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ODNI as an analytic ombudsman: is Intelligence Community Directive 203 up to the task?

Marcoci, Alexandru, Vercammen, And and Burgman, Mark (2018) ODNI as an analytic ombudsman: is Intelligence Community Directive 203 up to the task? Intelligence and National Security, 34 (2). pp. 205-224. ISSN 0268-4527

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Identification Number: 10.1080/02684527.2018.1546265


In the wake of 9/11 and the assessment of Iraq's WMD, several inquiries placed the blame primarily on the Intelligence Community. Part of the reform that followed was a codification of analytic tradecraft standards into Intelligence Community Directive (ICD) 203 and the appointment of an analytic ombudsman in the newly created Office of the Director of National Intelligence charged with monitoring the quality of analytic products from across the intelligence community. In this paper we identify three assumptions behind ICD203: (1) tradecraft standards can be employed consistently; (2) tradecraft standards sufficiently capture the key elements of good reasoning; (3) good reasoning leads to more accurate judgments. We then report on two controlled experiments that uncover operational constraints in the reliable application of the ICD203 criteria for the assessment of intelligence products. Despite criticisms of the post-9/11 and post-Iraq reform, our results highlight that ICD203, properly applied, holds potential to improve precision and accountability of intelligence processes and products.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Divisions: Government
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2018 12:09
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 01:30

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