Critiques of Intelligence Analysis

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Haass, Richard N. "Supporting US Foreign Policy in the Post-9/11 World." Studies in Intelligence 46, no. 3 (2002): 1-13.

"Successful intelligence ... requires a mutual understanding between policy-makers and the Intelligence Community that is all too often lacking." How that gap might be closed is the subject matter of this article by Ambassador Haass, Director, Policy Planning Staff, Department of State.

Hall, Wayne Michael, and Gary Citrenbaum. Intelligence Analysis: How to Think in Complex Environments. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger Security International, 2010.

Anderson and Poteat, Intelligencer 17.3 (Winter-Spring 2010), argue that "[s]erious students and practitioners of advanced analysis should study this book. It should appear in the reading lists of university courses relating to intelligence. Officers of the armed forces need to know its contents and insist on implementation of its methods." Peake, Studies 54.4 (Dec. 2010), and Intelligencer 18.2 (Winter-Spring 2011), warns that this book "is written in advanced Pentagonese." In addition, "[t]here are no examples demonstrating that the techniques described actually work."

Heidenrich, John G. "The Intelligence Community's Neglect of Strategic Intelligence." Studies in Intelligence 51, no. 2 (2007): 15-26. []

The architects of the National Security Act of 1947 "would, I believe, be greatly surprised, perhaps even incensed, by today's neglect of strategic intelligence in the Intelligence Community. Strategic intelligence collection and analysis is a capability they took pains to preserve; we are perilously close to losing it."

Johnston, Rob. Analytic Culture in the U.S. Intelligence Community: An Ethnographic Study. Washingon, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, Center for the Study of Intelligence, 2005.

According to Peake, Studies 49.4 (2005), the author "has examined intelligence analysis from an anthropologist's perspective." He "finds the traditional intelligence cycle inadequate to explain the complex processes involved." Although this work "does not provide a formula for change, it does suggest a path to improvement." Pitts, DIJ 15.2 (2006), believes that the author offers "valuable insights into ways to change the analytic community." However, Johnston's concluding chapters "are potentially too theoretical to be of practical use to the day-to-day analyst with heavy workloads, but provide interesting conceptual reading."

Jordan, Lloyd F. "The Case for a Holistic Intelligence." Studies in Intelligence 19, no. 1 (Summer 1975): 9-19.

"[T]he increasing complexity of national security problems requires that the Central Intelligence Agency adopt" an approach to intelligence analysis whereby "important political, economic, scientific, military, and other salient dimensions [are] treated in a manner that will assure from the outset that the interplay of these various factors is taken fully into account."

Keim, C. Adamitis ["Addi"]. "The Missing Link: Adda Bozeman on U.S. Strategic Intelligence," Intelligencer 13, no. 2 (Winter-Spring 2003): 37-44.

This essay explicates in a brief and readable fashion Dr. Bozeman's critique of the failure of Western intelligence to "understand 'others' in the world environment on their own terms."

Kerr, Richard, Thomas Wolfe, Rebecca Donegan, and Aris Pappas. "Intelligence Analysis: A Holistic Vision for the Analytic Unit." Studies in Intelligence 50, no. 2 (2006): 47-55.

"This paper argues that what is needed is a vision, from the bottom up, of intelligence analysis that focuses on the working of the basic analytic unit. We examine the analytic process, note problems and issues, and make recommendations to enhance the Intelligence Community's analytic capabilities and products."

Laqueur, Walter. "The Question of Judgment: Intelligence and Medicine." Journal of Contemporary History 18 (Oct. 1983): 533-548.

MacEachin, Douglas J. The Tradecraft of Analysis: Challenge and Change in the CIA. Working Group on Intelligence Reform Series, No. 13. Washington, DC: Consortium for the Study of Intelligence, 1994.

Surveillant 3.6 and 4.2: The Deputy Director for Intelligence "outlines a blueprint for CIA analysis which departs substantially from past CIA doctrine and analytic practice." MacEachin places "new emphasis on the specific needs and goals of policymakers.... [Analysis] should be timely, relevant, readable, and hinged on facts and evidence." Commenting on MacEachin's ideas are Paul Wolfowitz, John Despres, and Abram Shulsky, with additional discussion from other participants.

Marrin, Stephen. "At Arm's Length or at the Elbow?: Explaining the Distance between Analysts and Decisionmakers." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 20, no. 3 (Fall 2007): 401-414.

The author suggests that an approach similar to the British government's Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) "might be useful as a way to close the distance between intelligence analysts and decisionmakers without necessarily compromising analytic independence."

Marrin, Stephen. "Evaluating CIA's Analytic Performance: Reflections of a Former Analyst." Orbis (Spring 2013): 325-339.

The so-called failures of CIA's analytic performance "more accurately represent the perennial dilemmas and tradeoffs associated with the analytic function and, most importantly, the inappropriate expectation that these observers hold of CIA's ability to prevent surprises."

Marrin, Stephen. "Improving CIA Analysis by Overcoming Institutional Obstacles." In Bringing Intelligence About: Practitioners Reflect on Best Practices, ed. Russell G. Swenson, 40-59. Washington, DC: Joint Military Intelligence College, 2003.

According to the author, this article "looks at how institutional practices can prevent full utilization of lessons learned in training, education, or other knowledge-building endeavors. For case studies [he] use[s] the dissolution of CIA's Office of Leadership Analysis and the changing emphasis on current versus long-term intelligence, and in the end argue[s] that organizational and procedural modifications may be necessary in order to take full advantage of an individual analyst's expertise. Specifically, [he] recommend[s] that CIA re-constitute its Office of Current Intelligence and Office of Research and Reports to take advantage of an individual analyst's cognitive strengths."

Marrin, Stephen, and Jonathan D. Clemente [M.D.]. "Improving Intelligence Analysis by Looking to the Medical Profession." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 18, no. 4 (Winter 2005-2006): 707-729.

This is an interesting, even intriguing, article by a former CIA analyst and a physician. They argue that while "[s]ome limitations to the analogy are inevitable due to intrinsic differences between the fields,... the study of medicine could provide intelligence practitioners with a valuable source of insight into various reforms with the potential to improve the craft of intelligence."

Marrin, Stephen, and Jonathan D. Clemente. "Modeling an Intelligence Analysis Profession on Medicine." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 19, no. 4 (Winter 2006-2007): 642-665.

"[I]ntelligence analysis has historically been practiced more as a craft reliant on the intrinsic skill and expertise of the individual analysts than as a highly developed profession with structured personnel practices to select and develop desired characteristics, skills, and behaviors.... Any occupation that lacks performance standards or other formal personnel practices will have difficulties improving both its practices and management.... Modeling the intelligence analysis professionalization process on an existing profession such as medicine would provide a more efficient, effective, and uniform push toward its improvement."

James B. Ellsworth, "Network-Centric Professional Development: Intelligence Associations in the Global Century," American Intelligence Journal 24 (2006): 34-40, comments that while the authors' "overall message is one the broader intelligence profession critically needs to hear -- and their framework for a constructive role for the intelligence association in safeguarding and evolving the profession is quite possibly groundbreaking -- there are several key differences between the 'professional terrain' confronted by pre-AMA medicine and that facing the IC today. Notable among these is the fact that an array of intelligence associations already exists, many active in at least some of the roles in the Marrin/Clemente framework."

McFate, Montgomery. "Cultural Intelligence: 'Far More Difficult than Counting Tanks and Planes.'" American Intelligence Journal 24 (2006): 16-25.

This article "argues that the inability to recognize the significance of data and to understand what information means within its original context, is the product of three forces operating within our intelligence establishment: ethnocentrism, the 'rational actor' model of human behavior, and the preference for technical intelligence."

Medina, Carmen A. "What to Do When Traditional Models Fail: The Coming Revolution in Intelligence Analysis." Studies in Intelligence 46, no. 3 (2002): 23-28.

"The DI's tradecraft model was developed during the 1960s and 1970s and optimized against the characteristics of that period." Today, intelligence analysts must be prepared to operate in "an era of information abundance, wellconnected policymakers, and non-traditional issues." The focus needs to be "on customer requirements, collaborative work, and less formal products."

Steven R. Ward, "Evolution Beats Revolution in Analysis," Studies in Intelligence 46, no. 3 (2002): 29-36, offers "counterpoint" to Medina's thoughts. Ward suggests that Medina's critique "fails to take into account the wide variety of consumers that the DI serves, ranging from the Executive Branch and the Congress to the military and foreign intelligence partners.... [M]ore proof needs to be shown that the traditional model has failed and that significant change, much less a revolution, in the DI is needed."

Murphy, James [LTCOL], and K. Wayne Smith.. "Making Intelligence Analysis Responsive to Policy Concerns." Studies in Intelligence 17, no. 2 (Summer 1973): 1-6.

The authors discuss "intelligence support for the preparation of National Security Memoranda" (NSSM). They conclude that "the greatest improvement needed in the intelligence community is for it to begin anticipating the needs of the policy makers, and to take the initiative in providing information structured to those needs."

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