Coronavirus: Facing Difficult Decisions
Volume 7 Issue 1
As the coronavirus continues its path from Wuhan, China, spreading infection rates and fear, senior policymakers face difficult political decisions. When faced with difficult choices, I advise taking an hour to employ a Structured Analytic Technique like Premortem Analysis or reviewing a previous Structured Self-Critique to prevent a potentially calamitous decision.
Impeachment Indicators: Making a List and Checking it Thrice!
Volume 6 Issue 6
How do busy people sort through the noise to determine what actually is going on and what it means for them? The best strategy is to establish an objective set of baseline criteria—or indicators—for evaluating the dynamics and use them to track the discussion. By creating a pre-determined yardstick, you will be able to better understand—and better defend—the position you think makes the most sense. It also provides a valuable middle ground to stimulate constructive dialogue with those who come to different conclusions. And it makes it a lot easier to process what you read on the internet or see in the media because you will know what information matters the most to you.
Politicization: How to Tackle a Growing Challenge
Volume 6 Issue 5
The primary task of an analyst is to help policymakers and other decision makers make good decisions based on the best available information and the most compelling logic. This task becomes more challenging when the recipient of the analysis bases his or her decisions on pre-established, often immutable world views or sees the world as a battle of “us versus them.” Below, I offer techniques to maintain objectivity when offering analytic insights to decision makers under common briefing scenarios.
What If the Two-Party System Collapses in the UK and the US?
Volume 6 Issue 4
This article speculates that change in the political systems in the UK and the US could be startling and not incremental. What if these trends turn out to be not aberrations, but signs of a dramatic shift away from the current two-party political system? A good analyst would ask: How can one anticipate such a political transformation? A good technique for working through such an issue is What If? Analysis. With this technique, one posits a dramatic—and usually controversial—outcome and then works backwards to find a credible pathway showing how it came about.
Frameworks for Tracking the 2020 US Presidential Election
Volume 6 Issue 3
The US Presidential election is 16 months from now, and trying to predict the outcome is a fool’s task. However, Structured Analytic Techniques (SATs) can help you rise above the cacophony of the pundits and better understand the underlying political dynamics.
SATs can be used to help identify the key drivers most likely to influence, if not determine, how the election campaign will play out. I have incorporated these techniques into a five-step process you can use to help anticipate the likely winner.
Deepfakes and Digital Disinformation: A Looming Threat
Volume 6 Issue 2
In recent years, democracies have increasingly come under attack by perpetrators of Digital Disinformation, also popularly labeled Fake News. A European Union (EU) study conducted after the recent European Parliament elections showed a consistent trend of malicious activity. Russia, most notably, used fake accounts and bots during the European campaign to amplify divisive content, promote extreme views, and polarize local debates. EU countries that have strong cultures of independent journalism and governments that are actively fighting Russian disinformation campaigns were the most resistant to phony news stories. Other countries lacking these institutional protections, such as Poland and Hungary, were more vulnerable.
Is the United States Heading toward Radical Political Change?
Volume 6 Issue 1
Since the surprising result of the 2016 US Presidential election, a fundamental—but often unasked–question is whether the American system of governance will undergo a major transformation in the coming decade. This question was previously addressed in the November 2016 Analytic Insider but, with the approach of the 2020 presidential campaign, now is an appropriate time to review our previous scenarios and determine whether they remain valid.
Turning Intelligence Analysis on Its Head
Volume 5 Issue 6
I suspect that many readers of this blog have been influenced by the work of Richards J. Heuer, Jr. at some point in their career. His book, Psychology of Intelligence Analysis, prompted those of us in the field to rethink how we ensure rigor in our analysis, and it has been a mainstay in intelligence programs since its publication by the Central Intelligence Agency in 1999.
Restoring Civil Dialogue in the US Congress
Volume 5 Issue 5
With the changes in the political landscape on Capitol Hill in the wake of the US mid-term elections, an opportunity presents itself for the US Congress to abandon its previous Team A/Team B approach to legislating and adopt new techniques based on the concept of Adversarial Collaboration.
Conspiracy Theories: How to Respond
Volume 5 Issue 4
Conspiracy theories have been gaining publicity in recent months. When we see them in a tweet or receive an email forwarded from a “dear uncle,” most of us dismiss them as uninformed and irrelevant. But what do you do if someone you know and respect cites and uses one in a discussion with you to buttress his or her point of view?