What are the skills of an intelligence analyst?

The task of an intelligence analyst is to translate raw information found through various sources into complete information. For example, an intelligence analyst must put together all the information found, interpret it, and make judgments or predictions in order to provide decision support to the client.

The role of the intelligence analyst can be found in both the public and private sectors. The public sector includes provincial and municipal intelligence departments as well as government agencies. The private sector includes think tanks and businesses, among others.

Intelligence analysts are experts

Douglas MacEachin, a former CIA officer and analyst, defines intelligence as "a cognitive profession," meaning it is about identifying anomalies and patterns in someone's behavior that may explain past events or may foreshadow future developments.

In some contexts, intelligence analysts must gather information from a variety of sources to prevent attacks, identify new challenges, or assess threats. The ultimate goal is to advise policy actors on a particular issue, providing tools to respond and thus support in future planning.

Intelligence analysts must carefully research and consider multiple sources and make fact-based analytical judgments to inform public and private sector actors.

Skills of an intelligence analyst

It starts with the need to research and gather relevant information. Just because there is a lot of information does not mean it is all useful or correct. Intelligence analysts must determine what is needed and filter and prioritize. Always be aware of areas of interest and relevant events, and assess the validity, reliability and importance of the information.

The next step is to think outside the box in an original way. If all analysts think in the same way, the results of the analysis will always be the same. Intelligence analysts must be rigorous and creative in considering the interpretation of missing or contradictory data.

Analytical and factual conclusions are then drawn. Not be guided by biases dictated by past experience and previous conclusions on the subject. The intelligence analyst must be able to distinguish what he knows from his personal opinion.

In a further step be able to judge himself and question the results. The intelligence analyst must know how to question his own assumptions.

Finally, communicate the results through a detailed report or presentation so that the client can be fully informed.

Language is not binding when searching for information, languages other than the native language or even minor languages this would be an advantage as it allows intelligence analysts to gather information from multiple sources and understand the different nuances and contexts.