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Someone on the IAFIE list recently posted:US Intelligence Community Seal

A student asked me the other day to recommend a book that would give some idea of what it is like to be an analyst. Does anyone have a good suggestion

Lisa Krizan replied:

Here are a couple of readily-available publications that I authored or to which I contributed. …. www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/dia/intel_essentials_krizan.pdf www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/dia/bring_intel_about.pdf

Stephen Marrin reminded us of Johnston’s excellent ethnography (PDF here):

Chapter 8 of Rob Johnston’s Analytic Culture in the US Intelligence Community. It is titled “Organizational Culture: Anticipatory Socialization and Intelligence Analysis.” Also, try in combination with Chapter 2 (“Findings”).I assign both chapters as a way to familiarize students with the perspective of the working intelligence analyst (in this case, intelligence analyst at CIA). Johnston provides quotes from working analysts (that would be the “what it is like to work as an analyst” part) and then a bit of a conceptual contextualization…

No doubt folks in the dozen or so other agencies would point out some differences of culture, but it’s a really sound ethnography with a lot to say about analytic methods.  Like why they’re not used.

Mike Harbert offered:

Here is a good resource published by AFIO (Association of Former Intelligence Officers) – “Intelligence as a Career: Is it Right for You and Are You Right for It?” http://www.afio.com/publications/afio_careers_booklet2011.pdf

English: Staff Sgt. Stephanie DeLaCruz, an int...

Staff Sgt. Stephanie DeLaCruz, an intelligence analyst with U.S. Army North, coaches Staff Sgt. Christina Corbett, a fellow intelligence analyst, at the M-16 rifle qualification range at Camp Bullis Sept. 16.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember also that a lot of analysis takes place outside federal agencies.  There are law enforcement analysts, business analysts, and as the photo to the right reminds us, deployed military analysts.

DAGGRE focuses on strategic questions familiar to the CIA and related agencies, but the methods could be applied elsewhere.

You could also do worse than look at Kris Wheaton’s blog Sources and Methods. Here is a Search for ‘Analyst’ on his blog. See especially the articles about the intelligence job market. Kris and his students at Mercyhurst are part of the DAGGRE team.

Finally, another insight on the role of analysis in the larger Intelligence community might come from the following joke I heard from a government analyst.

Q: What do you feed an analyst?
A: Pizza. It’s easy to slip under the door.