Making Sense of Transnational Threats   [open pdf - 154KB]

"Intelligence Community analytic organizations need to institutionalize processes to consider whether and how they might "have gotten it wrong" to enhance their abilities to anticipate potential threats in highly complex, fast-moving transnational issues, such as terrorism and weapons proliferation. Such processes would involve sustained, collaborative efforts by analysts to question their judgments and underlying assumptions, employing both critical and creative modes of thought. For such processes to be effective, significant changes in the cultures and business processes of analytic organizations will be required. These are the key conclusions arising from a project undertaken by the Kent School's Global Futures Partnership and the RAND Corporation to rethink "alternative analysis"-tools designed to help analysts and decision-makers employ rigorous self-review, question judgments, and explore alternative outcomes-to better address threats in the increasingly important realm of transnational issues. In a series of unclassified workshops, Intelligence Community analysts and analytic managers came together on a non-attribution basis with outside thinkers in a broad range of fields relevant to the analytic process, including cognitive psychology, psychiatry, organizational behavior, artificial intelligence, knowledge management, intelligence studies, and the foreign policy process. Through presentations and discussions among participants, the workshops sought to generate broad concepts about adapting alternative analysis to enhance warning of out-of-the-ordinary actions undertaken by nonstate actors, epitomized in the September 11 attacks. What follows in this report are some of the more intriguing ideas that surfaced at the workshops, arrayed and developed by the project leaders into a systematic argument."

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Central Intelligence Agency: http://www.odci.gov/cia/
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The Sherman Kent Center for Intelligence Analysis, Occasional Papers (2004): v. 3, no. 1
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