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Abstract

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.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    The Analytic Community Today

  • Chapter Three

    Key Themes for Leveraging Future R&D Priorities

  • Chapter Four

    Building the Human Capital for the Future

  • Chapter Five

    A Vision of the Analytic Community Tomorrow

  • Chapter Six

    Recommended Actions

This research was conducted within the Intelligence Policy Center (IPC) of the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD). NSRD conducts research and analysis for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Commands, the defense agencies, the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Intelligence Community, allied foreign governments, and foundations.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation technical report series. RAND technical reports may include research findings on a specific topic that is limited in scope or intended for a narrow audience; present discussions of the methodology employed in research; provide literature reviews, survey instruments, modeling exercises, guidelines for practitioners and research professionals, and supporting documentation; or deliver preliminary findings. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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