Structured Analytic Techniques for Intelligence Analysis

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9781608710188: Structured Analytic Techniques for Intelligence Analysis

This book takes the relatively new concept of structured analytic techniques, defines its place in a taxonomy of analytic methods, and moves it a giant leap forward. It describes 50 techniques that are divided into eight categories. There are techniques for:

  • Decomposition and Visualization
  • Idea Generation
  • Scenarios and Indicators
  • Hypothesis Generation and Testing
  • Cause and Effect
  • Challenge Analysis
  • Conflict Management
  • Decision Support

Each structured technique involves a step-by-step process that externalizes an individual analyst s thinking in a manner that makes it readily apparent to others, thereby enabling it to be shared, built on, and easily critiqued by others. This structured and transparent process combined with the intuitive input of subject matter experts is expected to reduce the risk of analytic error.

Our current high tech, global environment increasingly requires collaboration between analysts with different areas of expertise and analysts representing different organizational perspectives. Structured analytic techniques are the ideal process for guiding the interaction of analysts within a small team or group. Each step in a technique prompts relevant discussion within the team, and such discussion generates and evaluates substantially more divergent information and more new ideas than a team that does not use a structured process.

By defining the domain of structured analytic techniques, providing a manual for using and teaching these techniques, and outlining procedures for evaluating and validating these techniques, this book lays a common ground for continuing improvement of how analysis is done. These techniques are especially needed in the field of intelligence analysis where analysts typically deal with incomplete, ambiguous and sometimes deceptive information. However, these practical tools for analysis are also useful in a wide variety of professions including law enforcement, medicine, finance, and business.

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About the Author:

Richards J. Heuer Jr. is best known for his path breaking book, Psychology of Intelligence Analysis, which is used throughout the Intelligence Community. Retired from the CIA, Mr. Heuer has worked with the Intelligence Community in various roles for over five decades. He has won multiple awards for his research and writing, including the CIA Seal Medallion for development of the Analysis of Competing Hypotheses technique.

Randolph H. Pherson, President of Pherson Associates, LLC, has spearheaded teaching and developing analytic techniques and critical thinking skills in the Intelligence Community. He served for 28 years in the Intelligence Community, last serving as National Intelligence Officer for Latin America. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Intelligence Medal and the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal and author of the Handbook of Analytic Tools and Techniques.


Intelligence community (IC) stalwarts Richards Heuer and Randy Pherson have addressed a gaping lacuna in IC scholarship with their Structured Analytic Techniques for Intelligence Analysis. Finally, we have a work that discusses not only the hows but also the whys of analysis. Like Heuer's previous Psychology of Intelligence Analysis, the current volume is destined to become an instant classic; I intend to integrate it into my Intelligence and Security Studies curriculum at the earliest possible opportunity. --Carl Jensen, Director, Center for Intelligence and Security Studies, The University of Mississippi.

Policy advisers cling to the belief that they can simply think their way through difficult conflicts, despite experimental evidence that shows that they do no better than non-experts. Heuer and Pherson's Structured Analytic Techniques shows how evidence-based techniques can greatly improve experts' judgmental forecasting and decision making. This is the new Bible for decision makers facing conflicts. --J. Scott Armstrong, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Everyone says that intelligence organizations need to consider alternatives and challenge assumptions, but only with Structured Analytic Techniques do we have a detailed presentation of the ways to proceed. It should prove invaluable to practitioners and insightful to scholars. --Robert Jervis, Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Politics at Columbia University

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