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Leading Intelligence Analysis

Leading Intelligence Analysis
Lessons from the CIA’s Analytic Front Lines

First Edition

January 2019 | 256 pages | CQ Press
“Bruce Pease has written a much needed book on a long ignored topic: how does one lead analysts? Most analysis is at some level a group activity, whether in government or the private sector. Much has been written about good versus bad analysis and how to train analysts, but Pease, himself a veteran senior CIA analyst and manager, focuses on what the leaders of these analysts need to know and should be thinking about. Leadership matters in analysis as in all other endeavors, and Pease offers invaluable guidance on how to lead effectively. This book is a must for anyone in a leadership role in an analytic enterprise.”
—Mark M. Lowenthal, PhD, Intelligence & Security Academy, LLC

Written by an experienced professional who has led Navy Intelligence and CIA analysts in high-stakes situations, Leading Intelligence Analysis introduces the fundamental managerial skills and practical tools needed to lead analysis projects conducted by individuals and teams. Author Bruce Pease provides insights into key questions such as What kind of environment draws out a team’s best work? What brings out their creativity? When does pressure bring out their best insights? When does pressure sap their intellectual energy? and What kind of team builds new knowledge rather than engaging in group-think?

This book draws on the author’s perspective from decades of leading intelligence analysts on critical issues, including war in the Middle East, terrorism after 9/11, and nuclear threats.

Key Features

  • Practical advice helps leaders of analytic units nurture insight with the understanding that it can be enabled but not manufactured.
  • Discussion of a range of different types of analysis serves leaders conducting research in areas including data analysis, security analysis, geopolitical analysis, threat warning, counterterrorism, and business climate analysis.
  • Practical advice on judging IT tools guides leaders to the correct data science approach for various situations.
About the Author
Chapter 1: Leading Analysis is Different from Doing Analysis
The Leader of Analysis or the Uberanalyst

Which Substantive Analyst Responsibilities Carry Over?

No Lazy Thinking

Setting Standards for the First Time

Analyze Everything

Chapter 2: Understanding Analysts
Some Classic Traps

Ten Things Analysts Hate

Chapter 3: Shaping the Environment
Nurturing Trust is Job 1

Taking the Pulse

Seven Critical Balances

Stress in the Environment

Chapter 4: Choosing the Best Approach and Techniques
Evolving Approaches: Three Paradigms

Picking your paradigm

Blending Approaches

The Expanding Menu of Analytic Techniques

Keep Your Eye Out for New Choices

Chapter 5: Nurturing the New Idea: Creativity, Insight, and Innovation in Analysis
Creative Analysis?

Stifling Creativity and Innovation in Analysis

And What of Insight?

Promoting Creativity, Innovation, and Insight

Chapter 6: Asking the Right Question
Toxic Questioning

The Right Question

The Wrong Question

Chapter 7: The Hardest Question: What Is Going to Happen? Prediction and Warning in Analysis
Analyzing Predictability

When History Pivots

Humility, an Open Mind, and Practice Required

Prediction is Always a Gamble

Prediction is the Leader’s Responsibility

What’s the Worst that Could Happen? Leading Warning

What Is Reasonable in an Unreasonable World?

Chapter 8: Ethics in Analysis
What am I doing in this business?

Leading a Dialogue on Values

Climbing Down off the Analyst’s High Horse

Driving Collection

Resisting Politicization

Are We Responsible for Consequences?

Impact of Covert Action

In Closing

Chapter 9: Analysis as a Business
The Business Part of the Business

Ensuring Brand Loyalty (Getting Your Customers Hooked on Your Service)

Prioritize Your Customers

Tend Your Organization’s Reputation with the Front Office

Align Your Enterprise

Business Is Too Good—I’m Swamped!

Change is Reality

It Doesn’t Take an MBA

Chapter 10: The Tools of Twenty-First-Century Analysis
Judging Tools For Analysis

First- and Second-Level IT Tools to Help All Analysts

Third-level Tools: Big Data, Data Science, and Predictive Analytics

Two Keys: Volume and Repetition

The Dreaded—but Inevitable—Black Box

The Analyst Is Not About to be Replaced

Chapter 11: Analysis at the Speed of Information
Get Your Mind Right and Theirs

Build an Information Strategy

Can we analyze faster?

Nurture Your Inner Opportunist


“Bruce Pease has written a much needed book on a long ignored topic:  how does one lead analysts?  Most analysis is, at some level a group activity, whether in government or the private sector.  Much has been written about good vs. bad analysis and how to train analysts, but Pease, himself a veteran senior CIA analyst and manger, focuses on what the managers and leaders of these analysts need to know and should be thinking about.   Leadership matters in analysis as in all other endeavors and Pease offers invaluable guidance on how best to do this.  This book is a must for anyone in a leadership role in an analytic enterprise.”

Mark M. Lowenthal, PhD.
Author of Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy and The Future of Intelligence

“While Director of CIA, I sometimes described the analytic workforce there as resembling a tenured college faculty as I worked to preserve the excellence and independence of thought so essential to success (in either body) while harnessing those energies to a common, disciplined enterprise.  Bruce Pease was my guide and counselor for that effort and now Bruce has captured his advice and wisdom in Leading Intelligence Analysis, a must read for any senior in or out of government who leads—or depends on—analysis.”

Michael V. Hayden
Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, author The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in the Age of Lies

"A very thoughtful book by a very thoughtful and respected professional. But this book goes way beyond thoughtful. It is exciting — the topics are hard to resist. And it is practical, putting powerful ideas into context. The lessons carry beyond intelligence analysis — they hit home for corporate leaders struggling to make forecasts despite ambiguity, complexity and deception."

Gary Klein, Ph.D.
Author of Sources of Power: How people make decisions

“Bruce Pease is one of the finest leaders and analysts to ever serve at the Central Intelligence Agency. Few had his ability to cut through complicated issues and provide senior leaders with wisdom. No matter what business you are in, Bruce brings clarity and balance to help get the most out of your forecasters, inundated with data in this digital age. The results will be game changing.”

George Tenet
former director of Central Intelligence

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