Vernon Prior gained early exposure to intelligence in the military, both in the air and on the ground in the UK Royal Air Force. After leaving military service, he took an early commercial assignment in the UK with a defense contractor, after which he moved to Australia through a variety of government and academic positions where he began writing and publishing directories and tools to assist researchers by enabling them to use a form of Boolean indexing to facilitate their work. In his spare time, he wrote and published a basic textbook for beginners entitled “Smart Company: Finding and Managing Business Intelligence ‘” in 1991. Most of its users operated without a computer at the time.
After attending a program on CI run by Kirk Tyson, he joined his firm and represented them in the Pacific Rim Region for seven years. Then Vernon struck out on his own creating his firm, Prior Knowledge, to concentrate on training activities. This led to the delivery of seminars and workshops in most Asian countries as well as Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and the UAE. During this time he also prepared a comprehensive glossary to define terms in the intelligence and knowledge management fields called “The Language of Intelligence,” which was ultimately expanded to include some 25,000 words.
Vernon then joined SCIP and with the collaboration of longtime friend and colleague, Babette Bensoussan, founded SCIP Australia in Sydney. His focus continued to be devoted to education offering guidance on identifying information needs, classifying, and indexing, and the communication of intelligence. He also provided his leadership in encouraging creativity and innovation in intelligence work, selecting the right people, and training for the novice.
Over his long 40-year career in intelligence, Vernon served for eight years in the military and 32 years as a civilian and was widely respected in the Australian intelligence community as well as around the world.