Structured Analytic Techniques

500-700 word essay

One full page, 1 inch margins, 12 point font, single space, with double space between paragraphs

Include a description of what — in general — are Structured Analytic Techniques and what is the argument for why they are used in the U.S. Intelligence Community.  What do you see as the value or strengths as well as the weaknesses or pitfalls of Structured Analytic Techniques?  If you believe there is a better way forward or have any recommendations, then include that in your essay.

Put yourself in the place of a senior official within the analysis component of a U.S. Intelligence Community agency, such as the CIA or DIA Directorate of Analysis.  You received the following request from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), which shares responsible for oversight of the U.S. Intelligence Community with the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, about the U.S. Intelligence Community’s use of Structured Analytic Techniques for intelligence analysis.  You will respond to this question from the SSCI in writing.


From:  Senator Burr, Chairman, and Senator Warner, Vice Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

The combination of the intelligence failure of the 9/11 terrorist attack (2001), the Intelligence Community’s mistaken assessments of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (2002), and the passage of the 2004 Intelligence Reform Act emphasized the need for the U.S. Intelligence Community to promote more rigorous analysis, lessen the risk of intelligence failures, and make analysts’ reasoning more transparent to consumers.  One of the ways the Intelligence Community addressed the need for improved intelligence analysis was a renewed emphasis on documenting, teaching, and using Structured Analytic Techniques across all the components of the U.S. Intelligence Community.  Do you believe that using Structured Analytic Techniques actually improves the quality of intelligence analysis?  Please give the Committee your evaluation of both the value and the weaknesses of using Structured Analytic Techniques in intelligence analysis.  The Committee requires a response by Saturday, May 6.  Given the short deadline, we accept that your response will be brief; one-to-pages.  We look forward to your response.  Thank you very much.