Reducing Uncertainty: Intelligence Analysis and National Security

By Thomas Fingar | Go to book overview

7
EPILOGUE
Lessons and Challenges

PRECEDING CHAPTERS HAVE discussed what intelligence analysts do to reduce uncertainty about places, people, and problems of interest to national security decision makers. The discussion was largely descriptive and analytic because my primary objective was to convey a sense of how analysis fits into the broader intelligence enterprise by exploring what intelligence customers want, need, and expect from the analysts who support them and what it is like to work in the fast-paced, highly consequential, and often politically charged atmosphere in Washington. As noted in Chapter 1, I have eschewed feigned objectivity because I want readers, especially those currently serving as intelligence analysts, to understand how the intelligence enterprise looks to a longserving analyst who made it to the top of our profession and was given the opportunity to formulate and implement IC-wide efforts to improve analytic performance.

I am confident that others with long service in the Intelligence Community share many of the observations and judgments presented in this volume, but I am also certain that none will concur with all of them. My interpretation of what analysts do is not inherently better or worse than was the description of the elephant offered by each of the blind men; like them, I and every other commentator on the intelligence enterprise must extrapolate from personal experience and partial information. My perspective is shaped by nearly four decades of work in or for the Intelligence Community, more than half of which was in senior positions.

Many of my observations about the intelligence enterprise result from the self-imposed requirement to think systematically and critically about the roles

-126-

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Reducing Uncertainty: Intelligence Analysis and National Security
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • 1 - Reducing Uncertainty 1
  • 2 - Myths, Fears, and Expectations 19
  • 3 - Spies Collect Data, Analysts Provide Insight 33
  • 4 - Using Intelligence to Anticipate Opportunities and Shape the Future 50
  • 5 - Estimative Analysis What It Is, What It Isn’T, and How to Read It 67
  • 6 - A Tale of Two Estimates 89
  • 7 - Epilogue- Lessons and Challenges 126
  • Reference Matter 139
  • Notes 141
  • Index 171
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