Professionalising intelligence analysis

The drive for the professionalisation of intelligence analysis has just received a bolster with the creation of the FBI Intelligence Analysts Association (FBI IAA - the Americans just love giving acronyms to anything, don't they;). There are 2500 intelligence analysts in the FBI and the new professional organisation will aim to inter alia:
  • to elevate intelligence as a core FBI mission (in an organisation where intel is still not truly appreciated)
  • present the interests of the intelligence analysts with stakeholders
  • to represent, to foster, to create etc etc

I really hope that this will truly be about the analysts and the furthering of their careers and impact on decision-making. It should not be about the office bearers creating a platform for individual or group career progression. Professionalisation starts with a personal and group conviction that "we" have to improve how we do what we do so that there is a better perception from and impact on the outside. In the end, professionalising intelligence analysis should first and foremost be about creating awareness of the discipline, fostering learning opportunities that are relevant to the job, creating a reflective mindset of double loop learning, and expanding the body of knowledge in intelligence analysis by identifying current and future scholars and encouraging them to do peer-reviewed research.

There was talk of a similar "professional organisation" in South Africa's statutory intelligence community, led by NICOC. However it seems to have been still-born. Professional organisations created by decree by management actually harm the effort more. 4Knowledge has about 200 members of its "interest group" that attended our courses. Open information on anything related to intelligence analysis is shared with the group, but it is still in the awareness-building phase. There is little sharing (all info at this stage is pushed by me to the group), and people are either just too lazy, disinterested or restricted by operational security organisational culture to contribute. But I get good feedback from those that find the updates useful. Interest in belonging to professional organisations is also minimal. We only have 5 members of the International Association for Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts (IALEIA) in SA. Why so little interest? The same reasons as above apply, plus people do not see their jobs as careers. Before we can even think about a professional organisation for organisational or South African or African Intelligence Analysts, there should be a shared vision built on passion for what we do.

Slowly but surely, 4Knowledge tries to share this passion in our courses and presentations to clients from different sectors in SA and elsewhere in Africa. Come on... join me in this journey ... Read more about professionalisation of intelligence analysis by Steve Marrin, Sherman Kent