The Intelligence-Policy Nexus
Synthesizing with Clients, Not Analyzing for Customers
Josh Kerbel and Anthony Olcott
What if the Intelligence Community were to reimagine itself as a service-provider geared to engaging in goal-focused conversation as a well-defined regular activity? What, in other words, would happen if the IC were to become a provider of knowledge services, rather than a producer of information?
What is the Proper Distance Between Analysts and Policymakers?
Histories of the early stages of the modern Intelligence Community (IC) concur that by the start of the Cold War, most senior policymakers wanted more information to support their strategies and so tinkered with ways to configure an IC supportive of those efforts. There is no suggestion, however, that they were ever concerned about analysts somehow getting too close to them, and so usurping their policymaking prerogatives. The fear that analysis might be tainted or compromised by proximity to the policy process seems to have come entirely from the analytical community, which struggled from the beginning to keep itself at arm’s length from policymakers.
Even though analytic units have begun in recent years to lean closer to policymakers by offering “opportunity analysis” and by sending analysts into National Security Council support jobs, the idea that a firewall between analysts and policymakers is needed remains an IC shibboleth.
Download PDF to read the entire article. [PDF 188.7KB*]
*Adobe® Reader® is needed to view Adobe PDF files. If you don't already have Adobe Reader installed, you may download the current version at www.adobe.com (opens in a new window). [external link disclaimer]
All statements of fact, opinion, or analysis expressed in this article are those of the author. Nothing in the article should be construed as asserting or implying US government endorsement of an article’s factual statements and interpretations.