The UnitedStates’ Intelligence Community (IC) follows Intelligence Community Directive(ICD) 203 to create products/assessments that strive for excellence, integrityand rigor in their analytic thinking and work practices. The directive wasissued to create a common ethic amongst the IC community and guide analysis andanalytic production.
All analytic products/assessments should be consistentwith the 5 stated standards:(a) Objective: Analyst must perform their functions with objectivityand with the awareness of their own assumptions and reasoning. Intelligenceelementsts are to be open-minded. Doing so, will reveal and eliminate bias.Analysts should refrain from ignoring; alternate perspectives and new developmentsthat would indicate a change to their assessment is necessary.(b) Independent ofpolitical consideration: Analyticassessments must not be distorted by, nor shaped for, advocacy of a particularaudience, agenda, or policy viewpoint.(c) Timely: Analysis must be disseminated in time for it to beactionable by customers. It isimportant to be continually cogniscent of recent events that are of interestand/or meet intelligence requirements.
Priortizing information will enable theintelligence profesional to provide useful analysis in a timely manner.(d) Based on allavailable sources of Intelligence Information: Analysis should be informed by all relevant informationavailable. Analystsshould identify intelligence gaps in order to fill the need of information.Once identified, collection strategies should be developed and all availablesources are to be contacted for access to further information, if any.(e) Implements andexhibits Analytic Tradecraft Standards (9): (1) Properly describes quality and credibility ofunderlying sources, data, and methodologies. (2) Properly expresses andexplains uncertainties associated with major analytic judgements.
(3) Properlydistinguishes between underlying intelligence information and analysts’asumptions and judgements. (4) Incorporates analysis of alternatives. (5)Demonstarates customer relevance and addresses implications. (6) Uses clear andlogical argumentation.
(7) Explains change to or consistency of analyticjudgements. (8) Makes accurate judgements and assessments. (9) Incorporateseffective visual information where appropriate. Estimative Language In order toconvey an analytical assessment or judgement, the IC uses synonymousphraseology such as “we assess” , “we judge”, and “we estimate”.
Along with,probability terms, “probably” or “likely”. These assessments, based onincomplete or at times fragmentary information, are not a fact, proof, nor dothey represent empirically-based certainty or knowledge. Assessmentsare never certain, therefore, they included an estimate of likelihood. Theterms are based of an estimate of likelihood a development or event may occur.Following the graph below, the terms “likely”, “very likely”, “almostcertain(ly)” indicate a greater than even (55%-99%) chance. “Unlikely”, “veryunlikely”, and “almost no chance” designates a less than even chance that anevent will occur, but does not imply the event will not occur. Lastly, an assessment is supported byintelligence that varies in its own confidence, quality, and age. That is whyIntelligence professionals attribute a confidence level to their assessments.
High Confidence:Judgement is based on high-quality information, and/or that the nature of theissue makes it possible to render a solid judgement. Moderate Confidence: informationis credibly sourced and plausible but not of sufficient quality or corroboratedsufficiently to warrant a higher level of confidence.Low Confidence:information’s credibility and/or plausibility is questionable, or theinformation is too fragmented or poorly corroborated to make solid analyticinferences, or there is significant concerns/problems with the source(s)SampleAssessment: I assess with Highconfidence, in the next 15 seconds it is almost certain you will fall asleepfrom reading this article, if you have not already.