Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 addressed the belief that weak analytic tradecraft had been an underlying cause of intelligence failures in the U.S. by requiring the Director of National Intelligence to establish and enforce tradecraft standards throughout the U.S. intelligence community (IC). However, analytic tradecraft-the innate abilities and learned skills of intelligence analysts, combined with the tools and technology needed to conduct analysis-is an understudied and poorly understood concept and a decade later, the frequency of intelligence failures has not improved. Using actor-network theory (ANT) as the foundation, the purpose of this qualitative narrative study was to gain greater clarity regarding the process of intelligence analysis and corresponding tradecraft. Data were collected through 7 semi-structured interviews from a purposely selected sample of U.S intelligence analysts to determine how they understood and navigated the analytic process. These data were inductively coded, and following the tenets of the ANT, the process and actors involved in transforming customer requirements and intelligence information into analytic products and refined collection requirements were identified and mapped. The central finding of this study is that current tradecraft standards address neither the full range of activities taking place nor the complete roster of actors involved in the analytic process. With this knowledge, the U.S. IC may be better positioned to identify specific training and equipment shortfalls, develop tailored reform efforts, and improve intelligence operations, resulting in potential positive social change.