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Intuitive & Structured Analysis

Updated on March 3, 2011

Think deeply...Comunicate clearly...

Think deeply...Comunicate clearly...

From my experience as a lifelong “jock”; the concept of the utilization of “raw talent” without the benefit of proper training, discipline, and of course structure, quite frankly is a recipe for disaster.

It is the equivalent of a lazy, and foolish coach who decides that because of the superior size and or athletic ability of his athletes he can simply toss the ball on the court and or field at practice and shout ok boys “have at it!”

While proceeding to “lead” his team without the benefit of proper physical conditioning and a structured system of well drilled on court/field plays and off the court/field structure to include rules regarding film study to improve performance, behavior, nutrition, injury prevention and recovery; the list of meticulously detailed structure involved in organized sports is exhausting, all designed at improving the quality of a game, which is a form of pass time and or entertainment.

Suffice it to say the above scenario is absolutely ludicrous and would never take place in the United States of America where sports “rule!” That being stated, how would it be deemed acceptable; that in the securing of our nation, a long time acceptance of “intuition dominated intelligence analysis” (1) be considered appropriate.

Moving forward in Mr.Marrin’s well written document; much was expounded upon regarding the “transparency of structured analytic techniques”.(2) In which some may argue is mandatory, and reduces the opportunity for policy makers to place blame on analyst if there is a scientific “paper trail” to follow via structured intelligence analytic methodology.

Some may find it ironic that former CIA analyst Mr. Randy Pherson found it necessary to put the intuition dominated method into the following “box” which includes “three phases in summation to read, think deeply, and conclude by writing a clear and concise one paragraph summary to present to high ranking consumers.”(3) That being stated many may perceive that when combining the aforementioned intuition based phases along with a proven structured analytic approach there would still be the need for an analyst to research material via reading, enter information into a scientific system to assist with the thinking and or decision making process, and subsequently present the findings to a high ranking consumer via a abbreviated detailed written document.

In closing, the overall tone of Mr.Marrin’s document spoke to the wisdom of Intuitive and Structured Analysis formulating a much needed marriage that would place intelligence analyst in a better position to succeed in their vital role in the securing of our nation.

(1) "Intelligence Analysis: Structured Methods or Intuition?" by Stephen Marrin
(2) ibid p.7
(3) ibid p.9


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