Using Risk Analysis to Inform Intelligence Analysis

by Henry H. Willis

Download Free Electronic Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.5 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

The study and application of risk analysis provides a set of tools with a strong methodological foundation. This paper describes how risk analysis can be integrated into the intelligence cycle for producing terrorism threat assessments and warnings. Intelligence professionals can use the risk analyst’s toolbox to sharpen conclusions that are made in intelligence products by providing support for identification of scenarios of greatest concern. Risk analysis can also be used to focus future collection efforts on information that appears to be most relevant to refining existing estimates of terrorism risks. However, risk analyses must be conducted to meet challenges of information availability, matching resolution of results to the problem, reflecting risk as the social construct that it is, and not ignoring the possibility of surprise.

The research described in this report was conducted by RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Working paper series. RAND working papers are intended to share researchers' latest findings and to solicit informal peer review. They have been approved for circulation by RAND but may not have been formally edited or peer reviewed.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.