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A Strategy Framework for the Intelligence Analyst

A Strategy Framework for the Intelligence Analyst

By Steven M. Stigall

I had the opportunity to spend the past three years on the faculty of the National War College (NWC), part of the National Defense University at Ft. McNair in downtown Washington, DC. While there I taught or attended the core courses at NWC and ran electives I created on intelligence, cyber strategy issues, and even WW I strategy. I should note here that “teachers” at NWC are called “Faculty Seminar Leaders” (FSLs). Their jobs are to leverage the combined insights and expertise of classes of a dozen senior military and civilian officers into thoughtful, informed discussions about national security topics. FSLs don’t lecture as much as they listen.

This experience greatly expanded my horizons beyond the Intelligence Community (and military) and demonstrated how analysts must understand the broader context in which senior policymakers work. As intelligence officers, we obviously must be keenly aware of the foreign issues we assess and the context of the intelligence we provide to policymakers. It also behooves us to know the strategic context of policymakers themselves—the cognitive and national security framework they consciously (or simply instinctively) use to make policy.

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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.


Posted: Oct 17, 2012 02:26 PM
Last Updated: Oct 17, 2012 02:26 PM