The journey that produced this study owes much to many people. Some of them can be named, others cannot; but all of them have my deepest appreciation and deserve to be acknowledged for their support in this effort. And to my wife Lisa, who can be named—special thanks for putting up with me throughout.
I began to appreciate the depth of the Intelligence Community’s analytic problems during a series of research and analysis efforts for various of its components starting in the mid-1990s, and I would like to thank the sponsors of those many efforts even though they cannot be named. Frank Jenkins, General Manager of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) Strategies Group, deserves special praise for allowing Fritz Ermarth and me to follow our instincts and start to investigate these issues before the failures became so very public. Particular thanks are owed to Henry Abarbanel for a discussion of the contrasts between the practice of science and that of intelligence analysis, a conversation that prompted me to focus on the deep cultural and process factors that affect analytic efforts rather than on the superficial symptoms and manifestations of the failures.
I owe a debt to Mike May, Dean Wilkening, and Scott Sagan of Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) for inviting me to give a seminar on intelligence issues that forced me to organize and sharpen my concerns into the original briefing on “Analytic Pathologies,” and I am truly grateful to both Aris Pappas and Stan Feder for reviewing that lengthy presentation slide by slide. Paul Johnson, Director of the Center for the Study of Intelligence, has my appreciation for an invitation to CSI’s 2003 conference on “Intelligence for a New Era in American Foreign Policy”; as do the many intelligence professionals at that conference who helped by bringing their concerns into the open. I want to thank the members of the Marriott Group on the Revolution in Intelligence Affairs, as well as David Kay, Mike Swetnam, Gordon Oehler, and Dennis McBride of the Potomac Institute for providing forums for discussion and for helping me think through these issues with their insider perspectives. Thanks are also owed to several former senior intelligence officials who then pushed me to go beyond diagnosis and address the harder questions of fixing the problems.
I want to thank the Commissioners and my fellow staff members of the President’s Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction (the Silberman-Robb Commission) for the lengthy opportunity to delve into these issues, examine them in great depth, and analyze them within a truly professional search for understanding. I am also grateful to both the former and the current Program Managers, Lucy Nowell and Rita Bush, of Advanced Research and Development Activity’s (ARDA’s) Novel Intelligence from Massive Data (NIMD) Program, as well as my team partners on that effort—Stuart Card, Peter Pirolli, and Mark Stefik from the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and John Bodnar from SAIC—for discussions and research that led to significant insights on current practices of analysis. I must again thank Paul Johnson and CSI for providing the opportunity to publish this study and reach a far broader audience; without that spur, I would not have completed it. And to the CSI editors, Mike Schneider and Andres Vaart, my appreciation for their great help in getting me through this entire process and in substantially improving this monograph.
Beyond those I have already mentioned, I am also truly obligated to a large number of busy people who took the time and made the serious effort to read and review the earlier briefing and draft study, as well as to share their perspectives and thoughts. Their comments and suggestions were crucial to producing what I hope is a coherent structure and argument: Art Kleiner, Dan Cohen, Jeffrey Pfeffer, Charles Sabel, Dick Kerr, Stephen Marrin, Bill Nolte, Harry Rowen, Mike Mears, Bruce Berkowitz, Mike Warner, Deborah Barger, Joe Hayes, Bill Studeman, Russ Swenson, Ed Waltz, Frank Hughes, Carol Dumaine, David Moore, Rob Johnston, Mark Lowenthal, Kevin O’Connell, Carmen Medina, Jim Bruce, Joe Keogh, Greg Giles, Winsor Whiton, Bob Cronin, Gilman Louie, and John Seely Brown. In addition, many thanks are due Emily Levasseur, my former research assistant, for her invaluable contribution in helping me to conduct the research, find important sources and citations, review thousands of pages of source materials, organize and edit, and revise numerous drafts—all in good humor.
Finally, I give my sincerest apologies if I have forgotten anyone who contributed time and effort to this project. For any errors of omission or commission, I have only myself to hold responsible.