Intelligence Briefings & Reports

Learn the Five Step Process for Creating Intell/Sensitive Investigation Reports

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

Intelligence Officers

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Course Description

Good writing and briefing skills are essential pieces of analytical tradecraft. If an analyst’s writing and briefing skills are not well-developed enough to effectively communicate the results of his or her analysis to those who need it, that analyst’s work—no matter how important, timely, or skillfully produced—may be worthless.

When writing and briefing, intelligence professionals must satisfy the stylistic requirements of the intelligence and law enforcement communities. These stylistic requirements are driven by theunique needs of intelligence consumers. Because intelligence consumers needs products that address real problems, focus on future events, begin with analytical conclusions, and contain only necessary information, intelligence products must be constructed in a way that is distinctly different from similar products produced for other intellectual professions, such as academia and journalism. In the intelligence genre it’s imperative that the language used is as clear, concise, and to-the-point as possible, as carefully crafted language leaves nothing to interpretation and greatly reduces the likelihood that a decision maker will misinterpret the results of analysis and, as a result, make a decision that is contrary to state, local, or national interests.

In this 3-day training program, analysts will improve their writing and briefing styles and techniques so that communication of their analysis will be clearer, better organized, and more useful to an intelligence consumer. To do this, participants will learn to write and brief according to the standards and style of the intelligence and law enforcement communities using accurate, brief, and clear language; the Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF) format; executive summaries; peer editing; and intelligence community secrecy protocols. The training program includes many “hands-on” writing and briefing exercises that allow participants to apply the principles and methods being taught, with practical case scenarios to reinforce learning.

What you will learn

  • Accurate, Brief and Clear language: In the intelligence and law enforcement communities, unclear writing or briefing can lead to tragic misunderstandings and terrible consequences. Writing and briefing with accuracy, brevity, and clarity is essential to effective intelligence analysis.
  • Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF) format: It is often most effective to get right to the point, which is why BLUF—a format that summarizes each paragraph at its beginning—is the best way for intelligence analysts to communicate with busy intelligence consumers, who must be able to efficiently locate and comprehend the information they need.
  • Executive Summaries: Executive summaries are a short summation of an intelligence product’s most important points. These summaries, which are vital to busy intelligence consumers, are often challenging to construct.
  • Peer Editing: Everyone needs an editor because no one writes a perfect first draft. Additionally, learning to edit helps analysts improve their own work and is a professional obligation to their peers.
  • Intelligence Community (IC) Secrecy Protocols: All intelligence analysts must possess a basic knowledge of intelligence community secrecy protocols to properly mark the classified, sensitive, and unclassified information used in finished intelligence products and briefings.
  • Briefing Tips and Techniques: Even if an analyst’s briefing script meets all of the stylistic requirements discussed above, a poorly executed presentation or a flawed delivery can interfere with successful communication.
  • Strategic, Operational, and Tactical Audiences: Each type of audience has unique information and analysis requirements.
  • Lessons-learned, Traps to Avoid
  • Five Step process for Intell/Investigation report of findings. Each step capped with an actionable check list.

Upon completion of the workshop, participants will

  • Recognize the tight connection between thought and language, and understand why good intelligence analysis is impossible without sharp writing skills
  • Distinguish between intelligence writing and writing in other intellectual professions
  • Employ accurate, brief, and clear English prose
  • Demonstrate techniques for clear writing and constructive editing
  • Demonstrate techniques for presenting clear briefings, including the construction of clear, concise, and accurate PowerPoint presentations
  • Apply methods and procedures unique to writing and briefing in the intelligence and law enforcement communities
  • Evaluate and understand the various audiences for which intelligence professionals write and brief, and the special demands and requirements of each
  • Recognize basic classification guidelines.

Who should attend

  • Government, law enforcement agency and fusion center analysts who write sensitive reports or present briefings
  • Intelligence unit managers who want to develop or enhance their agency’s writing and presentation capabilities
  • Other intelligence practitioners and security specialists who need to enhance their abilities to effectively communicate intelligence/investigation findings in written reports and briefings.

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:
  • Planning and Implementation of Intelligence Reports and Briefings: how do I plan and manage this work?
  • Writing and Briefing with Accuracy, Brevity, and Clarity: why is this a necessary skill for intelligence analysts and how can I achieve it?
  • Writing and Briefing in the Bottom Line Up Front Format: how does this help intelligence consumers and how must I format my reports and briefings to achieve it?
  • Reports and Briefings for Strategic, Operational, and Tactical Audiences: how do I know which information my customers need?
  • Creating Titles, Executive Summaries, and Introductions: how do I create titles, executive summaries, and introductions that provide my customers with the information they’re looking for?
  • Building and Presenting PowerPoint Presentations: how do I build and present a PowerPoint presentation in a way that helps me communicate my analysis clearly?
  • IC Secrecy Protocols: how do I mark classified information that is included in my reports and briefings?