The Arab Mind by Raphael Patai

The Arab Mind by Raphael Patai. Book Review by Lloyd F. Jordan

Raphael Patai's The Arab Mind, is a significant scholarly contribution to the field of national character research in general and, more specifically, to the understanding of Arab culture and national character. Further, the book implicitly suggests the relevance of national character research to intelligence analysis.

What, if any, utility does the field of national character research have for intelligence? It appears that the intelligence officer often implicitly incorporates into intelligence assessments certain national character considerations in an unsystematic and, perhaps, unconscious way. The question is whether or not the collection, organization, and systematic analysis of the types of data that are used in national character studies within a more structured analytical framework would make a significant contribution to a number of fields of intelligence activity.

Despite the relatively primitive level of methodological and conceptual rigor that obtain in the national character research field, it has utility now and considerable potential for intelligence analysis in the future. National character analyses can provide a useful, albeit broad, gauge against which the behavior of elites, governments, and electorates can be assessed in particular situations. Once a national character construct, such as that of the Arabs, has been developed, the next and most difficult task is to attempt to establish linkages between it and a propensity for action. An important intermediate step in this process for intelligence purposes is to focus upon the extent and ways in which elites or other subgroups of a given society vary from the modal personality or national character.

In summation, the work of Patai and others in the national character research field merits serious examination for the contribution it can make to intelligence analysis and possibly other areas of intelligence activity.

The Human Terrain System (HTS)

Many of the principal challenges we face in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom (OIF and OEF) stem from initial institutional disregard for the necessity to understand the people among whom our forces operate as well as the cultural characteristics and propensities of the enemies we now fight. To help address these shortcomings in cultural knowledge and capabilities, the Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO), a U.S. Army Training and Doctrine command (TRADOC) organization that supports the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, is overseeing the creation of the human terrain system (HTS).

This system is being specifically designed to address cultural awareness shortcomings at the operational and tactical levels by giving brigade commanders an organic capability to help understand and deal with "human terrain"-the social, ethnographic, cultural, economic, and political elements of the people among whom a force is operating. So that U.S. forces can operate more effectively in the human terrain in which insurgents live and function, HTS will provide deployed brigade commanders and their staffs direct social-science support in the form of ethnographic and social research, cultural information research, and social data analysis that can be employed as part of the military decisionmaking process.

Human Terrain System (U.S. Army website)

Anthropology and Counterinsurgency: The Strange Story of their Curious Relationship by Montgomery McFate

Networds: Terra Incognita and the Case for Ethnographic Intelligence by LTC Fred Renzi

Out of the Ordinary: Finding Hidden Threats by Analyzing Unusual Behavior

RAND monograph by John Hollywood, Diane Snyder, Kenneth McKay, John Boon

This monograph presents a unique approach to “connecting the dots” in intelligence—selecting and assembling disparate pieces of information to produce a general understanding of a threat. Modeled after key thought processes used by successful and proactive problem solvers to identify potential threats, the schema described in this document identifies out-of-the-ordinary, atypical behavior that is potentially related to terror activity; seeks to understand the behavior by putting it into context; generates and tests hypotheses about what the atypical behavior might mean; and prioritizes the results, focusing analysts’ attention on the most significant atypical findings. In addition to discussing the schema, this document describes a supporting conceptual architecture that dynamically tailors the analysis in response to discoveries about the observed behavior and presents specific techniques for identifying and analyzing out-of-the-ordinary information.

Deception Detection by Analysis of Competing Hypotheses

MITRE Sponsored Research by Frank Stech & Chris Elsaesser.

Abstract: We outline a business process to assist intelligence analysts detect deception. We describe how deceptions exploit cognitive limits and biases and review prior work on processes that can help people recognize organized deceptions. Our process is based on Heuer’s Analysis of Competing Hypotheses, which we automate by generating state-based plans and converting them to Bayesian belief networks. Our process uses a concept from Bayesian classification to identify distinguishing evidence that a deceiver must hide and a counter-deceiver must uncover. White paper

Fooled Again? Developing Counter-deception Decision Support

In-Q-Tel: A New Partnership Between the CIA and the Private Sector

In-Q-Tel identifies and partners with companies developing cutting-edge technologies to help deliver these solutions to the Central Intelligence Agency and the broader U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) to further their missions.

Launched by the CIA in 1999 as a private, independent, not-for-profit organization, IQT was created to bridge the gap between the technology needs of the Intelligence Community and new advances in commercial technology. With limited insight into fast-moving private sector innovation, the IC needed a way to find emerging companies, and, more importantly, to work with them. IQT, as a private company with deep ties to the commercial world, is able to attract and build relationships with technology entrepreneurs outside the reach of the IC. In fact, more than 75 percent of the companies that IQT works with had never done business with the government before partnering with IQT.

Case Study: In-Q-Tel by Josh Lerner, Felda Hardymon, Kevin Book, Ann Leamon February 12, 2004 Source—Harvard Business School

Accelerating the Acquisition and Implementation of New Technologies for Intelligence: The Report of the Independent Panel on the CIA In-Q-Tel Venture June 2001 Source—Business Executives for National Security