Directorate of
Intelligence

Notes on Analytic
Tradecraft

Product Evaluation
Staff


    March 1995
 


Note 1

 
 

Addressing US Interests in DI Assessments

 
 
This is the first of a series of Product Evaluation Staff notes to clarify the standards used for evaluating DI assessments and to provide tradecraft tips for putting the standards into practice.
 


The DI professional ethic requires that analysts provide direct support to policymakers' efforts to define and defend US national security interests. The standard is for DI products to convey distinctive value added that promotes feedback, tasking, and access generally. In many cases, this standard requires going beyond general relevance to US interests to customized assistance for identified policy officials who have the "action" on designing, implementing, or monitoring US policy on an individual issue.

The ultimate judges of the utility of DI products for the policymaking process are the officials who choose whether or not to rely on them. The opportunities for adding distinctive intelligence values are usually clear to DI analysts when policy officials ask for a study, memorandum, or briefing. These officials indicate what they expect to gain from their request: for example, specialized information, research findings, cause-and-effect analysis; cost-benefit assessment of tactical alternatives.

The challenge to address effectively US interests is greater when the initiative for launching a DI product comes largely from the intelligence side of the relationship. It is here that Agency monitors (such as the staffs of the congressional oversight committees) are most likely to raise questions about the policymaking utility of individual DI products.

How to proceed? Each analytic assignment represents a distinctive opportunity for providing support to policy officials and the policymaking process. That said, veteran analysts and managers have garnered from direct experience and feedback from policy officials that DI products are usually best directed to meet the needs of the user when they are either organized around or specifically highlight one or more of the following values:

Veteran analysts and managers also recommend the following Tradecraft Tips for increasing the utility of DI assessments for policymakers.


Getting Started


Special Tradecraft Challenges


Drafting and Self Review

Forward to "Note 2"

Return to "Compendium" Contents