The Logic of Intelligence Analysis: Why Hypothesis Testing Matters, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Logic of Intelligence Analysis

Why Hypothesis Testing Matters, 1st Edition

By Karl Spielmann


120 pages

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Hardback: 9781138601963
pub: 2018-06-13
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429469817
pub: 2018-06-12
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This book discusses the application of hypothesis testing to the practice of intelligence analysis.

By drawing on longstanding procedures of scientific method, particularly hypothesis testing, this book strongly critiques standard intelligence analytic practices. It shows these practices to be inadequate, as they are illogical in terms of what formal philosophy says any intelligence analysts can realistically be expected to know, and for the future when analysts will face pressures to adapt to digital age modeling techniques. The methodology focuses on identifying and remedying analytic errors caused by analyst cognitive biases and by foreign denial and deception. To demonstrate that it is a practical tool, it walks analysts through a case study, step by step, to show how its hypothesis testing can be implemented. It also invites a comparative test in the real world with any other intelligence methodologies to assess its strengths and weaknesses in predicting the outcome of an actual "live" intelligence issue.

This book will be of much interest to students of intelligence studies, public policy and national security, as well as practitioners.


'Intelligence analysts, those training for the job, and people interested in analytic tradecraft need to understand the intellectual challenges and pitfalls of predicting what adversaries will do. Even more, they need better tools. These are provided by Karl Spielmann, who brings to bear his life-long experience in the CIA and National Intelligence Council to show how we can improve analysis'. - - Robert Jervis, Columbia University, USA

Table of Contents

Preface: Revisiting an Old Problem: New Concerns, New Remedies

Chapter 1: Maybe It’s Time for Something Different

Chapter 2: Strengthening Intelligence Threat Analysis

Chapter 3: Using Enhanced Analytic Techniques for Threat Analysis: A Case Study Illustration

Chapter 4: I Got Algorithm: Can There Be a Nate Silver in Intelligence?

About the Author

Karl Spielmann is a retired Senior Analyst who worked in the Denial and Deception component of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Directorate of Intelligence and on the U.S. inter-agency National Intelligence Council. He holds a PhD in Political Science from Harvard University.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Military / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / International Security
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Law Enforcement
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Intelligence
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / General