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Intelligence Analysis: Behavioral and Social Scientific Foundations
value of game theory reasoning itself, which is enhanced when it can be combined with empirical and quantitative analysis.
In Chapter 4, Gary H. McClelland presents the contributions of signal detection theory to improving the performance and evaluation of analytic judgments and tradecraft. Signal detection theory provides an orderly way of treating how well analysts understand uncertain situations and what decision rules guide their judgments about them. McClelland illustrates the approach with applications to technology, medicine, and science policy, which parallel the challenges faced by intelligence analysts who must understand uncertain situations and convey their conclusions to policy makers. In particular, the paper shows how signal detection theory can be used to clarify the lessons of 9/11 and the “failures” of intelligence about Iraq weapons of mass destruction—distinguishing decision rules (e.g., systematic bias toward false alarms) from failures to understand distortion.
In Chapter 5, Kiron K. Skinner describes the essential roles of formal qualitative analysis in intelligence analysis. She shows how political science provides disciplined methods for increasing the usefulness and accuracy of qualitative analysis. Skinner’s paper illustrates these methods with lessons from two historical intelligence failures, drawing on the “strategic perspective,” a theory of decision making that integrates observations of state behavior, political leadership, and the connections between domestic politics and international relations.