Intelligence Analysis I

Intelligence Community Best Practices for Federal, State, Local Intelligence/Sensitive
Investigation Team Analysts and Managers

This course is available for On-Site Training only. We will bring this course to your agency or company.
Contact Don Dickson, On-Site Training Manager at (301) 455-5633 or

Course Description

Intelligence analysts working in the national security and law enforcement fields are frequently required to make judgments about the future. Unfortunately, most new analysts are not prepared for this job, and find it difficult to comfortably perform, or simply misunderstand, what their supervisors and customers expect from them in their new role as intelligence analysts. This is because most new analysts have only been taught to conduct academic analysis, which is traditionally focused on the past, detailed, and provable, and is almost always created for experts with no responsibility to act.

Analysis created for intelligence consumers, however, should be focused on the future and written for generalists who must make decisions about real problems. Such analysis must begin with analytical conclusions (while academic analysis may not address conclusions) and thoroughly discuss the implications of those conclusions. Not only must new analysts make drastic changes to the way they approach analysis, they must also work to different standards using different data. Intelligence analysts must use information that is often incomplete and conflicting, and the tight deadlines of their consumers means that analysts can rarely wait for more or better information to become available. Intelligence analysis, unlike academic analysis, isn’t expected to be right; it is simply expected to provide intelligence consumers with the best possible answers given the constraints on time and quality of available information.

In this 3-day training program, analysts will learn to produce future-focused, conclusion-based intelligence analysis that will improve the outcomes of their customers’ decisions relating to state, local, or national interests, including law enforcement cases. Analysts will learn the intelligence cycle, including what intelligence is, what purpose it serves, and who needs it. Participants will also learn to organize and implement intelligence analysis projects, collect information from a variety of sources, satisfy the unique information and analysis need of their customers, think critically, and use basic analytic tools. The training program includes many “hands-on” exercises using intelligence analysis techniques that allow participants to apply the principles and methods being taught, with practical case scenarios to reinforce learning.

What you will learn

  • Intelligence: What it is, how it’s produced, and why it’s needed.
  • Project Planning: How to organize and implement an analysis project, including how to create a working collection plan, gather appropriate information from reliable sources, and decide which type of intelligence product best meets your customer’s needs.
  • Customer Satisfaction: How to recognize and address the unique information and analysis requirements of strategic, operational, and tactical customers.
  • Information Collection: How and where to get information from law enforcement, intelligence community, and private sources.
  • Critical Thinking: Why it is invaluable to good intelligence analysis and how to do it.
  • Denial and Deception: How to recognize and account for missing and intentionally misleading information.
  • Basic Analytic Tools: How and when to use basic analytic tools – including problem restatement, brainstorming, time lines, link charts, flow charts, matrices, and others – to deal with complex, missing, or misleading information.
  • Five Step Process for Conducting Intelligence Analysis: Each step includes a detailed and actionable checklist to help analysts and investigators implement these techniques on the job.
  • Lessons-learned, Traps to Avoid: Why analysts should never “plunge in” to an analysis project without carefully planning and evaluating their work according to the five step process taught in this course.

Upon completion of the workshop, participants will

  • Understand the role and importance of intelligence analysis in the national security and law enforcement communities
  • Recognize the distinctions between academic analysis and intelligence analysis, and apply that knowledge to conduct intelligence analysis rather than academic analysis
  • Recognize the intelligence cycle and understand its importance to analysts and customers
  • Evaluate and understand the various audiences for which intelligence is produced, and the special information and analysis requirements of each
  • Identify appropriate public and private sector sources of information for use in analysis products, implement a transparent and reproducible plan to collect that information, and identify missing and intentionally misleading information
  • Apply critical thinking skills to intelligence problems and Employ techniques – including problem restatement, brainstorming, time lines, link charts, flow charts, matrices, and others – to deal with complex, missing, or misleading information.

Who should attend

  • Government, law enforcement agency and fusion center analysts who conduct intelligence analysis or provide case support
  • Intelligence unit managers who want to develop or enhance their agency’s intelligence analysis capabilities
  • Other intelligence practitioners and security specialists who need to enhance their abilities to conduct reliable intelligence analysis.

Course agenda

Over a 3-day period workshop participants will explore the following topics via a combination of lecture, discussion, case studies and hands-on learning exercises:
  • Intelligence Cycle: how is intelligence produced, and what factors drive its production?
  • Planning and Implementation of Analysis Projects: how do I know when to use the techniques I learned in this course?
  • Customer Requirements: what type of information and analysis do my customers need, and which product type should I use to meet those needs?
  • Collection Plans: how can I make sure I’m collecting all of the most relevant information?
  • Information Requirements: which sources – in the intelligence community, law enforcement community, and elsewhere – can supply me with the information that I need to conduct my analysis?
  • Denial and Deception: how can I tell when the information I’ve collected is missing or intentionally misleading?
  • Critical Thinking: how can I improve my ability to conduct logical, well-reasoned analysis?
  • Basic Analytic Techniques: how can these help me conduct better, more accurate analysis?