How Tight is Trump with Russia? Use Analysis of Competing Hypotheses to Decide

Volume 4 Issue 3

With FBI Director James Comey’s recent testimony confirming an active FBI investigation into whether associates of President Trump were in contact with Moscow, allegations continue to swirl around the true nature of the President’s relationship with Russia.


Identifying Fake News: Use Deception Detection Techniques

Volume 4 Issue 2

It is becoming harder and harder to know what you can believe on the news. Advances in information technology and the explosion of social media postings have created a news environment that is exceptionally easy to exploit for both profit and political advantage.


How Does Russia Target Americans? Use Red Hat Analysis

Volume 4 Issue 1

Much has been asserted—and little yet proven—about alleged Russian efforts to develop both witting and unwitting agents of influence and collaboration in the United States. If you were Russia, what strategies would you employ? How would you evaluate your prospects for success? Try using Red Hat Analysis to answer these questions.


What are your personal predictions in the New Year? Use Indicators.

New Year's Edition January 2017

2016 was a year of surprises for many of us, including the Brexit vote, election of Donald Trump as US President, the impact of Fake News, and a barrage of terrorist attacks. In the wake of these events, we can’t help but wonder what the coming year will bring.


Briefing Officials with Fixed Mindsets

Volume 3 Issue 11

The primary task of an analyst is to help policymakers and other decisionmakers make good decisions based on the best available information and most compelling logic. This task becomes much more challenging, however, when the recipient of the analysis bases his or her decisions on pre-established, firmly held, and often immutable precepts or world views. Such individuals are usually more interested in imposing their view on the world—or on the environment in which they operate—rather than trying to better understand it. They see data as useful ammunition they can cite to demonstrate the correctness of their approach or predispositions. Information that contradicts their view is usually quickly dismissed or simply ignored.


Four Radical New Trajectories for US Politics

Volume 3 Issue 10

With the surprising result of the US Presidential election, a fundamental question is whether the American system of governance will undergo a major transformation. One tried-and-true technique for addressing such a question is Strategic Foresight Analysis. This article applies the Alternative Futures method to identify major drivers—forces, factors, or trends that will determine how the system will evolve—and pair these drivers to generate alternative scenarios of how the future will evolve. In this case, two key drivers are identified and displayed on a 2-by-2 matrix. For each quadrant of the matrix, a unique trajectory can be identified defined by the two ends of each spectrum.


Proving Analysts Wrong – Part IV

October 2016 Volume 3 Issue 9

Do you have trouble admitting you are wrong? Or convincing a colleague that his or her analysis is incorrect? Most of us find these tasks challenging because our egos are involved and we usually focus our attention on information that supports our view. This issue of Analytic Insider presents Analysis of Competing Hypotheses, the fourth and last of a select group of structured analytic techniques—including Indicators, Argument Mapping, and Deception Detection—that can spur analysts to admit their initial analysis was flawed and to work toward achieving a better result.


Proving Analysts Wrong – Part III

September 2016 Volume 3 Issue 8

Do you have trouble admitting when you are wrong? Most of us do because it is hard to admit we have made a mistake. We have a natural tendency to accept information we read or hear as correct, assuming it comes from an authoritative source. We are particularly prone to accept information when what we hear is consistent with our world view. Those who want to manipulate how we think, however, understand this concept.


Proving Analysts Wrong – Part II

August 2016 Volume 3 Issue 8

Do you have trouble admitting when you’re wrong? Most of us do because it is hard to admit we have made a mistake. Once we have come to a conclusion (like which political candidate to support), we tend to accept data that supports our view and ignore data that would undercut that decision. We fall into the traps of Confirmation Bias, Ignoring Inconsistent Evidence, Relying on First Impressions, and the Anchoring Effect. Structured Analytic Techniques (SATs) are designed to save us from these pitfalls.


Meet the 2016 IAFIE Instructor of the Year – Mary O’Sullivan

Special Edition

Congratulations to Mary O’Sullivan on being named 2016 Instructor of the Year by the International Association for Intelligence Education (IAFIE). Mary has been an integral part of the Pherson Associates team since 2008, developing and instructing classes that have reached thousands of analysts and students in the intelligence community and beyond.