The intelligence community (IC) can’t agree on what intelligence is or isn’t, but they generally agree that analysis is a process that can be taught. Right now, it’s fashionable to emphasize the nearly endless number of trendy “though processes” that people have dreamed up. Apparently – or so the theory goes – the more one becomes aware of thought itself, and the more one thinks about thinking, the better one becomes at analysis. Personally, I think this is a dangerous policy, because – from my perspective – the emphasis seems to be on codifying thinking strategies as a means to supporting and adding legitimacy and credibility to analytic products. Given my admitted skepticism about some of these trendy thought processes, I can’t help but feel that analysts are being prepped to “dazzle with bullshit”, if you will. “How did you come by these estimates?” “Through a collaborative process of six-hat, mind-mapped systems analysis.” “Wow. Okay, good job!”
I know it’s a necessary evil we all have to live with, but I can’t help but feel that many of the skills being taught have more value for playing politics than they do for actual analysis.
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