Reflections on Tired Databases versus Wired Analytics + Jack Davis & Analytic Tradecraft RECAP

Advanced Cyber/IO, All Reflections & Story Boards
Robert David STEELE Vivas
Robert David STEELE Vivas

There are multiple analytic flaws with most source data, and particularly with any source data labeled in relation to terrorism. If Israelis have have touched the data in any way, shape, or form (especially including the software), it must be considered contaminated and severely suspect.  While I have nothing critical to say about the application of Sentinel to flawed data, I do feel obliged to point out the sucking chest wounds that afflict most source data.

01 Terrorism is not a threat, it is a tactic. Defining every criminal or political incident in a pre-determined “hot-spot” as being “terrorism-related” is not analysis, it is sophmoric.

02  Databases are an important counterintelligence target.  Who created the analytic model and source data parameters, who wrote every bit of code touching the data, who the source feeders and intermediaries are — all of this matters.  Apart from data bases corrupted by elements of the US Government to their own ends, we have data bases and information technology systems so totally penetrated by enemy powers and special interests as to call into question the integrity and utility of at least 50% of all standing databases.

Click on Image to Enlarge
Click on Image to Enlarge

03 Incidents are what should be plotted, in context not only of time and space, but of all of the other pre-conditions of revolution that the US Government in particular refuses to contemplate because it would make it obvious that it has severe shortcomings in its intelligence function. Still-born babies and babies born deformed as so many have been in Fallujah, Iraq, are just as important to stability analytics as are incidents of direct violence against “authority” figures or forces.

04 Cause and effect is not for simpletons. Whole systems analytics demands an understanding of the totality of the information environment, with very special care being paid to the human factor — if the analysis does not include the political-legal, socio-economic, ideo-cultural, techno-gemographic, and natural-geographic “layers,” it is not analysis, it is stove-piped incident reporting of little use to anyone.  If you cannot comprehend the cause and address that, the effects will get worse no matter what you do.  Victory over “effects” is not possible.

Click on Image to Enlarge
Click on Image to Enlarge

05 Historical data is useless for forecasting unless you can do integrated analytics that tease out the cause and effect. Saying that six terrorist incidents will originate in Gaze every six weeks is idiocy. Saying that incidents will spike in the six weeks following an Israeli atrocity is much more useful.  People do things for a reason — being excluded (see the work of Rojan Radej below) and screwed over is a cause.

06 Tactical excellence will never overcome strategic decrepitude I. Money and technology are not substitutes for virtue and thinking. There are four levels for any endeavor — strategic, operational, tactical, and technical — and any failure to integrate “Whole of Government” capabilities from 20 years before the operation to 20 years after the operation is destined to fail in expensive ways. “Strategic decrepitude” is a term of art taught at the US war colleges, and while it refers primarily to intellectual retardation, I personally find that moral retardation is twice as detrimental as the intellectual. It is the moral decrepitude that opens the way to intellectual and intelligence decrepitude and of course the underlying financial corruption that starts not with those doing the bribing, but those soliciting the bribes.

07  Tactical excellence will never overcome strategic decrepitude II.


See Also:

40 Years of Doing Intelligence Analysis-Lessons from Martin Petersen

2013 Robert Steele: From Information Pathologies to Organizational Intelligence — Why Predictive Analytics on Industrial Era Data is Fraud, Waste, & Abuse

2013 Robert Steele: Reflections on the Inability of Washington to Think with Integrity

2012 Robert Steele: Practical Reflections on UN Intelligence + UN RECAP

2008 Open Source Intelligence (Strategic) 2.0

2003 Davis (US) Analytic Paradoxes: Can Open Source Intelligence Help?

2003 Medina (US) 21st Century Analysis–The Coming Revolution in Intelligence Analysis: What to do when the Traditional Model Fails

2002: New Rules for the New Craft of Intelligence (Full Text Online for Google Translate)

1997 Davis A Compendium of Analytic Tradecraft Notes

1976-2013: Analytic, Methodological, & Technical Models 2.1

A Science of Intelligence Qua Decision-Support?

BASIC: Open Source Intelligence Familiarization Documents (Original)

Bojan Radej: Can the Military “Pull” All-Source Fused Data to the Squad?

Bojan Radej: Causal Link Sortfalls in Evidence-Based Development

Bojan Radej: Complex Society in the Radical Middle

Bojan Radej: Divided we stand

Bojan Radej: Divided We Stand — Integration as Triad

Bojan Radej: Movement 99%, Self-Organizing Complex Bodies

Bojan Radej: Primitive Politics Fail Social Complexity

Graphic: Competing Influences on Policy, Acquisition & Operations – Intelligence Marginalized, Easy to Ignore

Graphic: The UN and the Eight Tribes of Intelligence

Historic Contributions Directory (List)

John Heidenreich: The Intelligence Community’s Neglect of Strategic Intelligence

Journal: Loch Johnson on It’s Never a Quick Fix at the CIA

Reference: David Moore on Sense-Making

Reference: Jack Davis Leadership in Intelligence Analysis (August 2002)

Reference: M4IS2 OSINT UN NATO Search List Alpha

References on Intelligence Analysis

Review: Analyzing Intelligence: Origins, Obstacles, and Innovations

Review: Assessing the Tradecraft of Intelligence Analysis

Review: Improving CIA Analytic Performance–Four Papers by Jack Davis

Review: Improving Intelligence Analysis: Bridging the Gap between Scholarship and Practice

Review: Intelligence Analysis – Behavioral and Social Scientific Foundations

Review: Reducing Uncertainty: Intelligence Analysis and National Security

Review: Still Broken–A Recruit’s Inside Account of Intelligence Failures, from Baghdad to the Pentagon

Review: Strategic intelligence for American world policy (Unknown Binding)

Review: Strategic Intelligence–Windows into a Secret World

Review: Thinking in Time–The Uses of History for Decision-Makers

Search: analytic tradecraft

Search: jack davis analytical support for peace

Search: jack davis and his collected memoranda o

Search: jack davis intelligence works

Search: osint for special operation forces robert

Search: The Future of OSINT [is M4IS2-Multinational]

Search: UN intelligence peace intelligence

Stephen E. Arnold: A Fresh Look at Big Data & Big Data (-) Human Factor (+) Transformation (+) RECAP

Stephen Marrin: Evaluating the Quality of Intelligence Analysis: By What (Mis) Measure? With Comment by Robert Steele

Structuring Strategic Decision Support Intelligence

Theophillis Goodyear: The Second Enlightment Emergent Now — Comment by Bojan Radej

Who’s Who in Public Intelligence: Jack Davis

Worth A Look: Posted from the Past Including Jack Davis on Leadership in Intelligence Analysis

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Intelligence (Most)

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