Using Risk Analysis to Inform Intelligence Analysis

by Henry H. Willis

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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.

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