on Pearl Harbor, Roberta Wohlstetter wrote: “To discriminate significant sounds against this background of noise, one has to be listening for something or for one of several things. In short, one needs not only an ear, but a variety of hypotheses that guide observation” (Wohlstetter, 1962, p. 56). Similar suggestions run through the literature on the IC (Berkowitz and Goodman, 1989; Betts, 1978; Cooper, 2005; George and Bruce, 2008; Goodman et al., 1996; Heuer, 1999; Jervis, 2010; Johnston, 2005; Knorr, 1964; Lieberthal, 2009; Sims and Gerber, 2005; Turner, 2006). National commissions and government studies on intelligence failures also have advocated further analytic development of the intelligence tradecraft. For instance, in his assessment of the IC’s lack of foresight on India’s nuclear test in 1998, Admiral David Jeremiah endorsed the use of red-team analysis. Responding to the Jeremiah Report, Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) George Tenet called for an “institutionalized … system of subjecting our analysis to contrary views” (Tenet, 1998, p. 1).
A full complement of structured analytic techniques for qualitative assessments has been developed within the IC in the past several decades (e.g., Heuer and Pherson, 2010). The Analysis of Competing Hypotheses is a prominent method. It “demands that analysts explicitly identify all the reasonable alternative hypotheses, then array the evidence against each hypothesis—rather than evaluating the plausibility of each hypothesis one at a time” (U.S. Government, 2009, p. 14). The method also calls for “report[ing] all the conclusions, including the weaker hypotheses that should still be monitored as new information becomes available” (U.S. Government, 2009, p. 15). Other structured analytic techniques presented in tradecraft manuals include Alternative Futures, Chronologies and Time Lines, Description Detection, Devil’s Advocacy, Force Field Analysis, High-Impact/Low-Probability Analysis, Hypotheses Generator, Indicators, Key Assumptions Check, Multiple Scenarios Generation, Outside-In Thinking, Pre-Mortem Assessment, Quadrant Crunching, Red Hat Analysis, Social Network Analysis, Structured Brainstorming, and Team A/Team B (Heuer and Pherson, 2010).
These methods have common characteristics. They challenge prevailing perspectives by providing alternative modes of thinking. Some are much more explicit about stating the assumptions and hypotheses than are the less formal, traditional methods. Researchers debate whether structured analytic techniques actually improve the analytic product, but the IC remains committed to refining these methods and teaching them in their training centers (Marrin, 2009).
One academic discipline that may offer analysts assistance in improving their analyses and forecasts is the study of political science. Over the years political scientists have developed a variety of qualitative methods that might be used by intelligence analysts either in real time to increase