Assessing the Tradecraft of Intelligence Analysis

Gregory F. Treverton & Claybourne Bryan Gabbard

Language: English

Publisher: Rand Corporation

Published: Aug 15, 2008


This report assesses the tradecraft of intelligence analysis across the main U.S. intelligence agencies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, and recommends improvements. The report makes a number of recommendations for improving analysis for a world of threats very different from that of the Cold War. It focuses on the two essentials of analysis-first, people; second, the tools they have available. The December 2004 intelligence reform legislation set in motion initiatives that move in the right direction. The creation of a Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis will provide a real hub for developing tradecraft and tools and for framing critical tradeoffs. The establishment of a National Intelligence University will provide a focal point for training in analysis. The creation of a National Counterterrorism Center will shift intelligence analysis toward problems or issues, not agencies or sources. The building of a Long Term Analysis Unit at the National Intelligence Council can lead away from the prevailing dominance of current intelligence. And the formation of an Open Source Center can create a seed bed for making more creative use of open-source materials. These specific initiatives are promising but they are just the beginnings. For all the language about the importance of intelligence analysis, data-sharing, fusion, and the like, the national and Intelligence Community leadership today devalues intelligence analysis. A fundamental change is also needed in attitudes and existing organizational cultures.