Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Is ISI Really The Best Intelligence Agency In The World?
According to the National Post, Canada's conservative newspaper, it is.

That is just one of the interesting tidbits reported in this graphic titled, The State of The Global Spy Game (Download the PDF here).

Following Pakistan's ISI comes Mossad in the number 2 slot, MI 6 taking third and the CIA following up in fourth place.

In addition to the Top Ten list, most of the graphic outlines a series of assassinations, explosions, spying, cyber spying and "convenient accidents" that the Post ties to various intelligence organizations over the last ten years.

Finally, there are some charts which claim to be based on some of Richards Heuer's work regarding the demographics of spies; where they come from in government, how much education they have, etc.  The graphic provides no comparative data to see if any of the categories identified are larger or smaller than they are in the relevant population from which they are drawn so it is difficult to draw conclusions but intriguing nonetheless.

Given the nature of the article and difficulty associated with making these kinds of judgements, I am not surprised at the results but it is still an interesting question to ask:  Who has the world's best intel service? 

(Hat tip to Christophe Deschamps at Outils Froid and his must follow Twitter feed!)

Friday, December 9, 2011

1st Annual Entry-level Intel Analyst Jobs Report Out Now!

How good is the job market for entry-level intelligence analysts over the next 12 months? 

Good question, right?  If you are a recent graduate from college or you are graduating in 2012, and you are interested in working as an analyst in the US national security intelligence community, it is probably one of the questions you are asking yourself.

The answer is contained in this document.

We tasked one of our outstanding grad students, Whitney Bergendahl, with examining this question back in the early fall.  He put together a survey (which some of you may remember) and conducted some fairly extensive secondary research to put together this report.  It is obviously a tough nut to crack but Whitney has done yeoman's work on this first ever, job market report for entry-level intel analysts.

Whitney and I are both interested in your feedback, of course.  After you have had a chance to read the report, please leave a comment!

But wait, there's more!

(I know that sounds cheesy but there is, in fact, more...)

This report only covers the job market for entry-level analysts in the national security intelligence community.  Between now and the end of February, we hope to publish two other reports on the job markets for entry-level law enforcement intellience analysts and for entry level intelligence analysts in the business community. 

But wait!  There's even more!

(Had to do it...)

Benjamin Wittorf, who publishes occasionally on the blog, Netzwerk-Organisatorische Formen, but is probably best followed via Twitter and makes a living as a researcher for eVenture Capital Partners, has turned my series of blog posts, How To Get A Job In Intelligence, into an epub for easy (and free!) download. (Note:  I am sure there is something clever I could say here about "the kindness of strangers" but I can't think of it so I will just say, Thanks, Ben!)

While this series is a little old, I think much of the general guidance ought to still be good.  If you want to read it, you will, of course, need to have an epub reader to access it.  If you don't, there is also a pdf version or, of course, you can still access the original series on this blog.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

If You Think You Understand The Role Of Social Media In The Arab Spring Uprisings (And Particularly If You Don't), Watch This Video...


This video is an hour long and, frankly, I didn't think I would have the time this morning.  Started watching nonetheless and became riveted by one of the most cogent explanations of the role of social media in activism I have heard.  Even if you disagree (and this is not my area of expertise so I hope those that do disagree will do so in the comments so we can all learn), it is well worth the hour it takes to watch.

(Many thanks to my friends at Sharp for this!)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Testing A New Mindmapping Tool...And You Can Join In! (

One of our amazing alums (Thanks, Justin!) sent me a link to a beta version of a new, web-based, collaborative mindmapping tool called Popplet.

I have been playing  around with it for the last half hour or so and found it easy to use and potentially very useful.

What I don't know is how well it works as a collaborative tool (which is where my real interest lies -- there is plenty of good stand-alone mindmapping software), so I thought I would throw it out there for anyone to examine (Popplet makes this simple with an embed code.  Yeah!). 

If you are interested in trying it out, however, you will need to drop me an email (kwheaton at Mercyhurst dot edu) and I will send you an invite.

These kinds of open, collaborative tools that are easy to set up and quick to learn are great for classroom exercises; they are interactive and engaging.  In my experience, students love them (If you are looking for another example, try

It is also a great way to build a mental model of an intelligence problem. This app is in beta though and has no way (that I could find) to safely share or export the data. There is an offline reader application called Popplet Presenter which would allow a single individual to show his/her work securely (-ish) to others, I suppose.

I suspect these features are coming (offering these features for a modest price is the way most of these kinds of apps, like Mindmeister or Webspiration, make their money) but until then, this is probably best confined to the classroom.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Welcome USA Today Readers!

If you have found your way to my little slice of the internet today, it is probably because of this article in USA Today. 


If you are interested in learning more about my use of games in my intelligence studies classes, you will probably want to read my online article, Teaching Strategic Intelligence Through Games.

If you are interested in a specific example of a game and how I used it in class, you will probably find this article, Spot Report From The Future, to be worth reading.  If you want all of the games-related posts, just search for "games" in the search bar at the top left of this page.

If you are interested in where I teach, you can find out more at the Mercyhurst website.  If you are interested in the intelligence studies program at Mercyhurst, you can find out more about it on the Mercyhurst College Institute For Intelligence Studies website.

If you want to look at some of my other research or observations, just poke around this site.  I post updates concerning most of the things I am working on here as well as some links to various projects on which my students have worked.  Finally, if you have a question for me, please post a comment or drop me an email directly at kwheaton at mercyhurst dot edu.

Thanks for stopping by!  You can subscribe to the RSS feed for this site directly at the link on the bottom right or through your RSS feed reader.  If you use Twitter, you can follow all my postings @kwheaton.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Evaluating The Reliability Of Social Media Sources, An Amazing Technology Roadmap And Reagan's Visual SFARs (Link List)

I love having friends and alumni that send me interesting links and this week contained an extraordinary crop!  Here are three of the best things that happened to cross my desktop:

Some of the Ushahidi Deployments
How To Verify Social Media Content.  We have known for some time how to evaluate online sources for credibility in a general sense (See Dax Norman's thesis and checklist here.  Not only it is a brilliant piece of research, it is also the only such document designed by an intelligence analyst for use by other intelligence analysts).  When it comes to understanding how to evaluate social media sources, however, the question becomes much trickier.

Patrick Meier is the Director of Crisis Mapping at Ushahidi and previously co-directed Harvard's Program on Crisis Mapping and Early Warning (If you are not familiar with the crisis mapping platform Ushahidi, stop now and go here).  He has had extensive real-world experience with social media sources in the hundreds of uses of the Ushahidi platform in crises world-wide and he has translated that experience into an outstanding list of hints and tips for evaluating social media (Twitter specifcially).

While his insights into evaluating social media are born of this experience rather than more rigorous statistical analyses (like Dax's), his findings ring true and certainly operate as an excellent general purpose checklist until the science catches up.
Envisioning Emerging Technology For 2012 And Beyond.  Through a series of serendipitous accidents, I have worked on a number of projects looking at technology trends. 

While I normally start with Gartner on these types of questions, I have just added Michael Zappa and his excellent work at Envisioning Technology to my short list of go-to sources.

The technology roadmap he has built is awesome (you can see the compact version to the right but I strongly recommend you take a look at the interactive version here (Note to Michael Zappa:  If you are going to make it Creative Commons, you might as well make it embeddable as well...Please!)).

Ronald Reagan: Intelligence and the End of the Cold War.  Finally, I like to emphasize the importance of production skills for my students with a variety of stories about high-level decisionmakers who preferred their intelligence in "alternative" formats.

For example, John F. Kennedy had the President's Intelligence Checklist (the PICL -- analysts who worked on the product were said to work in the "PICL Factory").  Ronald Reagan, on the other hand, liked to see some of his intelligence, at least, in the form of short videos.
(Note:  One of the kinds of analytic report writing we teach at Mercyhurst is called, generically, the Short Form Analytic Report, usually pronounced "Ess-Far".  When this type of report contains more visual elements than written ones, we call it a visual SFAR, hence the title to this post).
Many have speculated that this was because Reagan was an actor and naturally gravitated to film but, whatever the reason, it is an interesting lesson in the importance of producing intelligence -- that is, the ability to fully communicate the results of analysis to the decisionmaker that the intel unit is supporting.

You can see the full report here or watch the videos on the CIA's YouTube channel (!).   I have embedded my favorite (because I lived through it...) below:

Friday, November 11, 2011

An Internet Murder?

I ran across this remarkable video today and it occurred to me that I might be able to use it to offer a brief but challenging thought experiment:

Given this video, what question would you ask first?
Leave your answer in the comments!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How To Improve Your Open Source Search Skills -- One Day At A Time!

If you scratch the surface of the web you will find a ton of articles, websites and videos about how to search for information more efficiently.

Not that this makes any difference.

Students, according to the Project For Information Literacy, "while curious in the beginning stages of research, employed a consistent and predictable research strategy for finding information, whether they were conducting course-related or everyday life research." The report goes on to say, "Almost all students used course readings and Google first for course-related research and Google and Wikipedia for everyday life research."

There are a number of reasons to be worried about this. Many people tend to focus on the over-reliance on Google as the search engine of first resort. While some of that logic is true (for an interesting and illuminating experiment that makes the point, I recommend this site...), I find the inability to use even Google very well to be one of my largest concerns. I mean, if you are going to rely only on Google, you ought to be incredibly good at finding stuff with it.

The best way, in my mind, to get good at finding stuff with Google is to practice doing it and Google apparently feels the same way. The Wizards of Mountain View are now offering a game that is designed to use "your creativity and clever search skills". The premise is simple. They ask a question and then you use Google to find the answer. The game is called "Google a Day". You can try today's challenge below:

I can easily imagine this as an icebreaker in a computer equipped classroom or as a homework or extra credit assignment. Leave your own ideas in the comments!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How Many Entry-level Analysts Does The US IC Need This Year? (Survey)

Good question, right?

If you have direct knowledge of information that might help answer the question in the title or you have indirect knowledge that is relevant to the answer to the question in the title, please take 2 minutes to complete this survey.
What do I mean by direct and indirect knowledge?
Direct knowledge means that you know personally or have good information concerning the hiring plans of your agency or organization (or at least your section or division).  You might work in HR or be a manager with hiring responsibilities.

Indirect knowledge is information that is relevant to the question that is not due to your direct responsibilities.  You might have spoken with an HR manager or have been involved in meetings where this issue was discussed.

We are NOT looking for opinion based on purely circumstantial information.  If you are not involved in the hiring process either directly or indirectly, please DO NOT take this survey.
Why are we interested?

Every year, other disciplines announce hiring projections for the year:  "This year's hot jobs are for engineers and chimney sweeps."  That sort of thing.  Entry level intelligence analysts who are searching for a job, on the other hand, receive no such guidance. 

We hope to change that.  Working with one of our hot-shot grad students, Whitney Bergendahl, and my colleague and marketing expert, Shelly Freyn, we put together this survey to get a better feel for the the job market for entry level analysts for the year ahead. 

Once we get enough survey data, Whitney will compile it and combine it with the macro-level, mostly qualitative data that we already have and put together a "jobs report" for the year ahead.  I will publish it here once we are done.

We understand that there are some legitimate security concerns here so we have tried to frame the questions such that they are focused on broad developments and general trends.  We are not interested in the kind of deep details that might compromise security.

Finally, we intend to follow this study up with similar surveys of the law enforcement and business job markets for entry-level intelligence analysts as well.

Thanks for your participation!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Two New "Intelligence In Business" Blogs Of Note

Competitive Intelligence?  Too narrowly defined.  Strategic and Competitive Intelligence?  Too long.  Industrial Espionage?  Illegal.  Commercial Intelligence?  Better but easy to confuse with the other two "CIs". 

Whatever you tend to call it (and, as the title to this post indicates, I prefer "Intelligence In Business" or IIB), intelligence analysis as a function in the business world is growing very quickly.  More and more companies are waking up to the idea that internally focused operational efficiency is not enough --  they need to better understand the world of events, people and organizations that are relevant to their success or failure but are outside their control as well.

To paraphrase a well known military thinker:  "Know the competitor, the customer, the regulatory environment, your supply chain's vulnerabilities, the limits of your hiring pool, etc. and know yourself and you will succeed in all your battles."

That is a bit of a lengthy intro to two relatively new blogs that can help anyone new to the wild west of IIB understand it a bit better:

i-intelligence.  There are few people I know who are both as articulate and consistently right as Chris Pallaris.  His company, i-intelligence, is based in Switzerland but operates all over the world.  He and his team do not post often (so don't worry about getting overwhelmed by spam) but it always makes for interesting reading.  Of even more value, perhaps, is i-intelligence's twitter feed which can be (conveniently) found at @i-intelligence.  There Chris and his team cull and curate a stream of articles that should be interesting to anyone involved in intelligence.

MGT Analytics.  Whether it is making the theoretical real to the business person or just explaining the basics of intel, this new blog, run by Mike Thomas, looks like it is going to definitely be worth following.  I have known Mike since he was a student here at Mercyhurst and have always been impressed with the clarity of his insight.  More important than my intuitions, however, are Mike's wide range of real-world experience.  He has known both success and failure so there will be no pollyanna-ish leanings here.  Likewise, he has traveled extensively, taught accounting in China, gotten his masters, worked for the TSA, been a cyberthreat analyst and is now founding his second company.   Clearly worth a look.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Intelligence Analyst's Deck Of Cards Is Here! (Pictures And Update)

The cards came in last week and look fantastic!  Take a look at the unboxing pics below:

Cool, eh?

We should begin shipping out the complimentary copies to everyone who submitted a quote today.  If you don't get your copy by 15 NOV, drop me a note (kwheaton at mercyhurst dot edu) with your mailing address.

Pre-orders made through the Mercyhurst Bookstore's online ordering service have already begun to be shipped.  If you are interested in ordering fewer than 10 copies, you can continue to do so through the bookstore.

We are offering pretty sizable bulk discounts as well.  If you want to order 10 or more copies (for all your training/morale building/Christmas needs!),

As a reminder, all profits from the sale of the cards will go to fund the activities of our three student intel clubs.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

RFI: Should Intelligence Analysis Be More Like Competitive Diving?

Quick!  Which is more difficult:  A jackknife or three and a half somersaults from a tuck position? In case you are not familiar with these dives, you can see videos of both below.

Now, here is the more difficult question: How much more difficult is a 3.5 from the tuck than a jackknife?

The answer is about 2.3 times more difficult. How do I know this? Because I checked out the handy diving tables at FINA (the international organization that regulates diving). I'm no expert but my reading of the tables says that a 3.5 from the tuck is a dive with a 3 point difficulty while a forward dive from the pike position (a jackknife?) is a 1.3 point dive.

Note that the degree of difficulty is simply a multiplier for the actual score of the dive. It is theoretically possible that a perfect jackknife would beat a lousy 3.5 somersault.

Intelligence, right now, is all about scoring the dive. Degree of difficulty? Not so much. 

I am hoping to change that...

We spend a good bit of time in intelligence talking about forecasting accuracy and we should.  Saying accurate things about the future is arguably much more valuable to decisionmakers than saying accurate things about the present or past.  It is also inherently more difficult.

Even when we are trying to say accurate things about the future, though, some questions are easier to answer than others.  Quick!  Which is more difficult to answer:  Is there likely to be a war somewhere in the Middle East in the next 100 years or is there likely to be a war between Israel and Egypt within the next 24 months?  I am no Middle East expert but it seems to me that the first question is much easier than the second.  I am guessing that most readers of this blog would say the same thing.

Why?   What are the essential elements of a question that make it obviously more or less difficult to answer?  How do we generalize these criteria across all questions?

I am not the only person to recognize the inherent difficulties in different kinds of questions.  Michael Hayden, the former Director of the CIA and NSA, likes to tell this story:

"Some months ago, I met with a small group of investment bankers and one of them asked me, 'On a scale of 1 to 10, how good is our intelligence today?'  I said the first thing to understand is that anything above 7 isn't on our scale. If we're at 8, 9, or 10, we're not in the realm of intelligence—no one is asking us the questions that can yield such confidence. We only get the hard sliders on the corner of the plate."
Note that Hayden highlighted the degree of difficulty of the questions (not the difficulty of obtaining the information or the complications associated with supporting political appointees or the lack of area experts or anything else) as the reason for more realistic expectations for the intelligence community's analysts.

So...if degree of question difficulty is the missing half of the "evaluating intelligence" equation, shouldn't someone be working on a diving-like degree of  dfficulty table for intel analysts?

That is precisely what I, along with one of our top graduate students, Brian Manning, have set out to do this year.  This research question piqued our interest primarily because of our involvement in the DAGGRE Research Project (more on that soon). 

In that project, we are asking questions (lots of them) that all have to be resolvable.  That is, they have to all have an answer eventually ("Will Moammar Ghaddafi be President of Libya after 31 DEC 2011?" is a resolvable question -- he either will or he won't be president after that date). 

My concern was that this is not the way that most questions are actually asked by the decisionmakers that intel typically supports.  For example, I would expect that the Ghaddafi question would come at me in the form of "So, what is going to happen with Ghaddafi?"  A very different question and, intuitively, much more difficult to answer.

So far our research has turned up some interesting answers from the fields of linguistics, artificial intelligence and, from all places, marketing. We expect to find interesting answers in other fields (like philosophy) but have not yet. 

Our goal is to sort through this research and figure out if any of the existing answers to this "question about questions" makes any sense for intel professionals.  Alternatively, we might take elements from each answer and kludge them together into some steampunk-looking difficulty of question generator.  We just don't know at this point. 

What we are looking for is good ideas, in general, and, in particular, any real research into how to rank questions for difficulty.

The comments section is now open!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Smokin' Hot Online Cyberthreat Analysis Grad Class About To Start! (Shameless Self Promotion)

I know it is shameless.  I know it is self-promoting but I think our online cyberthreat analysis course is an extremely cool, very awesome class. 


First, it is taught by Billy Rios.  Billy is the current team lead for web and product security at Google.  Before his gig with Google, he worked at Microsoft.  The prof for this class is a soldier who comes in from the trenches to teach each class and goes back to the trenches when class is over.  It simply does not get any more real than that.

Second, the class is not just theory.  Billy brings a healthy dose of application to the class.  To quote the brochure:  "Students will be introduced to the key concepts, tools, and terminologies used by professionals in the field and apply what they learn in lab exercises that model real-world events." 

Third, it means something to me when good students speak highly of a class.  Numerous high quality students who I know and trust have taken this class -- and loved it.

Fourth, it is online and asynchronous.  That doesn't mean you can blow off assignments until the last week and then catch up.  What it does mean is that, if you are deployed or in a distant time zone or work odd hours, you can still take this class.

Fifth, it is an introductory level class and there are no pre-requisites.  It is specifically designed for someone who knows little to nothing about cyber.  It is perfect, for example, for an analyst who is interested in moving into the cyberthreat field or who just wants to have some grounding in the issues but does not have a technical background. 

Sixth, it is a graduate level class that is accredited and transfers just like any other grad class.

Seventh...oh, you get the idea.  It is a damn good class.  If you are interested in taking it or want more information, contact Linda Bremmer: 

Class begins 28 NOV and runs for 10 weeks.  The deadline for applications is 4 NOV.

If you are interested in cyberthreat analysis and are looking for a introductory course, I can think of no better place to start.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Intelligence Is All About A Partially Observable, Stochastic, Continuous, Adversarial Space...Really!

At least that is what I learned in lesson 1 of Stanford's free, online, Introduction to Artificial Intelligence Course. 

Along with 160,000 of my classmates from all over the world, I am trying to learn the basics of artificial intelligence (AI).  Besides a long-time personal interest in AI (for my capstone project in law school, I designed an expert system that helped college students navigate landlord-tenant law (While it may seem trivial today, believe me, back in 1983, this was considered enormously sexy...)), at least half of AI is about how to better understand uncertain environments, something with which intelligence professionals are intimately familiar.  In fact, in lesson 1, as one of our professors, Sebastian Thrun, points out, AI can be thought of as "uncertainty management" -- words that should also resonate with most intelligence analysts.

My hope is that some of the formal ways in which AI scientists go about doing their business might have direct application to what we often tend to think of as the very squishy world of intelligence.  Since many AI applications are already concerned with what are traditionally intelligence problems, my assumption is that the language and systems used by AI professionals will help me understand and explain my own work better.

So far (I am well into Unit 2 of the course), I have not been disappointed.  While the production values are more Khan Academy than Nova, I find the short video clips, frequent quizzes and my own interest in the material to be enough to keep my attention.  The concepts that underlie AI are so embedded into almost any predictive system on the market or in the works that it is hard not to recommend the course to virtually all intelligence professionals.

While it may be too late to sign up for the course, you can view all of the videos on YouTube (I have embedded the introductory video below):

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pre-order Your "Intelligence Analyst's Deck of Cards" Now!

In just a few days we expect to have the hotly anticipated Intelligence Analyst's Deck of Cards in the building.

While everyone who submitted a quote is still getting a free deck, many of you have asked to buy additional decks for yourselves or for your organization.

With those requests in mind, we have decided to open up a pre-order option for both individual and bulk orders.

Note:  We will fill all pre-orders first and we may run out of decks.  We intend to print more, of course, but you would have to wait.  Bottomline:  If you or your organization knows it is going to want some/many of these decks, you probably ought to go ahead and pre-order.
If you would like to pre-order less than 10 decks, please do so through the Mercyhurst bookstore.

If none of this makes any sense to you, search this blog for "Intelligence Analyst's Deck of Cards" to get the rest of the story.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Getting Intel From Twitter, Getting Help From Online Communities, Getting A Job And Target-Centric Astronomy (Link List)

The great things about having friends is that they send you stuff.  I love getting links and articles from contacts all over the world.  It is like Christmas every time I open my inbox...

OK, maybe not exactly like Christmas, but close!

Anyway, with no particular theme and in no particular order, here is a sampling of just some of the stuff that engaged my brain cells over the last few days:

Ten Simple Rules for Getting Help from Online Scientific Communities.  This is actually a good list for anyone trying to get help from any online community.

Truthy.  According to the site, "Truthy is a research project that helps you understand how memes spread online. Our first application was the study of astroturf campaigns in elections."  They have just recently added a feature that allows you to map any Twitter hashtags that you find interesting (It was down earlier but might be up by the time you read this).

Why grad schools should be more like steel mills.  Interesting essay on the current focus of graduate education and how it should change.  Not a bad read if you are a grad student or a teacher of grad students.  From Craig Zelizer on the Peace and Collaborative Development Network.

Do 'the Risky Thing' in Digital Humanities.  More grad student advice.  While this author focuses on digital humanities, I think the points apply to other disciplines as well.  I am particularly drawn to the advice, "Make sure that someone's got your back, but do the risky thing."  (Thanks to my colleague, Diane Chido!)

Preparing Grad Students for Careers Outside of Academia.  This post aggregates comments from Chronicle of Higher Education readers about the opportunities and challenges facing graduate students. 

Target-Centric Astronomy.  Saved the best for last!  My colleague, Steve Marrin, sent this out over the always useful IAFIE list.  It compares how astronomers do their business to how Robert Clark says intelligence analysts should do theirs.  Brilliant stuff!

Friday, September 30, 2011

9 Types Of Collaborators (

Recently I posted some of the early results of our research into using wikis as collaborative tools for managing and producing intelligence.  While my focus has been on the process, it makes just as much sense to focus on the people involved in the collaborative effort.

CentralDesktop, a provider of a wiki+ solution to small and medium sized businesses, has produced an interesting infographic (see small version below but you will probably have to go to the site to see the blown up version) that captures their own experience with the various different kinds of collaborators.  I suspect the evidence for the typology is anecdotal and that some of the intent behind the infographic below was humorous.  That said, I found the idea of thinking about the kinds of collaborative personalities involved in a project to be an interesting one.

From a design standpoint, it would seem important to address the needs of the different types of personalities in order to engage as many as possible in the effort.  From a management standpoint, however, it would seem important to focus training and cash on software that offered just enough variety (but not too much).  While these two needs conflict with each other to a certain extent, there is likely a sweet spot where they overlap.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Intelligence Analyst's Deck Of Cards: An Update

Several people have asked me about the status of Intelligence Analyst's Deck Of Cards that we collectively worked on this summer, so I wanted to provide a quick update (If you have no idea what I am talking about, go here).

The proofs have just come back from the printer (as you can see in the picture to the right).  We hope to go to print next week and have the cards back by mid-October.  Shortly after that we should begin to send out free decks to anyone who submitted a quotation (whether it made it into the deck or not).

Of course, the remaining decks will go on sale with the profits going to fund the three intelligence oriented student clubs we have at Mercyhurst.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Is This The End Of Textbooks? (

The recent launch of Mercyhurst's The Analyst's Cookbook, Vol 2 as a Kindle only edition ignited an interesting side discussion on the always informative IAFIE listserve regarding the relative value of paper vs. electronic materials for training and education.

Broadly, the arguments there break down along the lines of cost and convenience for electronic versions vs. durability and prestige (with a smattering of tradition thrown in) for paper.

The discussion is still ongoing for IAFIE members so I thought I would widen the audience a bit to include SAM's diverse readership. The infographic below, recently published in MakeUseOf, is designed to add some facts to the mix.

Textbooks of Tomorrow

By the way, our own decision was driven almost entirely by cost. Volume 1 of the Cookbook has been enormously popular (it is in its third printing and still available here) but it is expensive to produce, store and distribute. The Kindle version of Volume 2 allows us to drastically cut the price. This makes it an easier buy for most people and likely ensures a wider distribution.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Analyst's Cookbook, Volume 2, Now Available!

The Analyst's Cookbook, Volume 2, is out right now(!) and can be downloaded from to your Kindle or, if you don't have a Kindle, to one of the free Kindle readers for PC, iPhone, etc.

We went with a Kindle edition of the Cookbook this time around for all the reasons anyone goes to digital publishing -- it is less expensive for you to buy (only $4.99) and easier for us to manage than paper books.

For those of you familiar with the first Cookbook, thanks for your support ... and for waiting so long!  Your loyalty has made The Analyst's Cookbook the best selling book in MCIIS' inventory (it is now in its third printing!).

For those of you not familiar with the first volume of The Analyst's Cookbook (still available in hardcopy here), it is a series of short articles that outline the basics of a variety of different analytic techniques.  Each chapter was written by a different analyst and addresses one specific method or technique, provides a short description, a how-to, and a sense of the pros and cons of the method.  The second volume follows the same pattern.

What really makes the chapters interesting, though, is the experience each  individual analyst had when they tried to apply the method to a particular problem.  In the past, these method/problem match-ups make for some fascinating reading (like when one analyst applied the business methodology of benchmarking to European terrorist groups).  The current collection is no exception in this regard.

The real exception in this volume is that, in the past, the Cookbook was a venue to show off graduate student writing, this volume shows off graduate student editing as well.  It was put together almost entirely by the editor for the MCIIS Press, Nicole Pillar.

Finally, while we had many good suggestions for improving the format of the Cookbook over the years since Volume 1 was published, in the end, we decided to stick with the less formal, "cookbook", approach of Volume 1.  The goal for us is to capture the experience of using a particular analytic method on a real problem, to give the reader a sense of how these methods work.  The purpose is not to provide a definitive evaluation of one approach vs. another.  It is a starting place for thinking about analytic methods, not the end point.

I hope you enjoy the new Cookbook!

To purchase The Analyst's Cookbook, Volume 2:  Go here!
To download free Kindle Reader software:  Go here!

Monday, September 12, 2011

"You Are Not So Smart" -- The Book I Am Most Looking Forward To This Fall

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the brilliant "You Are Not So Smart" blog, check out this brilliant example.

Go ahead.  I'll wait.

OK, so hopefully you came back and did not get tied down (the way I do) following one insightful exploration of our own biases after another.

This stuff is particularly (read: incredibly) useful for intelligence analysts to understand and the only thing that could make the blog any better would be if the author, David McRaney, put it all into a book -- which he just did and it will be out next month.

Below is the official movie trailer for the book (his words, not mine) that explores the causes and preventative strategies surrounding procrastination:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lessons Learned: Managing Intelligence Projects And Producing Intelligence Products With Wikis (The Good, The Bad, The Reality)

Since late 2006 we here at Mercyhurst have been using wikis to manage intelligence projects and produce intelligence products.  To date, we have done well over 100 wiki-based projects for real world customers in the national security, law enforcement, business and NGO sectors.

Note I am not talking about using wikis to produce wikipedia/intellipedia-like  descriptive articles.  I am using wikis in groups as small as 4-5 and as large as 50 to produce an intelligence estimate similar in scope and format to a National Intelligence Estimate.  You can see an early example of our work here and some later examples here and here.

Not only have we worked for many different clients, we have used a variety of different wiki platforms such as MediaWiki (the platform that supports both Wikipedia and Intellipedia), Wikispaces and Google Sites.

As a result, we have learned a few things about both wikis and collaboration.

One of my goals during my sabbatical (I am on sabbatical now) is to finalize a "How-to" book on managing intelligence projects with wikis I co-authored a few years (!) ago with one of the best teams of students I have ever had the pleasure of working with.

Given my track record of getting stuff done (sigh...), I decided to post some of the more interesting findings in advance of getting the book completed.

Finally, just to make my own position clear:  I am overwhelmingly in favor of using wiki software to manage and produce intelligence products.  However, as the title to this post indicates, there is going to be both good and bad here.  Both our experience and our more formal studies indicate pretty clearly that the "good" is significant.  That said, it would be wrong to claim that using wikis to produce intelligence is a perfect solution and that there is no corresponding "bad" that needs to be identified, managed and minimized.

Without further ado, then, here is a slightly abridged list of the good, the bad and the reality (I will let you figure out which is which...) of using wikis to manage and produce intelligence products:

1.  Wikis don't make me faster, they make us faster...

One of the most frustrating things for many novice users is that a wiki can actually be slower for the individual, in many cases, than doing comparable work more traditionally.  Even when comfortable with the wiki software and the new workflow it often requires, many wiki users believe -- and quite rightly -- that they could go faster if they were just allowed to do it "my way".   
The significant increases in productivity do not come in most wiki work by making the individual faster.  Instead, the key to a wiki's success lies in eliminating many of the transaction costs of doing collaborative work.  
Wikis make an intelligence team faster by streamlining communication, storing data in one easily accessible location, and allowing a team to work together in a near real-time environment. The seconds required to open, edit, save and send a file, are all removed from this process, adding up over the course of the project and saving the team valuable time and ending confusion. Team members can operate on multiple tasks simultaneously and once a task is done -- once a paragraph is written or a file uploaded -- it can be easily referenced and copied by others; it never has to be done again. 

2. You can't break a wiki...

... or, at least, most wiki software makes it really hard to do so.  Unlike an installed computer program, where you can corrupt a file or create the need to enact a complicated series of actions to fix a mistake, a wiki has built-in safeguards to protect against loss of information.
For example, a blank page can serve as a "sandbox" where those new to the technology can practice uploading pictures or try their hand at formatting text.
Poor edits or erased information are also easily undone or recreated by the "revert" function common to most wiki platforms. Wikis typically save a history of changes made to it, so when a first time user attempts to correct a spelling error and finds that they erased an entire paragraph, all is not lost. Reverts allow users to restore the wiki to its last saved version.
Most importantly, however, wikis encourage "play". This means that users, once they overcome the technological learning curve, are empowered to try new things. This type of empowerment is what leads to new and innovative uses of the technology that can enhance the intelligence process.

3. Wikis reflect the reality of the intelligence process

As I have been discussing in my "Let's Kill The Intelligence Cycle" posts, the modern intelligence process requires analysts to perform many tasks in parallel rather than completing individual tasks in sequence. Wikis accommodate this more accurate depiction of the intelligence process. 
One action performed in a wiki simultaneously accomplishes several other goals. The decision to create and the act of creating a page, for example, is also a decision and act of modeling, collecting, analysis and shaping the final product. Wikis complement the real intelligence process almost perfectly. 
4.  Wikis remove the "box"

The new realities of intelligence require that analysts think "outside the box" with regards to threats and opportunities. This means breaking out of mental traps such as "mindset" and "groupthink", and to challenge one's biases.
Wikis help in that they provide a number of ways for many different contributors to participate.  From the full time team member to the casual reviewer, there are many simple ways for new information, differing opinions and alternative analysis to work their way into the wiki format.
Wiki discussion pages, for example, encourage analysts to question both method and process. The instant updates to information can inspire an analyst to reconsider a thought or follow a new lead without confrontations or lengthy meetings.
Many wikis feature wikimail or wikichat features so that contributors can have both private discussions and real-time interaction.  Most wiki platforms also have notification services that allow users to watch key pages or even the entire wiki for substantive changes.  Likewise, many modern wki platforms have a number of "membership" options allowing some people to contribute but not administer the wiki, some people to administer and contribute to the project and others to merely access the final product. 
All these options (and others) serve to enlarge and deepen the intellectual space in which the intelligence unit can work, without giving up control of the core aspects of the process or product.

5. Wikis make managers more efficient

Wikis give managers an unprecedented window into the intelligence process.  They can track progress, deal with problems, and assess results from the receipt of the requirement to the delivery of the final product.  This allows managers to provide more timely feedback or even redirect the project as needed.
A manager can be involved as little or as much as required without having to call a physical meeting, pick up a phone or write an email. Discussion pages, chat functions, and access to direct editing of the wiki allow managers to help analysts refine and shape the product as it progresses and maintain contact with the analytic team without taking up time better spent elsewhere.
At the end of the project, the wiki serves as an incredibly complete audit trail for evaluating the results of the analysis and for implementing changes with regard to future projects.

6. Wikis answer the intelligence requirement better

An intelligence product on a wiki that is well-structured, well-designed, optimizes hyper-linking and takes maximum advantage of relevant multimedia achieves a level of transparency and depth that traditional intelligence products simply can not provide.
A decisionmaker can immediately click a link to discern where information came from, check the history of a page, or read over discussion pages to see how a train of thought evolved throughout the project.
A wiki provides more readily available information than the standard printed final product. Moreover, the wiki can even be formatted to produce a printed product to accommodate the preferences of the decisionmaker.
7.  Wikis have a learning curve

With wikis, there is not only a technological learning curve but a social dynamic learning curve as well.  The collaborative environment that wikis create can be an unsettling experience for some people. 
Analysts used to a certain working environment or working alone at a desk with the occasional meeting must now learn to work with other analysts in an online environment in which every sentence that is posted is immediately available for all to see and comment upon. A shift in thinking and work habits is required to absorb, what is for some, a radical change in how they perform their duties.
As far as the technological curve, since most wikis work similarly to a word processing application, many may adapt to the technology with relative ease.  Still, it is one more application for intelligence professionals to learn. 
Likewise, the internet or intranet nature of wikis makes it virtually certain that they are not as sophisticated as standalone word processing or presentation software packages.  The frustration that accompanies the sense that "I can't do what I want to with this damn thing" is real and often underlies the dissatisfaction intelligence professionals sometimes have when using wikis.
The solution for both issues is immersion and most successful wiki-based intelligence projects insist that users put everything on the wiki from the very start of the project.  Wikis need a critical mass of information on them in order for their utility to become obvious to a team new to working with a wiki. 
Casual or hybrid approaches to using the wiki may work but often do so in spite of the team's use of a wiki rather than because of it.  The wiki learning curve is steepest at the beginning of the project and the sooner and more aggressively the team begins to climb it, the better.  Managers that insist their teams climb this curve are likely to be unpopular at first but the benefits of the hard line approach will typically become evident to all well before the mid-point of the project.

8.  Not all wikis are created equal

All wikis allow a user to easily create and edit a page.  However, some software packages are easier on the user than others and this adds to the difficulties inherent in the learning curve.
More importantly, a truly great final product on a wiki doesn't just happen. Words are not magically fed into an online machine that automatically creates a relevant and substantial report.
A good and creative analytical team can craft a visually appealing, cohesive and insightful final intelligence product using a wiki -- but it takes work.  Even good software can't fix poor analysis, sloppy editing and unappealing formatting.

9.  More interaction ≠ peaceful collaboration

Enhanced interaction amongst analysts does not always mean that emotions and good manners will be kept in check. Written communication is easily misconstrued and, unfortunately, some people will find it easier to write scathing criticisms than speak it aloud.
Some wikis have developed their own sense of culture and social norms. Wikipedia, for example, maintains a strict code of civility which contributors and editors are expected to follow.  Just because some wikis have such rules and social norms does not mean that your wiki will have such rules or social norms, though. 
Nor might they emerge from the routine interactions of the participants in the wiki.  Establishing rules of the online workspace and good management can overcome poor social dynamics that threaten the success of the wiki.

10.  Wikis permit micro-managing

The transparency and usability of wikis allow managers to follow a project from start to finish. This can make managing one or more teams infinitely more efficient, but some managers take it as an opportunity to micro-manage.
Managers who comment on every post and every analytical statement, or continuously edit work are considered disruptive editors. This kind of behavior hinders analysts' progress and discourages them from using the wiki.
It can be difficult to know how much managerial involvement is too much, but an invasive manager or a "do-it-all" can prevent analytic wikis from evolving past a place to store information or the personal insights of the manager.
 11.  Wikis lack a substantive look and feel

Instead of dropping a thick report on a decisionmaker's desk (accompanied, of course by an "Executive Summary", a final product based on a wiki is merely a link to what looks like a single web page. The decisionmaker is deprived of the tactile feeling of depth of thought that a printed report can inspire.
In the book, we discuss more fully some of the details regarding the preparation of a wiki for delivery as a final product to a decisionmaker. No matter how it is structured, however, it is very difficult to convey the depth of a wiki-based product.  While this effect may become less acute with the passing of the generations, for many readers it will continue to look like a single page.
12.  There are times when you shouldn't use a wiki
  • Reconsider using a wiki when the technology will not be available to all members of the analytical team. Two or more people who do not have consistent access to the wiki on a small team during the course of the project can hinder work flow and positive group dynamics.
  • Reconsider using a wiki if anyone on the team is in a position such that they can refuse to adopt the technology. While wikis are easy to learn and employ, some people may not be sold on their benefits and people operating outside of the group workspace will make it much harder to create a successful wiki-based intelligence product.
  • In the case of simply needing to create a database or other highly specialized product, consider that the project may be better served with specialized software.
There's lots more, of course, and I hope to be able to get to it in the next few months.

(Many thanks, again Kathleen, Kevin, Stephanie, Joe Ellen, Ethan, Emily and Emily!  I promise -- I am working on it!)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mercyhurst Students, Faculty, Alums, Friends: IAI? Or IIS? Help Us Decide!

It is shaping up to be a heckuva year for intelligence studies at Mercyhurst.  This fall we are welcoming our largest freshman class ever (we now have over 400 students in the program!), next summer we will be celebrating our 20th anniversary and 12 months from September 1, we should be moving into a new building.

One other major development that could also occur impacts more than just our little slice of heaven, though -- Mercyhurst College could become Mercyhurst University (though the timeline for this is much more variable, obviously).

With all this happening, it occurred to several of the faculty that we ought to re-examine our name.  It started with the genuine naming problem presented by having an "MU" to deal with but expanded into a fairly deep (for us, that is) discussion of who and what we are.

With that in mind, I decided to see what our students, faculty, alumni and friends might think of our two current top choices.  Using the wonderful Swayable tool, I put it to you:  Which do you prefer, the more traditional "The Institute for Intelligence Studies at Mercyhurst University"? Or the alternative, "The Institute for Applied Intelligence at Mercyhurst University"?  Cast your vote below!

If you don't like either one, leave a comment below!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Top 6 Skills For Entry-level Intelligence Analysts

Top 6 Skills For Entry Level Intelligence Analysts
My colleague, Dave Grabelski, has spear-headed what turned out to be a multi-year research project to identify appropriate skills for entry level analysts across all three intel communities -- national security, law enforcement and business -- and match them against what we were teaching.

As an intelligence studies program that focuses on application as well as theory, a robust understanding of the needs of the communities we support made sense.  In the end, it was a lot more work than Dave thought it would be, but, with the help of a number of dedicated students, we have one of the most comprehensive and useful strategic planning documents I have seen.

One of the really interesting tidbits to come out of this effort was the chart embedded at the top of the page.  Dave asked some students to scour the job offerings at a variety of institutions across the three communities.  He then tasked them to categorize the skills identified in the job postings.  Finally, he asked them to rank the skills based on frequency.

His researchers looked at multiple entry-level job offerings in 22 different agencies, companies and organizations.  In all, they identified nearly 30 key KSAs - Knowledge, Skills or Abilities -- for entry level analysts.  Many of them were only represented in a few postings, however.  The six on the list above were broadly represented:
  • Analytic Methodologies:  These included those methods and processes specific to the intelligence community examined.  Whether it was SWOT in the business community or ACH in the national security community or crime mapping in the law enforcement community, it is clear that knowledge of specific intelligence methodologies is important.
  • Written Communication:  Obvious and essential.  Includes both formal communications (such as finished intelligence reports) and informal communications (such as email).
  • Research Methods:  This is the general name given to a variety of skills that revolved around finding, retrieving, collating, processing and conducting first-level analysis of information. 
  • Teamwork: Again, obvious and essential.  The focus was on both small teams of analysts working on a problem and on lone analysts providing close support to operational teams.
  • Oral Communication:  Briefing skill is a must here but so is the ability to communicate effectively and professionally in less formal settings. 
  • Databases:  This represented the ability to work with structured databases.  While these are often different in content, the underlying structure is often similar.  Students clearly need to have a working familiarity with databases and how to get the most out of them.
One of the questions I always ask myself on studies like these goes something like, "83%?  Don't the other 17% need people who can write, too?"  I think it goes without saying that virtually every organization needs people who can communicate effectively; some just choose to mention it.

In fact, if you look at it through a slightly different lens, it is kind of disappointing that 83% of the organizations looking for entry level intel analysts felt compelled to say that they were looking for people with good written communications skills...

The lesson learned for students hoping to enter the field of intelligence analysis is that these are the skills your potential future employers are looking for.  Ignore them at your peril.

Related Post:  How To Get A Job In Intelligence

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Mindset List -- Recalibrating Your Mind For The Class Of 2015 (

Every year the good professors at Beloit College publish a mindset list.  The purpose is to help old fogeys like me (and maybe you -- if you have kids, check with them) understand why their hip references to Two Live Crew and "Bueller? Bueller?" fall flat with incoming freshmen...uh, sorry, fresh-people.

This year's list is no different and a few of them really jumped out at me:
  • Andre the Giant, River Phoenix, Frank Zappa, Arthur Ashe and the Commodore 64 have always been dead.
  • There have nearly always been at least two women on the Supreme Court, and women have always commanded U.S. Navy ships.
  • As they’ve grown up on websites and cell phones, adult experts have constantly fretted about their alleged deficits of empathy and concentration.
  • Amazon has never been just a river in South America.
  • Grown-ups have always been arguing about health care policy.
  • Russian courts have always had juries.
  • They’ve always wanted to be like Shaq or Kobe: Michael Who?
The full list is available on the Beloit website.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Purity First: The Anti-Human Augmentation Movement Of 2027 (

While the video below is a promo for a new video game called Deus Ex, this post is not about the game. 

The game is a "typical" (though the initial reviews indicate it is actually pretty good...) action RPG video game.  As with many games these days, there is an effort to create a promotional "buzz" in advance of launch.  One marketing tactic often used is to create faux reports of disasters or crises that haven't happened (in the great tradition of War of the Worlds, The Day After and Cloverfield).  It is particularly effective for these near-future kinds of story.  This is such an effort  (for another, see the trailer to The Curfew).

What caught my eye, though, was the subject of this "revolutionary propaganda film" -- human augmentation.  Take a look (Note:  This video is fairly graphic and not for the young or squeamish)...

In my post last week I noted how "human augmentation" -- the process of using technology to make humans better, smarter, faster (as we used to say back when this stuff only cost 6 million or so...) -- had made it onto the early part of the Gartner Hype Cycle.

Most of us would think, I guess, that human augmentation is generally a good thing.  Who wouldn't want an amputee to be able to hold his child's hand or someone who was without legs to be able to walk?

The idea that these kinds of prosthetics and implants are getting so "good" that they might offer people actual (unfair?) advantages rather than merely make up for a perceived deficiency is relatively new.

Two people who have dealt with the consequences of this are Oscar Pistorius and Aimee Mullins, both runners who have lost their legs. Pistorius is a South African who has had to fight to be able to compete for a slot on the South African Olympics team.  Mullins ran college track with the use of specially designed prosthetic legs back in the 90's.

Mullins is particularly interesting as she has gone on to a career as a fashion model and motivational speaker.  She actually makes the case in the speech below that her artificial limbs give her an advantage.

It is hard to imagine that the dystopian view of human augmentation depicted in Deus Ex will ever come to pass but both these videos are worth watching for the counterpoints they represent (and the kinds of decisions we might be faced with in the future).

Friday, August 12, 2011

New Gartner Hype Cycle Out; Some Interesting Changes From Last Year (

Gartner provides, for my money, the most comprehensive and systematic coverage of technology trends among the commercial research providers.  One of their best free products is the annual Gartner Hype Cycle.

The Hype Cycle is a useful way of thinking about how typical technologies evolve and mature.  The 2011 version is displayed below (with a more complete report and video here):

I covered the Hype Cycle last year on SAM and comparing 2010's cycle with this year's is an interesting exercise.  In the first place, there are a number of technologies that are not on both cycles.  Gartner covers 1900 technologies so it is clearly impossible to put them all on a single Hype Cycle graphic.

Secondly, most of the technologies have not moved very much in the last year.  This makes some sense given that many of the technologies aren't expected to mature for "5 to 10 years" or "more than 10 years".

A couple of notable exceptions include augmented reality and the media tablet which have both crested the first big wave of expectations.  If Gartner is right, we should start seeing an increasing number of reports about the limitations of media tablets and the problems with augmented reality over the next 12 months.

I also always pay attention to what is coming in at the beginning of the Hype Cycle and what is about to leave the Hype Cycle.  There are some interesting new additions this year:  3D Bioprinting and quantum computing.  Location aware applications, speech recognition and (surprisingly) predictive analytics are all set to leave the stage -- they have become mainstream in Gartner's eyes.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

How Students Use Technology ( and

As we approach the new school year, this graphic will resonate with the educators out there (via Mashable and ).

Students Love Technology

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Last Decision We Have To Make... (Intel Analyst "Words To Live By")

The quotes have been collected, the surveys submitted, the results gathered and analyzed.

The Intelligence Analyst's Deck of Cards is almost finished. 

All we need now is a design for the back of the cards.

I hired a local design firm to come up with some ideas and through a wholly unscientific process have down-selected to the two you see in the Swayable below.

I am interested in your opinion!  Please vote and pass the site on to others who should vote on this crucial decision of national -- nay, international! -- importance.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

More Data Cake, Please! (

I would change "data" to "information" and "information" to "intelligence" but other than that, I like this cake!

(Hat tip to Nimalan Paul for the link)

data cake
Image by EpicGraphic

Friday, July 22, 2011

DC-based Counterintelligence Courses Now Open For Registration! (Shameless Self Promotion)

How would you like to take counterintel courses for graduate credit from some of the most experienced CI professionals in the world?  Now you can...

Mercyhurst College has been teaching counterintelligence courses in the DC area for a number of years.  Traditionally, we have done this in coordination with a government or private partner.  This year, however, we have decided to open these classes up to qualified students throughout the DC area.

These courses (there are three of them) make up our Graduate Certificate in Counterintelligence.  All of the classes are accredited, of course, and are taught one per quarter for three quarters.  If you want the certificate, you would need to take all three and take them in series.  If you are just interested in learning more about the CI field, then you could opt to take just the first course -- it is entirely your call. 

The first course in this series will be offered in early September and run for approximately 10 weeks.  The course is not offered online and will meet once a week in the evening at a location in the vicinity of Tyson's Corner.  There are no pre-requisites other than a bachelors degree from an accredited university.

The courses are taught by Brian Kelley, Bob Stephan and Ray Batvinis.  Kelley spent more than 20 years in the DO at CIA working both defensive and offensive CI ops; Stephan is the author of Stalin's Secret War and has over 20 years expereince with CIA, DIA and the USAF; Batvinis spent 25 years at the FBI working on CI issues at the highest levels.

Because of their experience and contacts, one of the unique aspects of these classes are the kinds of guest speakers they can draw.  For example, in the last class they were able to bring together Plato Cacheris and John Martin (the defense attorney and the federal prosecutor in the Robert Hanssen case) for a one-of-a-kind roundtable.

This brief note cannot do either this course or the guys teaching it justice.  If you want more information, please do not hesitate to contact the director of our online and distance learning programs, Linda Bremmer, at 814 824 2170 or lbremmer at mercyhurst dot edu. 

Registration is now open!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Intelligence Analyst "Words To Live By" -- #10, Voting Closes 19 JUL 11!

This is the tenth, and last, list of "Intelligence Analyst Words To Live By."  

The tenth list is below and links to the previous nine lists are below that.  I am off to the Global Intelligence Forum next week and will not be back until 18 JUL so I decided to keep the voting open until then.  Please pass these lists on to any analysts you know!

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Links to the previous nine lists:

List 1
List 2
List 3
List 4
List 5
List 6 
List 7
List 8
List 9

The current frontrunners from the ninth list include (with the percentage representing the percent of respondents who said move it up the list):

"The greatest derangement of mind is to believe in something because one wishes it to be so." -- Louis Pasteur (77%)
"I suppose that if we in intelligence were one day given three wishes, they would be to know everything, to be believed when we spoke, and in such a way to exercise an influence to the good in the matter of policy." -- Sherman Kent (53%)
"There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit." -- Ronald Reagan (64%)

All other entries are currently below 50%

Intelligence Analyst "Words To Live By" -- #9 (

This is the ninth of 10 surveys I intend to conduct to determine which are the "best" quotes, sayings and words of wisdom for intelligence analysts.

If you want more detail on why I am doing this, see the previous post.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Voting on the first eight lists is still open:

List 1
List 2
List 3
List 4
List 5
List 6 
List 7 
List 8

The current frontrunners from the seventh list -- I am one behind -- include (with the percentage representing the percent of respondents who said move it up the list):

"The intelligence analyst's function might be described as transcending the limits of incomplete information through the exercise of analytical judgment." -- Richards Heuer (58%)
"What experts think matters far less than how they think." -- Philip Tetlock (77%)
"If you can imagine it, the enemy will do it." -- Numerous (70%)
 "The noblest service comes from nameless hands, and the best servant does his work unseen." -- Oliver Wendell Holmes (58%)
"Uncertainty, ambiguity, debate, and partial answers to tangled questions will remain an existential condition of the analytical process." -- Loch Johnson (56%)
 "Bad news does not improve with age." -- Anonymous (63%)
"The best defense for the analyst who feels pressure to reach a certain judgment, or the case officer pressured to “bend the rules,” is the ethical recognition that no one—analyst, interrogator, or policymaker—is well served by such corruption." -- William Nolte (67%)      

All other entries are currently below 50%.