What is Intelligence Analysis?


 


 

The intelligence analysis process is defined as the logical, systematic approach to understanding intelligence data and reporting intelligence information. Intelligence analysts develop and communicate information and assessments about the capabilities, vulnerabilities, and probable courses of action (COAs) of hostile intelligence targets. The intelligence analysis process can also be described as a set of steps that intelligence analysts follow to transform information into intelligence.


 


 

Step 1: Assemble Information-- The first step in the intelligence analysis is to assemble intelligence that is relevant to the analysis problem. This intelligence may include finished intelligence, such as a foreign government's military forces on a national intelligence estimate; or information on a very narrow topic, such as the status of an adversary country's air defense systems.



Step 2: Define the Intelligence Problem-- The intelligence analyst must define and clearly state the intelligence problem before beginning analysis. It is important to review the intelligence requirements and tasks issued from higher headquarters, as well as those developed by a particular intelligence organization or unit. These requirements and tasks may help analysts focus on the intelligence problems that require the most immediate attention.


Step 3: Analyze Information-- The process of intelligence analysis involves five basic steps for progressively developing intelligence products. The intelligence analyst must resist the temptation to skip any of these steps in order to save time. When intelligence analysts are rushed--as is often the case--they do not have time to conduct all of the necessary research and still complete their work on time without shortcuts.


Step 4: Disseminate Intelligence Products-- Intelligence analysts must disseminate intelligence products in a timely, relevant, and useful manner. This step is often overlooked by intelligence organizations that want intelligence analysts to spend more time producing intelligence for longer-term use rather than temporarily finished intelligence.


Step 5: Evaluate New Information-- Intelligence analysts must keep abreast of new information and evaluate it as part of the intelligence analysis process. Intelligence analysts should update their intelligence products and estimate intelligence targets as soon as new information becomes available.


 


 

As stated earlier, the intelligence analysis process is the logical, systematic approach to understanding intelligence data and reporting intelligence information. Intelligence analysts develop and communicate information and assessments about the capabilities, vulnerabilities, and probable courses of action (COAs) of hostile intelligence targets. What does Intelligence analysis mean to you? Does it sound like a complicated concept that you don't have time for in your day-to-day life? Let us know what you think?


 

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