In your own back room?

Received this email recently from Stephen Marrin, Assistant Professor, Intelligence Studies Department, Mercyhurst College (below). It comes shortly after the piece in Wired magazine (‘Behind Enemy Lines With a Suburban Counterterrorist’) about a lday who trained herself up in cyber-counter terrorism. And who’s local FBI office have to use the internet terminal at their local library to ‘get online’. So why, in that context, bother joining the Service when you can be both analysts and decision maker in your own back room?

“Most recently, an article titled “At Arm’s Length or at the Elbow: Explaining the Distance Between Analysts and Decisionmakers” was published in the fall 2007 issue of the International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence. Someone has posted a copy of this paper to the internet, so it can be obtained here (if difficulty opening, copy address into separate webpage):

“In this article, I argue that the hierarchical and adversarial national security decision making process explains the relative distance between intelligence analysts and decisionmakers, and that this distance is legitimated by a ‘myth’ that analysts possess based on an idealized—and unrealistic—conception of the decisionmaking process. In the end, I suggest that “closing the distance between intelligence analysis and decisionmaking in the United States—and thereby improving the integration of intelligence analysis into policymaking—will require that intelligence analysts possess a more realistic understanding of their (limited) role in decisionmaking than is currently prevalent in intelligence culture, and work within the broader hierarchical decisionmaking culture to improve the analytic support that decisionmakers get from intelligence analysts.”

“In addition, in late 2006 an article titled “Adding Value to the Intelligence Product” was published in the Handbook of Intelligence Studies (Ed. Loch Johnson, Routledge). In that article, I argue that the ‘science’ of intelligence analysis can be improved through greater rigor in the application of the scientific method in the analytic process, as well as modeling intelligence analysis production processes more closely on those that exist at the Government Accountability Office, where I spent some time as an analyst. In addition, I also argued that the ‘art’ of intelligence analysis can be improved through intelligence analysts’ increased use of empathy (in terms of seeing the world from the ‘other’s’ perspective) and imagination (based primarily on that which exists in historical interpretation).

“Finally, three more articles are forthcoming:

* First, an article titled “Intelligence Analysis Theory: Explaining and Predicting Analytic Responsibilities” will be published in Intelligence and National Security (late 2007);

* Second, an article titled “Intelligence Analysis: Structured Methods or Intuition?” will be published in the American Intelligence Journal (late 2007); and

* Third, a paper titled “Intelligence Analysis: Methodological Challenges” will be published as a chapter in the forthcoming book “Intelligence Theory: Key Questions and Debates” put out by Routledge (early 2008).”