Theory and Methods

J - Z

Johnston, Rob. "Developing a Taxonomy of Intelligence Analysis Variables: Foundations for Meta-Analysis." Studies in Intelligence 47, no. 3 (2003): 61-71.

"Editor’s Note:  By distilling a list of the variables that affect analytic reasoning, the author aims to move the tradecraft of intelligence analysis closer to a science.  A carefully prepared taxonomy can become a structure for heightening awareness of analytic biases, sorting available data, identifying information gaps, and stimulating new approaches to the understanding of unfolding events, ultimately increasing the sophistication of analytic judgments.  The article is intended to stimulate debate leading to refinements of the proposed variables and the application of such a framework to analytic thinking among intelligence professionals."

Johnston, Rob. "Integrating Methodologists into Teams of Substantive Experts: Reducing Analytic Error." Studies in Intelligence 47, no. 1 (2003): 57-65.

"Domain experts are needed for describing, explaining, and problem solving; yet, they are not especially good at forecasting because the patterns they recognize are limited to their specific fields of study. They inevitably look at the world through the lens of their own domain's heuristics. What is needed ... is a combined approach that includes formal thematic teams with structured organizational principles; technological systems designed with significant input from domain experts; and a cadre of analytic methodologists."

Kerbel, Josh. "Lost for Words: The Intelligence Community's Struggle to Find Its Voice." Parameters 38, no. 2 (Summer 2008): 102-112.

The author argues the absence of "a cohesive analytic identity" within the U.S. Intelligence Community, as he explores "the question of whether intelligence analysis is art or science."

Knorr, Klaus E. Foreign Intelligence and the Social Sciences. Princeton Center of International Studies Research Monograph No. 17. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1964.

Pforzheimer says that Knorr sees "the predictive function of intelligence" as benefiting from the application of the methodology of the social sciences. Constantinides adds that Knorr concluded that "modern intelligence was unthinkable without social science inputs."

Krizan, Liza. Intelligence Essentials for Everyone. Occasional Paper No. 6. Washington, DC: Joint Military Intelligence College, 1999.

Macartney identifies the author as a Department of Defense analyst who wrote this monograph "as part of her thesis while earning a masters degree in Strategic Intelligence at the College in 1996." This is "an excellent primer on intelligence -- but don't expect to find secrets, derring-do or skullduggery. It's mostly theoretical and practical, about knowledge and analysis -- an epistemology of intelligence if you will."

Lowenthal, Mark M. "Intelligence Epistemology: Dealing with the Unbelievable." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 6, no. 3 (Fall 1993): 319-325.

What happens when intelligence analysts have accurate information but the magnitude and/or implications of that information exceed both their and the policy makers' ability to believe it? One of the examples presented is analysis of the Soviet economy and the question of the amount of Soviet GNP devoted to defense.

Marrin, Stephen. "Intelligence Analysis: Structured Methods or Intuition?" American Intelligence Journal 25, no. 1 (Summer 2007): 7-16.

This article focuses "on the utility of structured methods, their fit with the reigning analytic culture, and when they should be used, or not used, by analysts." In the end, the author remains "agnostic about the value of mandating use of more structured methods," although "it is important to teach them."

Marrin, Stephen. "Intelligence Analysis Theory: Explaining and Predicting Analytic Responsibilities." Intelligence and National Security 22, no. 6 (Dec. 2007): 821-846.

From abstract: "This paper presents a theoretical framework ... to explain why there was such a wide variety of perspectives regarding the future need for intelligence, embeds these ideas within the existing intelligence theory literature, applies this framework more generally in a way that can be used to explain variations in the substantive coverage of intelligence analysis in the past and predict possible variations in the future, and then tests the theory's ability to explain the analytical focus of domestic intelligence organizations."

Olcott, Anthony. "Revisiting the Legacy: Sherman Kent, Willmoore Kemdall, and George Pettee -- Strategic Intelligence in the Digital Age." Studies in Intelligence 53, no. 2 (Jun. 2009): 21-32.

"The views of Kendall and Pettee found little traction in their day but now seem to have important lessons for how the intelligence profession might change if those of us who practice it wish to escape extinction."

Persson, Per-Arne, and James M. Nyce. "Intuitive Tools? Design Lessons from the Military Intelligence Community." American Intelligence Journal 25, no. 1 (Summer 2007): 38-50.

The authors suggest that while Stephen Marrin's "analogy with medical diagnosis and physician's work is of interest, it tends to underestimate the differences in organizational structure, intellectual resources and the endpoints between what goes on in the practice of medicine and in intelligence work."

Platt, Washington [BGEN/USA]. Strategic Intelligence Production: Basic Principles. New York: Praeger, 1957.

Pforzheimer: "Platt describes working level performance from the perspective of the analyst.... Difficult reading at times, but of value because of the few books on the subject."

Resch, David T. "Predictive Analysis: The Gap Between Academia and Practitioners." Military Intelligence 21, no. 2 (Apr.-Jun. 1995): 26-29.

The author takes issue with the contention that in human events there are too many variables affecting events at too great a pace to allow for prediction. "If too many variables exist, we must become proficient in identifying the key ones.... [Y]ou can disregard madness and genius more readily than societal, economic, or political trends (which are scientifically identifiable) in analysis."

Rieber, Steven. "Intelligence Analysis and Judgmental Calibration." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 17, no. 1 (Spring 2004): 97-112.

"[R]esearch indicates that experts tend to be quite inept at assigning even roughly correct probabilities to their predictions. At the same time, promising techniques for improving calibration, in some cases very rapidly, do exist. How well these techniques will work in the realm of intelligence analysis is unknown."

Robinson, Clarence A., Jr. "Intelligence Agency Adjusts as Mission Possible Unfolds." Signal, Oct. 1998, 17-19.

The CIA's advanced analytic tools office was created in the Directorate of Science and Technology in 1997. The head of the 100-person office is Susan M. Gordon. She describes the office's mission as "bringing the power of information technology advances to bear on its basic analytical functions. The use of advanced analytical tools dovetails with a new strategic agency direction. This imperative calls for much closer ties with customers, accelerating information gathering and processing, handling larger volumes of data more efficiently and expediting product delivery."

Schum, David A. Evidence and Inference for the Intelligence Analyst. 2 vols. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1987.

To Miller, IJI&C 6.1, the author's "expertise in the area [of decision analysis] is unquestionable"; and he "presents his material in an easy and friendly style." However, not many intelligence analysts will read the book because it is "very long" and "too tough to hold the interest of a typical professional."

Sinclair, Robert S. Thinking and Writing: Cognitive Science and the Directorate of Intelligence. Washington, DC: Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, 1984.

Thomas, Stafford T. "Intelligence Production and Consumption: A Framework of Analysis." In Intelligence Policy and Process, eds. A. Maurer, M. Tunstall, and J. Keagle. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1985.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Preparing U.S. Intelligence for the Information Age: Coping With the Information Overload. Washington, DC: 1993.

Surveillant 3.2/3: "The Scientific and Technical Committee (STIC) Open-Source Subcommittee ... believes there is an urgent need to develop automated tools for coping with information overload. The report gives an awareness of the extent of the problem."

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Directorate of Intelligence. A Compendium of Analytic Tradecraft Notes: Volume I (Notes 1-10). Washington, DC: Feb. 1997.

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Zlotnick, Jack. "Bayes' Theorum for Intelligence Analysis." Studies in Intelligence 16, no. 2 (Spring 1972): 43-52. In Inside CIA's Private World: Declassified Articles from the Agency's Internal Journal, 1955-1992, ed. H. Bradford Westerfield, 255-263. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1995.

See companion case-study: Fisk, "The Sino-Soviet Border Dispute."

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