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Assessing the Tradecraft of Intelligence Analysis

Assessing the Tradecraft of Intelligence Analysis

Gregory F. Treverton
C. Bryan Gabbard
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 74
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  • Book Info
    Assessing the Tradecraft of Intelligence Analysis
    Book Description:

    This report assesses intelligence analysis across the main U.S. intelligence agencies and makes a number of recommendations, some of which parallel initiatives that have begun in the wake of the December 2004 legislation, for instance, create a Deputy Director of National Intelligence as a focal point for analysis, establish a National Intelligence University, build a Long Term Analysis Unit at the National Intelligence Council, and form an Open Source Center for making more creative use of open-source materials.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4601-7
    Subjects: Political Science, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  8. Acronyms
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-2)

    U.S. intelligence analysts today are pushing the limits of their craft and finding a welcome reception from some of their most senior consumers. At the same time, they are also stretched and frustrated with the uncertainty of their mission and buffeted in the wake of the national investigations of intelligence failure before September 11th and before the Iraq war. The contrast partly reflects differences across analytic agencies, but it also reflects differences within them. And it also reflects tensions within individual analysts over what they do and how they add value. In analysis, as in other areas, the Intelligence Community...

  10. CHAPTER TWO The Analytic Community Today
    (pp. 3-12)

    “Analysis” in the U.S. Intelligence Community is definitely plural. One size of analysis no longer fits all, if it ever did. Figure 2.1 illustrates the multiple components of the analysis cycle that are of concern today.¹

    The canonical cycle began with policymakers and military leaders, whose concerns would be turned, by collection target planning analysis, into taskings for the major collectors. The take from those collectors would then be processed at various levels, ultimately to be incorporated into all-source analysis, then disseminated back to policymakers and military leaders. As the figure demonstrates, the cycle notionally distinguishes between intelligence sources and...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Key Themes for Leveraging Future R&D Priorities
    (pp. 13-26)

    Intelligence analysis depends on the quality of its people, first, and, on the tools with which they work, second. This chapter focuses on the second, and Chapter Four focuses on the first. An aggressive and focused R&D program can improve analytic tradecraft in the future in many ways. Planned analysis experiments and demonstration tests that compare and contrast different analytic methodologies; well structured table-top games; better time-management tools; advanced, user-friendly analysis software tools; and improved mechanisms to take advantage of relevant R&D outside the NFIP will all improve the performance of future analysts.

    Analysis is definitely plural, a point underscored...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Building the Human Capital for the Future
    (pp. 27-32)

    Intelligence is about nothing if not about “out-thinking” the adversary. For all the appropriate emphasis on technologies, methodologies, tools, and infrastructure, people are the Intelligence Community’s most precious resource. Whatever the changing paradigm for analysis, analysts remain at the center. Training and professional development of analysts remain a challenge. Learning the detailed intelligence-related skills is hard enough; producing world-class analysts with adequate breadth and depth is more demanding still.

    The analytic community faces a clutch of human capital issues, from the immediate effect of compensation reform, to how to develop and train analytic tradecraft, to how to nurture a new...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE A Vision of the Analytic Community Tomorrow
    (pp. 33-50)

    What are the boundaries of “intelligence analysis”? Is it primarily the purveying of secret bits, with context? Or is intelligence the integrator of information for policy? This question of doctrine has enormous implications for the analytic community of the future. Although this research certainly cannot provide a definitive answer to this question, it does provides a framework for further debate. This chapter delineates the framework and sharpens the issues that will materially affect the definition of intelligence analysis in the future.

    In this light, one core and narrow definition of national intelligence is the product of the endeavor by which...

  14. CHAPTER SIX Recommended Actions
    (pp. 51-52)

    Establish DDNI(A) as a focal point to evaluate opportunity costs and assess “right balance” in analysis

    Collection-driven versus analysis-driven

    Current reporting versus longer-term analysis

    In-house versus outsourced

    Foster better integration of methods and tools for analysis

    Establish focal point to connect R&D and tool-building community (government and industry) to Intelligence Community analysts

    Develop minimum common tool set for community-wide use

    Institute community-wide tradecraft training and education components

    Develop tradecraft curricula for community-wide use

    Institutionalize lesson-learning as process of performance improvement, not assessing blame

    Get and keep the next generation of analysts

    Build partnerships with academia (e.g., Media Lab), industry (e.g.,...

  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 53-54)