strengths and weaknesses of assessments by fellow intelligence organizations. John had done NightWatch for many years and for many J2s before me, and the result was many courtesy copies that were disseminated well beyond the sitting J2, literally to every major U.S. military command around the world.
NightWatch was powerful for many reasons: It was a weave of all possible factors and sources; classic U.S. Intelligence collection, open source press and commentary, history, and actions by U.S. and other policy players. It always looked forward. It was blunt, sometimes biting, often witty, and always pertinent. NightWatch more then any other product prepared me for my day as the J2, which was its primary purpose.
When John retired, KGS was proud to hire him, and we have asked him to continue producing NightWatch under our sponsorship. He no longer uses classified sources but beyond that we have given him no further guidance; he has a nose for what is important. You will find his NightWatch a superb daily preparation on world-wide strategic issues. You will find it short, insightful, predictive, powerful. I believe you can read more substantive analysis in his short product than by wading through multiple pages of other sources.
NightWatch will be useful for anyone from the most senior policy maker in business or government, to the student of international relations, to the beginning or senior intelligence analyst who needs to hone analytic and writing skills. NightWatch also provides regular thoughts on where Intelligence organizations need to be focused.
You may not always agree with NightWatch. You may not always like what it says. But you will always find it challenging and thought provoking.
Please enjoy NightWatch and feel free to provide comment and suggestions.
Thanks for your consideration,
Executive Vice President | USAF (retired)