What is Intelligence Analysis?

What is Intelligence Analysis?

If we interpret the meaning of the words ‘Analysis’ and ‘Intelligence’ separately in a security related context, we can see that basically the term ‘Intelligence’ encompasses analysis as part of a multifaceted process of collecting reliable facts for a specific purpose, often involving a secret service. The analysis is the thinking part of the intelligence process, or, as the former career analyst and senior official Douglas MacEachin has phrased it in the reference article “intelligence is the profession of cognition’. The analysis is the decisive part that the intelligence process produces to achieve the ‘decision advantage’ for policymakers. The intelligence process starts with identifying what customers need (requirements) and ends with delivering the intelligence (dissemination) to satisfy those needs. And the analysis process is to transform the information provided by various systems into judgments, predictions, and insights to achieve customer needs.

The process of ‘Judgment’ is the action of concluding something based on incomplete or uncertain information, with a certain level of probability of being right or wrong. The process that generates judgment is analysis.

‘Forecasts’ is the judgment of the future, not necessarily predictions, but knowing in advance what will happen before it actually happens, which doesn’t allow much influence after the fact has occurred. The intention is to understand what is happening, forecast multiple scenarios, produce indicators of possible results, and then act preventively in order to reduce threats and increase security.

And ‘Insight’ is when an analysis offers a fresh new perspective, a new path that hadn’t been thought of before, even if it doesn’t involve a new fact, but offers a new context. Insight offers the chance to change the decision or action and often does not necessarily involve intelligence analysis, but an experience.

Defining and developing the profession of ‘Intelligence Analyst’ is not an easy task. It mainly requires the direct involvement of academic professionals in the field of operations, in different branches, in order to create a comparable body of knowledge. There is currently a large body of content-generating intelligence, but advancing analysis critically still seems to be in short supply. Many writers focus on criticizing past operations, and intelligence failures, while direct intelligence officers and political authorities seek to act as ‘straightforward’ as is seen.

The mission of Intelligence Analysts is to apply information gained through substantial in-depth knowledge to produce assessments that provide added value to decision-makers in order to protect and advance security interests. Regardless of whether the information obtained is good, bad, or intermediate, the analyst will transform it into value-added information that is relevant and useful for the decision-maker to obtain advantages that would not be available otherwise.



Bruce, J. B., & George, R. Z. (2014). Retrieved from Intelligence Analysis – What Is It-and What Does It Take?: https://books.google.at/books?id=F7wYAwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

Author: Francine Martin