Document: Intelligence analysis: what is it good for? The problem with probabilistic forecasting [ACSACS]

Dirk Maclean, Australian Center for the Study of the Armed Conflict and Society  (ACSACS), Occasional Paper Series No. 4, May 18, 2017

Abstract: There are a number of challenges associated with trying to measure the value of intelligence
analysis. One current solution that has gained popularity is to focus on predictive intelligence, and to
use statistical techniques to test predictions against the actual course of events. I will to demonstrate
that this approach is not only fundamentally flawed in terms of method it is also dangerous because
it gives priority to idle speculation about unknowable futures. I want to show that intelligence analysis
is best measured by its ability to give decision-makers the broadest set of options and that its
value resides in the outcomes of the actual choices that are made. My arguments and conclusions
are based on two case studies: the Battle of Kursk during 1943 and the 2012 Malian coup. This
approach will assist senior managers and strategic direction setters across intelligence agencies
whose output includes predictive intelligence. It will be especially helpful to officials grappling with
the problem of how to measure the quality and value of their intelligence analysis.

The complete paper can be downloaded from the website of the ACSACS.

Getagged mit: ,
Veröffentlicht unter Aktuelles