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“The Elephant in Our Pajamas”
SASA Spring 2005 Intelligence Symposium
Panel Presentation by
A. Denis Clift
Joint Military Intelligence College
May 18, 2005
In addressing the “Constructs Needed for Successful Intelligence Analysis: How Do We Get There?” recall that African explorer Groucho Marx. “One morning,” he said, “I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know.”
Operationally, the explorer had succeeded. Analysis had contributed nothing.
Successful intelligence analysis is a top priority both in the course work and the research at the Joint Military Intelligence College in this early 21st century. Research and writing by the College’s Research Intelligence Fellows such as Dr. John Bodnar’s Warning Analysis for the Information Age: Rethinking the Intelligence Process,” are emerging as new books from the College’s press. New analysis courses such as this coming summer’s ten-week Terrorism Immersion Seminar are part of the College’s curricula.
In this work, the College takes great cheer from the words just published by the President’s Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, the WMD Commission. “The Joint Military Intelligence College (and I quote) … currently operates a very successful program – a structured intermediate/advanced curriculum for Intelligence Community officers across the Community.”
In its report, the WMD Commission proposes the creation of a National Intelligence University . The Joint Military Intelligence College has the trust and privilege of serving, in fact, as the accredited, graduate- and undergraduate degree-granting institution of higher learning and the research center of excellence as such a university or university system emerges in coming months and years.
At the College’s main campus at Bolling Air Force Base, officers, non- commissioned officers, and civilian intelligence professionals from across the Services, the Intelligence Community, and the Law Enforcement Community are earning the Master of Science of Strategic Intelligence degree and the Bachelor of Science in Intelligence degree. When you look at where some of the graduates of the Master’s program are today – the new Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence General Mike Hayden, the new Director of Naval Intelligence Rear Admiral Bob Murrett, the INSCOM Commanding General Major General Jeff Kimmons, the CENTCOM J-2 Brigadier General John Custer, and the PACOM J-2 Rear Admiral Jack Dorsett – truly it is a proud and distinguished program.
The Director of National Intelligence’s National Intelligence Council is partnering with the College, sponsoring a post-baccalaureate Denial and Deception concentration of courses as part of the Master’s degree program. The degree is also offered at the College’s satellite campuses at the National Security Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. The NGA campus, through distributed learning, offers the degree to NGA professionals based in St. Louis , Missouri . Additionally, through the College’s articulation agreement with the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the NGA campus offers an advanced concentration of measurement and signature intelligence courses to those enrolled in the Master’s program.
Classified and unclassified research on intelligence and intelligence-related issues is being conducted by students and faculty, and by research fellows engaged in year-long, cutting edge research and publication. Indeed, the research and writing of a thesis is a core requirement for earning the Master’s degree. Theses, when approved, are posted on Intelink for access from across the community.
As a member of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, the College is extending intelligence education and research to the doctoral level through a newly established, cooperative PhD program with the University of Maryland , College Park . A cooperative doctoral program is also in development with George Mason University.
The courses and research at the College are evolving against the background of a growing recognition that analysis is the core skill and function of the Intelligence Community. Analysis, in the words of DIA’s Director Vice Admiral Jake Jacoby, is the supported discipline. The College is the intellectual center for the study and application of intelligence analysis, a center preparing men and women, active duty and civilian, to excel as analysts in their challenging onward assignments, a center leading in the development and implementation of a robust research and publication program on intelligence analysis and related programs.
Students in the Master’s program are able to select an analysis concentration with courses on strategic warning and analysis, estimative intelligence analysis, advanced military capabilities analysis, political/military analysis, the analysis of terrorism, and estimative intelligence analysis focusing on the People’s Republic of China , together with a thesis on some dimension of analysis.
This summer, recognizing the Global War on Terrorism’s voracious appetite for good analysts, the College will offer a post-baccalaureate terrorism immersion seminar – a seminar that proceeds from the belief that intelligence is a seamless web of analysis and all-source collection applied toward a substantive target – terrorism.
The seminar was announced two months ago. It is already fully subscribed, with the first class of analysts coming from Marine Corps intelligence, the Air Force, the Joint Warfare Analysis Center , the National Ground Intelligence Center , DIA, DIAL Ottawa , the Joint Intelligence Task Force Counterterrorism, NSA, ONI, the Army G-2, and the FBI. They will spend 50 days in this graduate-level seminar immersed with subject matter experts in the precepts of advanced intelligence analysis and cutting-edge critical thinking techniques.
The initial part of the course will introduce a comprehensive conceptual framework for the analysis, to include complexity, military capabilities and political-military dimensions, and the forecasting of terrorism. Concurrently, the students will consider the different disciplines and capabilities of all source collection, with emphasis on their role in gathering information on terrorism. In this initial phase, the students will also address the work of indications and warning as applied to terrorism.
Moving beyond this opening phase, the students will begin the substantive portion of the course, a case study of Hezbollah. The case study begins with a rigorous introduction to the Middle East and Lebanon in particular. The focus then shifts to Hezbollah. The objective of this phase of the case-study – Hezbollah today and its historical evolution – is to have the students understand the factors, the drivers that shape the organization today.
Using a refined set of drivers to guide their work, the students will apply analytical alternate futures methodology to develop four alternative futures for Hezbollah. To validate these futures, the students will develop a future history for each end state. Rounding out their analysis, the students will develop an all-source collection plan and I&W framework for each alternate future.
In the course of this seminar, the students will be divided into competitive analytical teams that will operate independently during the Hezbollah case study. Toward the conclusion of the seminar, each team will report its results. The final analytical step will be the comparison of each team’s results, seeking to identify how and why the teams may have differed and what this says about analysis.
If, as the faculty leading the seminar anticipate, the students’ research and findings warrant further distribution, they will be complied, published, and disseminated to the Intelligence Community. In future iterations of the seminar, the research topic would shift to other terrorist groups, with the goal of ultimately building a terrorism research library.
This evolving teaching at the Joint Military Intelligence College will be as rigorous as it is promising, with great value added to be expected not only for the students enrolled in the seminar, but also the onward work of the broader intelligence community.
This page was last updated January 25, 2013.