Reference: Transforming How We Hire Analysts

Analysis, Ethics, Government, Methods & Process, Military, Reform, Strategy
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This is a righteous piece of work out of the National Defense University (NDU) by Mr. Adrian (Zeke) Wolfberg of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), entitled “To Transform into a More Capable Intelligence Community: A Paradigm Shift in the Analyst Selection Strategy.”  Published April 21, 2003, this is still valid and of course still ignored.

CIA changed its hiring profile in 1979 and 1982 to hire “self-starters” into “go-laong company men” and in both instances over half the class quite within five years (ie generally after only one tour).  Steele lasted nine years, three of them in back to back overseas tours against terrorist and extremist targets.  CIA does not really want self-starters, it’s managers cannot handle self-starters and they fear being outed for being frauds.  Similarly, DIA is cursed, as are all the service intelligence elements, with people who excel at cut and paste subordination, not at independent thinking.  Rank is the measure of one’s authority in the military, not knowledge, and that is what we have to change if defense intelligence is to be relevant to defense policy, acquisition, and operations for the future.

The security system is so hosed as to be a major part of the problem.  We are 70,000 behind in clearing people, and our system is leading us to hire the wrong people–people who are clearable instead of people who are innovators.  Creating the defense open source program and giving it an operational role is the only way we can see to launch a “lifeboat” that will allow the Director of DIA, and the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence (USD (I)), to test new ways of hiring, managing, and nurturing both the collectors of the future and analysts of the future, while establishing a baseline for intelligence support to policy, acquisition, and operations that is honest, effective, and affordable.

In collection we should find, get, or buy before we steal.

In analysis we should go as far as we can with multinationnal sense-making before we resort to secret unilateral leaps of faith.

Someone, somewhere, has to take the first official step.  Business as usual is NOT working.  Perhaps we should have shouted these 21 years….