Robert David Steele, ON INTELLIGENCE: Spies and Secrecy in an Open World (AFCEA 2000, OSS 2002), “Figure 17: Competing Influences on the Policymaker,” p. 53. Recreated by the author from memory of the same information presented by Dr. Gregory Treverton (originator) at the Harvard JFK “Intelligence Policy Seminar” circa 1986.
The original conceptual depictions of “competing influences” on individual decision-makers were first developed by Dr. Greg Treverton teaching the Intelligence Policy Seminar at JIF School of Government, and Jack Davis, dean of the U.S. Intelligence Community scholar-analysts. The “eight tribes” (previously seven) are original to Robert Steele. Steele’s adaptation of Davis-Treverton first appeared as Figure 17 on page 53 of ON INTELLIGENCE: Spies and Secrecy in an Open World (AFCEA, 2000).
There are six (6) pages in this work that held my attention: pages 11-12 (Table 2.2 Analytic Concerns, by Frequency of Mention); page 14 (Figure 3.1, A Pyramid of Analytic Tasks); page 20 (Table 3.1, Wide Range of Analytical Tools and Skills Required); page 34 (Figure 5.1, Intelligence Analysis and Information Types), and page 35 (Table 5.1, Changing Tradecraft Characteristics). Print them off from the free PDF copy online (search for title).
My first review allotted two stars, on the second complete reading I decided that was a tad harsh because I *did* go through it twice, so I now raise it to three stars largely because pages 11-12 were interesting enough to warrant an hour of my time (see below). This work reinvents the wheel from 1986, 1988, 1992, etcetera, but the primary author is clearly ignorant of all that has happened before, and the senior author did not bother to bring him up to speed (I know Greg Treverton knows this stuff).
Among many other flaws, this light once over failed to do even the most cursory of either literature or unclassified agency publication (not even the party line rag, Studies in Intelligence). Any book on this topic that is clueless about Jack Davis and his collected memoranda on analytic tradecraft, or Diane Webb and her utterly brilliant definition of Computer Aided Tools for the Analysis of Science and Technology (CATALYST), is not worthy of being read by an all-source professional. I would also have expected Ruth Davis and Carol Dumaine to be mentioned here, but the lack of attribution is clearly a lack of awareness that I find very disturbing.
I looked over the bibliography carefully, and it confirmed my evaluation. This is another indication that RAND (a “think tank”) is getting very lazy and losing its analytic edge. In this day and age of online bibliography citation, the paucity of serious references in this work is troubling (I wax diplomatic).
Here are ten books–only one of mine (and all seven of mine are free online as well as at Amazon):
On the latter, look for “New Rules for the New Craft of Intelligence” that is free online as a separate document. Both Davis and Webb can be found online because I put them there in PDF form.
The one thing in this book that was useful, but badly presented, was the table of analyst concerns across nine issues that did not include tangible resources, multinational sense-making, or access to NSA OSINT.
Below is my “remix” of the table to put it into more useful form:
54% Quality of Intelligence 54% Tools of intelligence/analysis 43% Staffing 43% Intra-Community collaboration and data sharing 41% Collection Issues 38% Evaluation 32% Targeting Analysis 30% Value
Above are the categories with totals (first initial below connects to above). The top four validate the DNI’s priorities and clearly need work.
32% T Targeting Analysis is important 30% V Redefine intelligence 30% Q Analysis too captive to current 30% To Directed R&D for analytic technology needed 27% T Targeting needs prioritization 27% S Analyst training important and insufficient 22% V Uniqueness 22% E PDB problematic as metric 22% To “Tools” of intelligence analysis are poor 22% To “Tools” limit analysis and limited by culture
The line items above are for me very significant. We still do priority based collection rather than gap-driven collection, something I raised on the FIRCAP and with Rick Shackleford in 1992. Our analysts (most of them less than 5 years in service) are clearly concerned about both a misdirection of collection and of analysis, and a lack of tools–this 22 years after Diane Webb identified the 18 needed functionalities and the Advanced Information Processing and Analysis Steering Group (AIPASG) found over 20 different *compartmented* projects, all with their own sweetheart vendor, trying to create “the” all-source fusion workstation.
19% C S&T underused, needs understanding 16% E Critical and needs improvement 14% E Assess performance qualitatively 14% Q Quality of analysis is a concern 14% Q Intelligence focus too narrow 14% S Language, culture, regional are big weaknesses 11% A Leadership 11% L Must be improved 11% Q Problem centric vice regional 11% Q Global coverage is important 11% C Open source critical, need new sources 11% I Lack of leadership and critical mass impair IC-wide 11% I IC information technology infrastructure needed 11% I Non-traditional source agencies need more input 8% V Unclear goals prevail 8% T Targetting analysis needs attn+ 8% C Collection strategies/methods outdated 8% S Concern over lack of staff or surge capability 8% S Intelligence Community-wide curriculum desireable 8% I Should NOT pursue virtual wired network 8% I Security is a concern for virtual and sharing 5% E Evaluation not critical 5% Q Depth versus breadth an issue 5% Q Greater client context needed 5% C Law enforcement has high potential 5% S Analytic corps is highly trained better than ever 5% S Career track needs building 5% I Stovepiping is a problem, need more X-community 5% I Should pursue virtual organization and wired network 3% V Newsworthy not intelligence 3% L Radical transformation needed 3% E Metrics are not needed 3% E Evaluation is negative 3% E Audits are difficult 3% Q Long term shortfalls overstated 3% Q Global coverage too difficult 3% T Targeting can be left to collectors 3% C All source materially lacking 3% C Need to guard against evidence addiction 3% C Need to take into account “feedback” 3% S Should train stovepipe analysts not IC analysts 3% S Language and cultural a strength
For the rest, not now, but three at the bottom trouble me: the analysts do not have the appreciation for feedback; they do not understand how lacking they are in sources; and they don’t know enough to realize that radical transformation is needed.
On balance, I found this book annoying, but two pages ultimately provocative.
As with Greg Treverton, Dr. Richard Betts is among a handful of “in-house” scholars that enjoy easy access to the “lifers” in the US secret intelligence community, and especially the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and its Directorate of Intelligence.
Dr. Greg Treverton has been a mainstay “in-house” thinker from Harvard and the Council on Foreign Relations to many years at RAND and a brief stint as Vice Chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC), in which capacity he heard from us on the need for all analysts to be able to do citation analysis and identify and then interact with the top 100 published and unpublished experts in their respective domains. He has published several books, one of which, Reshaping National Intelligence for an Age of Information, was part of the 2000-2002 effort by many of us to get the US Intelligence Community refocused to where it could produce intelligence (decision-support) for the President AND everyone else about ALL topics. Below is his presentation to OSS ’01: