The Sensemaking Process and Leverage Points for Analyst Technology by Peter Pirolli and Stuart Card

Abstract: There are a relatively few open literature reports that provide empirical descriptive studies of intelligence analysis and that link these into the context of expertise and work. This paper, based on first results from a cognitive task analysis and verbal protocols give a broad brush description of intelligence analysis as an example of sensemaking. It then suggests some possible leverage points where technology might be applied.

Making Sense of Massive Data by Hypothesis Testing by Dr. John W. Bodnar


Target Audience: This tutorial is intended for researchers, program managers, and tool builders who want to understand how the end of the Cold War has led to new requirements for intelligence analysis and how those requirements are driving new methodologies and tools for analysis. The tutorial will be useful to analysts interested in rethinking how they do analysis and adding some new analytical methods to their toolbox.


QUESTION: How can we rethink our assumptions on intelligence to redefine methodologies to provide strategic warning in an age of WMD and terrorist threat?

HYPOTHESIS: The changing tempo of WMD and terrorist threats has virtually destroyed the ability to provide tactical or strategic warning. New methodologies for warning intelligence need to be developed based on quantum thinking rather than Newtonian thinking.

MODELS: Toward Information Age Intelligence
(1) Modeling the Decision Cycle. Dynamic models for biological systems including organizations can be built using the Decision Cycle developed by COL John Boyd.
(2) Modeling the Target. A methodology for Multidimensional Analysis (MDA) will be presented to model the target that accounts for strategic planning and the need for a two decision cycle planning process to build WMD or CBRNE.
(3) Modeling How We Model. A model for how we think - build and test hypotheses - to provide strategic warning is presented so that we can develop tools to help automate the process and develop training methods for new analysts.
(4) Modeling Ourselves. Recommendations to "reorient the arrows" within the Intelligence Community - both the information flow and leadership interactions - are provided to indicate how the IC can re-think its analytical infrastructure to empower the analyst.

Bio: Dr. John Bodnar is a senior biological warfare analyst at SAIC, McLean, VA. His interest in analytical methods and tools for the IC comes from previous experience conducting biological warfare analysis at the Defense Intelligence Agency, analyzing the Revolution in Military Affairs as a Navy Reservist for the Office of Naval Research and the US Naval War College, and researching and teaching bioinformatics at Northeastern University, the US Naval Academy, and Villa Julie College.

REFERENCE: John W. Bodnar. Warning Analysis for the Information Age: Rethinking the Intelligence Process. Joint Military Intelligence College, Washington, DC (Dec 2003). Available along with classified case studies on state BW programs and terrorist CBRNE programs on Joint Military Intelligence College (JMIC) Intelink site.

Top 25 Events in the Cyberworld

The Evolution of Cyberwarfare by Greg Bruno, Council on Foreign Relations.

Thanks to Luis Oliveira R. for this Discussion on NSA Information Assurance

09-37: Small Unit Operations in Afghanistan Handbook by Brice Johnson

This handbook will assist Soldiers and small-unit leaders in preparing for the difficulties and challenges they will face when deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). The handbook specifically addresses the unique geographic and cultural aspects small units can expect to encounter in the Afghan theater of operations. While current U.S. formations have been successfully conducting counterinsurgency operations in Iraq, the infrastructure, terrain, culture, and enemy are very different in OEF. Operations in many parts of the Afghan theater are still heavily weighted in favor of direct lethal engagements against a hardened and determined enemy force.

The average enemy fighter in Afghanistan has been fighting continuously for the last 30 years. As a nation, the people of Afghanistan have been fighting for thousands of years. It should come as no surprise that the enemy has developed very effective tactics, techniques, and procedures to combat a technologically superior enemy that relies heavily on vehicles for transport and supply. This enemy has repeatedly demonstrated an advanced understanding of U.S. tactics and will exploit any mistake with catastrophic results.

Key concepts covered in this publication include:
  • Command and control
  • Soldier stamina and fitness
  • Marksmanship
  • Medical and casualty evacuation
  • Mounted and dismounted battle drills
  • Protection
  • Interpreters