GETTING THE COGNITIVE PRIORITIES STRAIGHT
"A Holistic Vision for the Analytic Unit
" by Richard Kerr
, Thomas Wolfe
, Rebecca Donegan
, Aris Pappas
There's a lot to like here from my perspective. An excerpt with some highlighting by yours truly:"The Holistic Analytic Unit
The advent of a Director of National Intelligence and changes mandated by commission reports on the performance of the Intelligence Community present unique opportunities to apply a new framework for intelligence analysis. Herewith is a vision for an approach that creates analytic units with a holistic view of their mission, responsibility, and capability. They will comprise physical units at their core and virtual units with presence throughout their areas of responsibility.
Implementation should begin with a single country and then expand region-wide. Once decided upon, changes should be made quickly, and high-level attention and enhanced resources will be key. The individual steps of the process should be undertaken simultaneously rather than serially.
Identify six to 12 countries or areas of particular importance to the US. Pick one or two, perhaps Iran and North Korea, as test cases. Create analytic units for the test case countries with the following characteristics:
Internal expertise, mixed with strong abilities to identify and use knowledge not resident in the unit. Avoid the myth of “total resident knowledge”
Very senior leadership, with rich resources in personnel and funding, to include significant amounts of external contract money, with contracts developed and approved within the unit
Creativity the key
Responsibility for the “whole.” Units should:
Produce current intelligence and long-term estimates
Identify intelligence requirements
Establish collection priorities
Manage IC funding directed against the target
Non-traditional staffing. Units should include or have close relationships, including formal contracts and informal contacts, with:
Experts without security clearances, including non-US citizens
Private sector firms and Federally Funded Research and Development Corporations for administration and substance
Universities and other seats of knowledge
Self-contained assets for research assistance, contract management, conference organization, administration, and security
Embedded representatives from key organizations and customers
Strong external presence to ensure that the unit is regarded as a central player in the preparation of dynamic assessments and the application of existing knowledge
Assign personnel to other principal organizations in the area of responsibility, including Defense, State, pertinent Federal and NGOs, academic and private entities
Institute regular conference calls, videoconferences, visits, and other interactions with country teams, chiefs of station, national laboratories, military commands, State desk officers, and collection agencies
Preside over programs sponsoring in-country research, academic exchanges, student programs, conferences, and other efforts
New products and state-of-the-art dissemination systems should produce intelligence on a near-real-time basis keyed to customer interests and designed to provide reference material to support current issues
Intelligence estimates should be short, validated outside the IC, and focused not on single-point outcomes but on the implications of change
Strong, high-level review, accountability, and measurement of performance to ensure against backsliding "
Obviously constructed by those with extensive familiarity with bureaucratic resistance to positive change. My only significant concern is the accent on "real-time" adds momentum to an existing IC bias for warp speed "reporting" over "depth" - both in terms of predictive analysis as well as an emphasis on clandestine collection of hard to acquire information, something that requires investment, imagination, persistence and time. The wide dissemination aspect though was really great; an attempt to leverage the advantages of possessing critical information ( Art Cebrowski would have applauded) and get the IC out of the need-to-know-basis/ Cold War mindset.
Read the whole thing.